Laoag bishop issues edict for 13-year-old girl being pushed for sainthood

August 22, 2023 - 2:15 PM
File photo of Niña Ruiz-Abad. (Diocese of Laoag via CBCP News)

A northern Philippine diocese has issued an edict inviting testimonies about a 13-year-old Filipino girl being pushed for sainthood.

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The edict was published on Aug. 16, exactly 30 years since the death of Niña Ruiz-Abad, whose short-lived life was devoted to the Eucharist.

The cause of Abad was set in motion by the Diocese of Laoag where she spent nearly half of her life and was buried there in 1993.

Bishop Renato Mayugba signed the edict and stated that it was in response to a petition from the “God First Association,” which called for the opening of Abad’s cause.”

The edict was read during Sunday Masses in all the parishes of the diocese, asking the people to provide information “of any kind,” whether in favor or contrary to the opening of the diocesan inquiry.

“…I invite all of the faithful to provide me useful information regarding the said cause,” Mayugba wrote.

The bishop will then assess the merits of testimonies before deciding whether to accept the petition or not.

If the decision is affirmative, he will request the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints for the nihil obstat, paving the way for the official diocesan investigation on Abad’s life.

In July this year, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) agreed to support the introduction of Abad’s cause.

The documentation from the diocesan inquiry will be sent to the congregation for saints’ causes, which will review the gathered information.

If the Vatican adheres to the findings of the diocesan tribunal, it issues the “Decree of Validity.” From this, a Relator will be appointed to guide the Postulator in the writing of the “Positio” – the official report of the Cause.

The writing, in most cases, will take years. This report will be reviewed by Vatican theologians and cardinals. Once approved, it is presented to Pope Francis for the “Decree of Heroic Virtues.” Only then will Abad become “Venerable.”

The next steps would involve beatification and canonization, both of which require proof of miracles attributed to her intercession.