CBCP head tells Filipino pilgrims: come home

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MANILA, Sept. 21, 2012—A top Catholic Church official appealed to Filipinos who will be attending the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod in Rome to make sure they will not turn into illegal immigrants.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said that the trust the Italian government had in the Church when they issued visas for Filipino pilgrims will be affected if they did not return home.

“We go there to celebrate the canonization and not take this opportunity for them to stay there. It’s not good,” said Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

However, the church leader is confident that the Filipino delegates, endorsed by the Archdiocese of Cebu, will return home after the canonization of the soon-to-be second Filipino saint on October 21.

“Our assurance to the Embassy is that we provided all the precautions, orientations and catechesis to the pilgrims,” he said.

Palma also said that the “intense events” for Calungsod’s canonization would only take four to five days. Taking into account the pilgrimage activities, he said, two weeks is already enough.

Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Calungsod with six others in a ceremony that is expected to be attended by around 1,000 delegates from Cebu alone. More Filipinos are attending from other provinces.

Calungsod was a teenage Visayan catechist who was working with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores in Tumhon village in Guam, Marianas, where they were killed on April 2, 1672.

Blessed Pope John Paul II beatified Calungsod in March 2000.

Archbishop Palma also said that they are on track for the national thanksgiving Mass  in honor of Calungsod in Cebu City on November 30.

Organizers said they are expecting around 1 million pilgrims who will attend the celebration. . [RL/CBCPNews] 



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