President Duterte pays his last respects to Cardinal Ricardo Vidal at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. —MALACAÑANG PHOTO
CEBU CITY — The funeral of Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Ricardo Vidal on Thursday will be simple yet rich in meaning.
Members of the clergy and religious organizations who played significant roles when Vidal served as archbishop of Cebu for 29 years have been assigned special tasks in Thursday’s liturgy, which is expected to draw thousands of people from different parts of the country.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will lead the 9 a.m. funeral Mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Cebu City. Vidal will be buried at the cathedral’s mausoleum.
Vidal’s longtime secretary, Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo, will deliver the homily.
At least 24 Catholic bishops have confirmed their attendance, among them are the three remaining cardinals of the Philippines—Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Cotabato Archbishop Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, and Manila Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales.
Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, the incoming president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, and Msgr. Gabriel Viola, secretary of Papal Nuncio Gabriele Giordano, will also attend the funeral Mass.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cebu, said they were expecting about 500 priests from different provinces, particularly from Marinduque province, Lipa City in Batangas province, City of Malolos in Bulacan province, and Lucena City in Quezon province—places where Vidal had served—to attend the burial.
Large LED screens will be mounted inside and outside the church compound to allow people to view the funeral Mass and burial. The liturgy will be aired live over the Cebu Catholic Television Network.
Around 300 policemen will ensure order during Vidal’s funeral.
Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino, director of the Central Visayas regional police, said the police would implement strict security measures, including the inspection of bags for those entering the cathedral during the event.
“We’re expecting dignitaries to come so we have to ensure the safety of everyone,” he said.
President Duterte declared Oct. 26 a holiday in the entire city and province of Cebu to give people a chance to attend Vidal’s funeral.
The President on Monday midnight visited the wake of the cardinal. He cited Vidal’s contribution as a “man of peace.”
At the start of funeral Mass on Thursday, a large white cloth or “pall” would be laid on Vidal’s coffin by four priests who were given the title of “monsignor” during his stint as cardinal. They are Monsignors Guillermo Gorre, Arthur Navales, Alfredo Romanillos and Vicente Tupas Jr.
The white cloth recalls the baptismal garment as a sign of Christian dignity which must be unstained into the everlasting life.
“We are clothed with the armor of the Lord as we go to heaven,” said Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili, a former secretary of Vidal and a liturgist of the archdiocese.
Vidal’s younger brother, Juanito, will lay the crucifix on top of the casket while Fr. Benedict (religious name) of the Society of the Angel, a congregation that assisted Vidal during liturgical celebrations, will put the Book of the Gospels on the coffin.
Fr. Glenn Therese Guanzon, chair of the Commission on Worship, said Vidal’s coffin would not be placed on a bier or stand, and would instead be positioned on the ground.
“That is to symbolize the abasement of the ‘earthly man,’ and a sign of humility before God,” he said in a press conference.
The coffin bearers are Msgr. Rey Penagunda and Msgr. Daniel Sanico, the vicar generals of the archdiocese; Msgr. Achilles Dakay, media liaison officer during Vidal’s term; Msgr. Joseph Tan, who served as treasurer; Msgr. Agustin Ancajas, former private secretary of Vidal; Msgr. Roberto Alesna, former vicar general; Msgr. Adelito Abella, former chancellor; Fr. Joseph de Aquino, the last secretary who served Vidal; Fr. Expedito Torrevillas, Vidal’s master of ceremonies; and Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, the vice postulator of the cause for sainthood of San Pedro Calungsod.