MANILA, Jan. 11, 2017 – As part of the desire to spread the devotion to the saints, especially to St. Josemaría Escriva, whose birth anniversary, Jan. 9, coincides with the feast of the Black Nazarene- Fr. William P. Ong, chaplain of Dualtech Training Center, with the collaboration of other devotees, initiated the project of installing portraits of the saint in churches and other institutions all over the Philippines.
“By now, we already installed St. Josemaría’s picture in more than 500 places: parish churches, schools, seminaries, hospitals, offices… You name it,” disclosed the priest.
“If a church or any place in your community is interested to have a portrait of St. Josemaría, I can be contacted through my Facebook page (FrWilly Ong). I will facilitate and – if needed – seek sponsors for the installation of the portrait of the saint in any place where there are people interested in seeking Christ through the teachings and intercession of this saint,” promised Ong.
‘Saint of the Ordinary’
“St. John Paul II called St. Josemaría the ‘Saint of the Ordinary’ because he showed ordinary people how to seek holiness and to do apostolate in daily life,” said Ong, recalling the saint’s canonization in 2002.
“It is our hope that the faithful of the parish, or persons – even non-Catholics – who visit schools, hospitals, offices, where the images of St. Josemaría are installed, get to know the saint and, through him, develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ,” explained the priest.
Stories of conversion
As examples, the priest gave accounts of volunteer catechists who were inspired by St. Josemaría.
“We installed St. Josemaria’s picture in every school we taught catechism. There were teachers who went to confession after missing the sacrament for many years; one teacher asked to be baptized. One teacher was ignoring us because she thought we were a religious ‘cult’. But when we talked to her about the sacraments and invited her to go to confession before Christmas, she realized that we are Catholic and she started helping us in all our activities. She even invited us to another school to give a talk on chastity for first-year college students.”
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sacred images in our churches and homes “are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ.”
“Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented,” the Catechism says. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)
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