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DUMAGUETE CITY -- Thousands of Catholics turned up on Wednesday in two Churches in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental and Maria, Siquijor province to pay their respects and offer petitions and prayers to the Relic of St. Clare of Assisi.
Bishop John F. Du of the Diocese of Dumaguete expressed gratitude to the thousands of people who came to see and venerate the Relic of St. Clare, which came all the way from Rome, Italy to visit a selected number of dioceses across the Philippines in its first-ever overseas trip in 800 years.
“We are truly blessed and honored to have the Relic of St. Clare come and visit us,” said Bishop Du, noting that early on, the Diocese of Dumaguete was first listed in its itinerary but dropped later. The bishop disclosed that he pushed for the sacred relic to visit the Diocese of Dumaguete because it has a Poor St. Clare’s monastery in the nearby province of Siquijor.
The first class relic, a part of the saint’s cranium encased in a glass and gold-plated vessel, has been in the country since February 21 with at least 13 selected dioceses selected by the Holy See to be visited, according to its official guardian, Fr. Jess Dajac.
Fr. Dajac, a Filipino priest based in Rome and of the Missionaries of Faith, along with the Philippines’ Ambassador to the Holy See, Mercedes A. Tuason, have been accompanying the precious relic of one of the greatest saints of the Christian world, to its various destinations in the Philippines.
According to Fr. Dajac, the Holy See has granted plenary indulgence to those who venerate the Relic of St. Clare for as long as they have met certain requisites, such as going to Confession and receiving Communion, among others.
The pilgrimage of the Relic of St. Clare of Assisi on Wednesday began with its arrival at the Dumaguete airport and its first stop to Siquijor province on board a fast craft.
Bishop Du led the pilgrims, composed of priests, nuns, and lay ministers to Siquijor, where the relic was then taken around in a motorcade all the way to Maria town. The prelate led a concelebrated Mass at the jam-packed Church in Maria prior to the relic being brought in a procession to the nearby monastery of the Poor Clare nuns for exposition and veneration.
In the afternoon, the pilgrimage returned to Dumaguete City, where a huge crowd gathered at the city port for a motorcade of the relic through the city’s main street to the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, where two Masses were held in the evening.
Another exposition and veneration was held in the hours that followed until early Thursday, where a dawn procession was held and another concelebrated Holy Mass led by Bishop Du.
According to Sor Encarnacion Reyes, president of the Federation of the Poor Clares-Philippines, the visit of the Relic of St. Clare to the country is an affirmation of God’s love for His people in the predominantly Catholic country in Asia.
Also, it is an honor to be visited by the saint’s relic in that it has never been allowed outside of Italy for 800 years, the nun said.
Mother Encarnacion has expressed gratitude to the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Ambassador Tuason and Fr. Dajac for their help in realizing the visit of the Relic of St. Clare of Assisi to the Philippines.
The relic and its entourage departed Thursday for Pagadian City via Cebu City on board a commercial airliner.