DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 March) – A Camillian priest urged the Catholic faithful to take St. Camillus de Lellis, the patron saint of the sick, doctors, nurses, and other health workers, as a “model for conversion” and inspiration to serve the sick.
Fr. Brian Vincent Rances, chaplain at the San Pedro Hospital here and local coordinator of the incorrupt heart relic visit, told a press conference at the Southern Philippines Medical Center on Wednesday that they were bringing the heart relic to the Philippines for the second time since 2013 to promote the life and devotion of St. Camillus who was inspired to serve the sick.
“This year is a very significant year in our preparation for the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. This year is celebrated as the year of the youth. We would like also the youth and for the whole people to see Camillus, to take Camillus as a model for conversion,” he said.
Rances said the saint did not only see the sick with dignity but also saw in them the presence of God.
“Most of all, for the sick, that God will always be there for you. He will never abandon you,” the prelate said, reminding people with illnesses that the relic was brought here to remind them that “God loves them, that God cares for them.”
He said he hopes the life of Camillus, a former mercenary who was changed by his faith in God after going through difficult challenges while growing up, would inspire the people to serve the poor.
“You can also change yourself if you cooperate to God’s grace to you. For the youth, if you do that, if you offer your life to God, in service to God by serving other people maybe you will become a saint. You can create a big impact for other people, not just for your family but for the whole world,” he said.
Fr. Rodel Enriquez, vicar and provincial director of Camillus MedHaven in Marikina, said the people are always drawn to memorabilia such as the relics because it reminds them of someone important.
He said when people venerate a saint, they should always look up to St. Camillus as an example for his love in God.
“It is our faith that heals us. That’s why, the arrival of the saint’s relic should strengthen our faith in God who, we can say, is the true source of healing and power,” he said in Filipino.
The incorrupt heart relic of St. Camillus de Lellis arrived in Davao City at around 3 p.m. on Tuesday from Bacolod City. It was then transferred to the chapel of SPMC where a Holy Mass was held, followed by a public veneration until 8:00 p.m.
On Wednesday, the relic visited Davao Medical School Foundation from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and then it was returned to SPMC for a Eucharistic celebration at 12:00 noon, public veneration from 1p.m. to 5 p.m. at the SPMC, and Holy Mass and Anointing of the Sick from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight.
The relic will visit San Pedro Hospital on Thursday for a Eucharistic celebration and Anointing of the Sick from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and Holy Mass from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
On Friday, it will be transferred to San Pedro Cathedral for a public veneration starting at 9 a.m., Holy Mass at 12:00 noon, another public veneration from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m., Eucharistic celebration and Anointing of the Sick from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and public veneration at 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
On Saturday, it will be brought to San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral in Mati City and Holy Masses will be held there starting 12 noon until 7:00 p.m. On the following day, the relic will visit at the Carmelite Monastery at 7:30 a.m.; Davao Oriental Provincial and Medical Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Divine Mercy Parish from 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The relic will visit St. Camillus Hospital of Mati from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. before it will leave for Cagayan de Oro City on Monday.
The relic will stay for two days in Cagayan de Oro where it will visit St. Augustine’s Cathedral on Tuesday until Wednesday.
It will be returned to St. Camillus Provincialate, Loyola Heights in Quezon City on Thursday.
The nearly two-month journey of the heart relic will conclude on March 31 at the Manila Cathedral.
Enshrined at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, the relic will return to Rome, Italy on April 1.
In October 2018, Filipino devotees welcomed the heart relic of Padre Pio, an Italian priest and a mystic known to have received the gift of stigmata or the wounds of Christ. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)