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Pampanga venue of 1st Filipino cardinal's centennial

August 23, 2008 6:17am

Tags: Pampanga
MANILA, Philippines - Pampanga province will be the venue of the 100th birth anniversary of Rufino Santos, the Philippines' first cardinal, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said Friday night.

The centennial rites will be held on Aug. 26 in Santos' hometown of Guagua, with Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales leading a Mass at the Immaculate Conception Parish Church at 10 a.m.

Concelebrating with him are San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, the auxiliary bishops and clergy of San Fernando and Manila, the bishops and priests of the suffragans of the two archdioceses.

President Arroyo will lead fellow Kapampangans in the centennial celebrations by unveiling a historical marker and a six-foot statue of Cardinal Santos donated by Holy Angel University.

Arlyn Sicangco-Villanueva, university president, will join Arroyo in the unveiling ceremony of the statue sculpted by Kapampangan artist Edillardo Paras.

Organizing the celebrations are the Holy Angel University Center for Kapampangan Studies, the Archdiocese of San Fernando and the Municipality of Guagua.

The formal opening of an exhibit of Cardinal Santos memorabilia, loaned by the Archdiocese of Manila and the Kapampangan Museum at Clark, will follow the unveiling ceremonies.

Cardinal Santos was the first Filipino to become a prince of the Church. Pope John XXIII gave him the red hat of the cardinal during the public consistory on March 31, 1960.

He was installed as archbishop of Manila on March 25, 1953. He was only 45 years old then. He would serve for two decades until his death in 1973 at age 65.

On the 35th anniversary of his death on September 3, Cardinal Rosales will celebrate Mass at the Manila Cathedral at 8 a.m.

The sixth of nine children of Gaudencio Santos and Rosalia Jiao, Cardinal Santos was born in Barrio Santo NiƱo, Guagua, Pampanga.

He entered San Carlos Seminary on July 25, 1921. He pursued higher priestly studies at the Pontificia Universita Gregoriana and obtained a Baccalaureate in Canon Law in 1929 and a Doctorate in Sacred Theology in July 1931.

He was ordained priest on October 25, 1931 and then served as assistant parish priest in Imus, Cavite and as parish priest in Marilao, Bulacan.

During World War II, he was arrested and sentenced to die by firing squad, but was rescued by Liberation forces on the very eve of his execution.

Fr. Rufino Santos worked closely with Archbishop Michael O'Doherty and Archbishop Gabriel Reyes his immediate predecessor.

His intelligence and capability were widely acknowledged. He is credited for having defended the Church against modernism and radicalism in the 1950s and 1960s, and for establishing the Catholic Charities (Caritas Manila today) and the Radio Veritas.

He supervised the implementation of the Second Vatican Council reforms in the Philippines and the first papal visit on Philippine soil.

As Archbishop of Manila he undertook the rebuilding of the Manila Cathedral which was razed to the ground during the American bombarding of Intramuros.

He was also responsible for the building of several important structures in the archdiocese, among them the Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary along Edsa, Makati City, the Pius XII Catholic Center in Paco, the Villa San Miguel in Mandaluyong, and the St. Paul's Hospital, now Cardinal Santos Medical Center. - GMANews.TV
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Tags: Pampanga