‘In God’s own time’, says church official on Bishop Verzosa’s cause

June 29, 2023 - 4:28 PM
The Sisters of the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart (MCSH) pray at the tomb of their founder, Servant of God Bishop Alfredo Verzosa, at the Vigan Cathedral on the 69th anniversary of his death, June 27. (MCSH via CBCP News)

A Catholic official said that if and when Bishop Alfredo Verzosa is recognized as a saint is something that will happen “in God’s own time.”

Archbishop Marlo Peralta of Nueva Segovia said on Tuesday that Verzosa, whose cause for beatification was received in Rome seven years ago, deserves recognition as a saint.

“It will happen but as to when, we do not know. We trust in God’s wisdom, we trust in God’s own way of doing things, in God’s own time,” Peralta said.

The archbishop made the comment in his homily during Mass to commemorate Verzosa’s 69th death anniversary at the Pope Francis Hall of Vigan Cathedral in Ilocos Sur province.

He said that the process of attaining sainthood is lengthy and that it may take several years after declaring someone as a Servant of God.

“It’s not an easy thing, it really takes time– years,” Peralta pointed out.

The bishop’s cause for sainthood was initiated in 2013, and it was affirmed by the subsequent granting of the “nihil obstat” by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

After the diocesan inquiry in 2016, the cause was brought to the Vatican. With the issuance of the decree of validity in 2017, the “Roman Phase” of the cause began.

“The status of the cause of Bishop Verzosa so far has not encountered any serious problems, it is ongoing and it only needs to be followed up,” Peralta added.

Born in Vigan in 1877 and ordained as a priest for Nueva Segovia in 1904, Verzosa became the first Filipino Catholic bishop from the Ilocos region.

For 34 years, from 1917 to 1951, he served the then Diocese of Lipa, which included the civil provinces of Batangas, Tayabas (now Quezon), Laguna, Mindoro, and Marinduque.

Throughout his episcopate, his primary pastoral focus was catechism, which led him to establish the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart (MCSH), a diocesan religious congregation for women, in 1923.

Also present during the Mass were several MCSH Sisters, including their Superior General, Mother Mary Julie Micosa.

The nuns were on a pilgrimage to “revisit the roots” of their founder as they also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the MCSH’s foundation.

In addition to attending a prayer service at the bishop’s tomb in the Vigan Cathedral, they also visited some parishes where Verzosa served as a priest.