by Flor Jackson, PIA Biliran
Naval, Biliran (February 26) — Over a thousand devotees from Naval, the capital town of Biliran province, and from other municipalities in the province welcome the Pilgrim Relic of St. Therese of the Child Jesus when it visited the town yesterday en route to the Diocesan Shrine built in her honor which is located in Barangay Obispo in Calubian, of the 41 municipalities in the province of Leyte just across the island province of Biliran.
The pilgrim that came all the way from Lisieux, France arrived in Palo, Leyte on February 21 where a concelebrated mass was said and was attended by a huge crowd of devotees not only from Palo but also from the nearby Leyte municipalities.
The pilgrim visited the Sto. Nino Church in Tacloban and other churches in the city. Concelebrated masses were also said and a procession around the city joined in by devotees of St. Therese was conducted.
On February 23, the pilgrim left Tacloban at 8:30 in the morning and arrived Naval shortly before lunchtime.
Schoolchildren lined up the streets from Biliran town to Naval waving flaglets with blue and white color combination to welcome the Pilgrim Relic of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and her entourage.
Naval Mayor Susan Parilla, Vice Mayor Vicente Curso, Naval Institute of Technology (NIT) President Edita Genson, Msgr. Filomeno Bactol, Bishop of Naval and the clergy of the Diocese of Naval, the religious sisters, and other local officials led the in welcoming the Pilgrim Relic of St. Therese of the Child Jesus at the gate of the Cathedral Church of Naval.
The arrival ceremony was followed by a mass with Msgr. Bactol as the main celebrant together with the clergy of the Diocese of Naval.
In his homily, Bishop Bactol urged the devotees in the area to offer their pains to God through St. Therese because according to him this would bring happiness to everyone. “Anything we do must be done with love”.
As Msgr. Bactol continued with his homily, he informed that St. Therese who is the Patroness of Priests and also the Saint of Flowers was a simple child before God who died at a very young age of 24.
“She has high union with God, and even as she was sick, she offered everything to God”, he said.
“We are very grateful to St. Therese for coming over to the province of Biliran,” he added.
It was learned that in the year 2000, the first time the Pilgrim Relic of St. Therese of the Child Jesus came to visit the islands of Leyte and Biliran, a Diocesan Shrine was built in her honor in Barangay Obispo, Calubian, also one of the municipalities of Leyte.
Msgr. Bactol announced that Archbishop Jose Palma of the Archdiocese of Palo would have come to join the pilgrimage but since he was scheduled to fly to Manila yesterday en route to Italy to attend an international symposium, he sent a letter instead to the Diocese of Naval to greet the devotees for the occasion which was read after the mass.
The devotees were given a few minutes of veneration and to touch the Relic of St. Therese at the main altar of the church. A land procession from the church going to the port of Naval immediately followed, afterwhich, a fluvial procession was held from the Naval port to Calubian town for a mass at the Calubian Catholic church with Msgr. Bactol also as the main celebrant.
The Relic of St. Therese stayed overnight in the Diocesan Shrine to give ample time for the devotees to make a vigil and offer prayers for their own personal intentions.
Then Pilgrim went back to Tacloban for its trip to Manila en route to France.
The welcome preparations to the Miraculous Pilgrim Relic of St. Therese of the Child Jesus was coordinated by NIT being the host college through its President Edita Genson in cooperation with the religious groups, other government agencies and the Dioceses of Naval. (PIA)