Ilocano Bishop May Become Saint

VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur - Ilocos region's first-ever bishop whose service to the church and the faithful was highlighted by his appointment as Archbishop of Lipa in Batangas and two reported ''miracles'' through his intercession, may become the next Filipino saint.

Prelates and hundreds of members of the clergy, nuns and catholic devotees from all over the country joined yesterday Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila, in the ceremony opening the diocesan process of the cause of beatification and canonization of the late Bishop Alfredo Florentin Verzosa into sainthood at the Saint Paul Metropolitan Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in this city.

Prelate Ernesto A. Salgado of the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, celebrant of the ceremony, had formally declared the opening of the cause of beatification and canonization to the sainthood of Bishop Verzosa after he received the documents from the theological and historical commissions justifying it.

After the rites, Cardinal Rosales led the concelebrated mass offered for the elevation to sainthood of Bishop Verzosa.

In his homily, Cardinal Rosales narrated the colorful accomplishments and deeds of late Bishop Verzosa as ''Servant of God.''

''Bishop Verzosa is a man of God and is a 'Holy Man' due to his characteristics and attitudes towards faith in God and serving the people,'' he said in his homily.

It was noted that late Bishop Verzosa became popular when he reportedly witnessed of an alleged miraculous ''shower of rose petals'' in Carmelite monastery garden in Lipa, Batangas on 1948.

During the 54th death anniversary of Bishop Verzosa on June 27, 2008, members of the Verzosa clan held in Ilocos a national grand reunion to finalize the gathered evidence supporting the preliminaries for sainthood of the late prelate.

Tagudin town Mayor Roque Verzosa said they conducted the reunion purposely to seek the revered bishop's beatification, considering his holy deeds to the people for the good of the church.

His clan claimed that there had already been two declared but still unofficial miracles through the intercession of Bishop Verzosa.

For his part, Bishop Salgado said that the opening of the cause of beatification of Bishop Verzosa is very significant occasion in the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia.