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Cause for naturalized Filipino priest ongoing

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MANILA, July 31, 2014 — Do you know what Knights of Columbus, and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (DMI) have in common?

These very active lay organizations, as well as Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association in the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI), KC Foundations, Columbian Squires, and the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), were all established by Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ, a naturalized Filipino citizen, whose cause is being pushed by various groups for his tireless service and love for God and others.

The Knights of Columbus arrived the Philippine shores in early 1905, but it was Willmann who made it flourish when he took leadership after the Second World War.

Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos grants Philippine citizenship to Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ on July 1, 1975. The naturalized priest manifested his desire to make the Philippines his permanent home and become a Philippine citizen.

Pinoy at heart

Declared a Filipino citizen by President Ferdinand E. Marcos through Presidential Decree No. 740 on July 1, 1975, Fr. Willmann was
honored for his “virtuous acts, compassionate leadership and for his kind and loving service to the Filipino people.”

“Fr. Willmann has continuously resided in the Philippines since 1936 and during such period has shared with Filipinos his heroic virtues, ideals and aspirations. He dedicated his life in social work and humanitarian services to this country, to the Filipino people,” Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr, Chairman of the Knights of Columbus Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc and a member of the National Executive Committee for the Cause of Fr. Willmann, said.

Members of the organizations he established, together with their families and friends, come together with a common goal — to raise Fr. Willmann to the honors of the altar.

Saintly life

According to Reyes, beatification is a long and tedious process that requires a concerted and consistent effort from people who know about Fr. Willmann’s work and who are committed to bear witness to his saintly life.

Promotion work for the Cause of Fr. Willmann has been revitalized and strengthened with the creation of the National Executive Committee, headed by Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. and Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio as Vice-Chairman.

According to Reyes, the national executive committee is exclusively focused on promoting the Cause together with the KC foundations and the insurance arm of the Knights of Columbus – the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association in the Philippines, Inc (KCFAPI).

“We hope all these will finally lead to the fulfillment of the Cause and that Fr. Willmann will eventually be declared a Saint,” he added. For more updates on Fr. Willmann’s beatification, follow him on Twitter, @FrWillmann and Facebook, /fathergeorgewillmann
(Yen Ocampo)

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