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Archdiocese asks for prayers for cause of Ilocano bishop

Archdiocese asks for prayers for cause of Ilocano bishop

Archbishop Marlo Peralta blesses the tomb of the Servant of God Alfredo Verzosa after a Mass offered for his 67th death anniversary at the Vigan Cathedral on Sunday, June 27. COURTESY OF VIGAN CATHEDRAL

By Buena Luz

June 28, 2021

Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

A Catholic archbishop has called for prayers to advance the cause of the first and only Ilocano candidate to sainthood.

Archbishop Marlo Peralta of Nueva Segovia made the call during Mass to mark the 67th death anniversary of the Servant of God, Bishop Alfredo Verzosa, on Sunday, June 27.

In his homily at the archdiocese’s cathedral in the city of Vigan, Peralta said that all are called to live a holy life by becoming faithful to the vocation that God has called each one to.

Bishop Verzosa, he said, gave all he had for his love for God and the people. Among the worth-emulating virtues of the bishop, according to him, were his obedience and humility.

Born in Vigan on December 9, 1877, the Servant of God grew up and took his early education during the later part of the Spanish Regime.

He started his seminary formation in his native Vigan and at the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán in Manila. His Theological studies were at the University of Santo Tomás.

The bishop was also in the capital when the revolution broke out, making him a witness to the struggle of the natives for independence and the schism led by a fellow Vigueño, Isabelo de los Reyes.

Amidst the confusion caused by the chaotic situation, he remained steadfast and firm in his faith.

Bishop Verzosa was among the first native priests to be ordained during the American Regime.

His priestly ministry in Nueva Segovia was characterized by preserving Roman Catholicism in the Ilocos area. He was sent as a missionary to the schismatics in Ilocos Norte and through that effort, he gained a number of Ilocanos return to the Roman Catholic Church.

The Servant of God was able to re-establish Roman Catholicism in the schismatic town of Bantay in Ilocos Sur where he was parish priest for 10 years. As a priest, he developed commitment and a special love for catechism.

As bishop of Lipa, he invested efforts and monetary means in a wide catechetical campaign throughout his territory which then comprised of the civil provinces of Batangas, Tayabas (Quezon), Laguna, Mindoro, and Marinduque.

This commitment to catechetical programs led him to found a Religious Congregation for women, the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart (MCSH) in 1923.

The bishop’s Cause for Beatification and Canonization was initiated early in 2013, which was affirmed with the subsequent granting of a “nihil obstat” (nothing hinders) by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

After the diocesan inquiry, in 2016, the cause was brought to the Vatican and with the issuance of the decree of validity in 2017, the “Roman Phase” of the cause started to roll.

Msgr. Gary Formoso, the cathedral’s Rector and judge-delegate in the diocesan inquiry, stressed that the virtues of the Servant of God are urgently needed in our time.

He thanked in a special way Fr. Samuel Silloriquez, OAR, the postulator of the Cause, the bishops, priests and lay faithful who are promoting the advancement of the cause.

He said that all are in hope that someday the Servant of God will be canonized a saint.

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