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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Cardinal In The City

The facade and the retablos of the city cathedral are ready for viewing, but before that, heavenly blessings must first grace it. With that, His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, the Archbishop of Manila, had come to Dipolog City to reside the blessing of the facade, the altar and the whole cathedral itself.

Like the rest of Dipolog's catholic faithful, I am excited to see the Cardinal in person. I look unto him as the leader of Christ's Church here in the Philippines, influenced by the notion that he had been a social and media personality in crusades for change and morality. The strong figure of the archbishop could foster my faith and the faith of every sincere catholic who will see him.

I had sensed the presence of the cardinal before the mass and took snapshots of him. Jovial as ever, he chatted with priests, the bishops and government officials before the entrance ceremony. After that comes the entrance, a line of priests, seminarians, lay ministers and bishops. I noticed four bishops in all, distinguished by the zuccheto (red skullcap) they are wearing. But the archbishop's zucchetto is the most distinguishable in its stronger hue of red.

I was seated in the front area, behind the reserved seat of the government officials, in order for me to take pictures of the bishop more closely. The mass started with the regular invocations, messages of gratitude, and welcoming the archbishop in the city.

In his homily, the Cardinal's theme is the Church. His Eminence made clear that the Church is not the building but the people of God, the catholic faithful. And the importance of blessing the house of worship is connected to the people. The archbishop taught that the house of worship is the face of the people's spirituality. He set three standards on why there is a church. First, that it is the sign of God's presence with his people. Second, that it is intended to be the house of prayer for the faithful. Third, that it is the reflection of the people's faith in a certain locale.

The archbishop in homily

Following is the ceremony of blessing of the water, the oil to the altar marble slab (along with the pillars) and incense. Together with the blessings are the people being blessed, too. It impressed me that the essence of the people as the Church as the Cardinal had preached is coming alive before my eyes.

The archbishop pouring chrism oil in the altar, re-dedicating the cathedral to the primary
patroness, Our Lady Of The Holy Rosary, and to its secondary patron, St Vincent Ferrer.
Meanwhile, some priests were designated to bless with chrism oil the pillars of the cathedral

The archbishop incensed the altar. The people had been blessed and incensed, too.

After the mass, the archbishop was meet by the faithful, holding him and kissing his hand. Pressed by the people, the archbishop willfully and joyfully obliges. Truly, the faith of the people was encouraged even more by the presence of Christ's vicar and shepherd.

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