Filipino saint, Pilgrims’ Cross enthroned at St. Anthony Church, Oakley

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Story and photos by Federico Espiritu

Catholic devotees carried solemnly the statuette of the first Filipino saint Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila and the Filipino Pilgrims’ Cross as they led the Holy Mass processional entrance of Fr. Geofre Prado into the main altar of the St. Anthony Church in Oakley last April 21.

The Filipino religious icons are making the rounds of 84 Catholic churches in the Diocese of Oakland which commenced on March 16 with the celebration of Holy Mass by Bishop Michael Barber, SJ at the Cathedral of Christ Light in Oakland and traditional Philippine fiesta that kicked off four years of commemorating the 500 year anniversary of Filipino Catholic Evangelization.

On April 6, the cross was moved to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Brentwood until its transfer to the St. Anthony Church last weekend.

Youth and devotees set the Pilgrims Cross.

Christianity begun in the Philippines on March 16,1521 with the celebration of Mass and planting of cross in Limasawa Island in Leyte by Catholic priests and missionaries who were part of the expedition of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan commissioned by Spanish monarchy.

Since then, Filipinos embraced the Catholic religious life and among them were anointed saints, blessed, venerable, Servant of God and numerous candidates for sainthood. The first Filipino saints Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod are widely venerated by devout homeland Catholics and immigrants all over U.S. and around the world.

Fr. Prado, in his address, invited even non-Filipino flock to join the Churches in the Philippines and as one community in the Oakland Diocese in celebrating the gift of faith bestowed on the Filipino people 500 years ago under the theme “Our Faith, our Journey, Our Mission.”

On May 11, the St. Anthony Church parishioners will send off the Pilgrims’ Cross and St Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila with Holy Mass to the Good Shepherd Church in Pittsburg.

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