Catholic faithful flocked to the churches in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, and in Maria town, Siquijor province, to pay their respects, and offer petitions and prayers to the Relic of St. Clare of Assisi.
The relic arrived at the Dumaguete airport Wednesday morning, and traveled to Siquijor on board a fast craft. Bishop John Du, of the Diocese of Dumaguete, led the pilgrims, priests, nuns, and lay ministers in a motorcade to Maria, and officiated in a concelebrated mass at the jam-packed church in the town.
The relic was then brought in a procession to the nearby Monastery of the Poor Clare nuns for exposition and veneration.
The pilgrimage returned to Dumaguete City in the afternoon, where a huge crowd gathered at the city port, and joined the motorcade of the relic through the city’s main streets, to the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, where two masses were held in the evening.
Another exposition and veneration was held until early yesterday morning, when a dawn procession was held, and then a concelebrated mass, led by Du, who thanked the thousands of people, who came to see and venerate the relic.
“We are truly blessed and honored to have the relic come and visit us,” Du said.
The sacred artifact came all the way from Rome, Italy, to visit selected dioceses in the Philippines in its first-ever overseas trip in 800 years.
The relic, a part of the saint’s cranium encased in an ornate glass and gold-plated reliquary, has been in the Philippines since February 21 to make the rounds of 13 dioceses selected by the Holy See, Fr. Jess Dajac, its official guardian, said.
Dajac, a Filipino priest based in Rome and, of the Missionaries of Faith, and Mercedes Tuason, the Philippines Ambassador to the Vatican, have been accompanying the relic.
He added that the Holy See has granted plenary indulgence to those who venerate the relic as long as they met requisites, like going to confession and receiving communion.
Sor Encarnacion Reyes, president of the Federation of the Poor Clares-Philippines, said the visit of the relic to the country, is an affirmation of God’s love for His people in this predominantly-Catholic country in Asia.
She thanked Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Tuason and Dajac, for their help in the realization of the visit of the relic to the Philippines.*JFP
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