[Exclusive] [#AwaNgDiyosPH] Another blessing from Pope Francis: A new venerable for PH Church

 

 

MANILA (The Filipino Connection)–Who says Pope Francis’ blessings to the Philippines are over?

Fresh from a five-day apostolic visit to the country, Pope Francis gave another good news to the Philippine Catholic Church when he declared American missionary Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz venerable today.

Pope Francis and the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, led by Angel Cardinal Amato, S.D.B. (a Salesian), had authorized the congregation to promulgate Schwartz’s declaration as venerable  after approving Schwartz’s heroic virtues.

Newly-declared venerable Aloysius Schwartz, founder of two religious congregations who died in Manila. Pope Francis, fresh from a five-day apostolic visit to the Philippines, declared Schwartz venerable (photo take from http://fatheralmyhero.blogspot.com)

Newly-declared venerable Aloysius Schwartz, founder of two religious congregations who died in Manila. Pope Francis, fresh from a five-day apostolic visit to the Philippines, declared Schwartz venerable (photo take from http://fatheralmyhero.blogspot.com)

But as early as the mass of Pope Francis at the Quirino Grandstand last January 18, it was revealed

The Facebook post on an unofficial announcement that Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz will be declared Venerable by Pope Francis upon his return from his Philippine apostolic visit.

The Facebook post on an unofficial announcement that Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz will be declared Venerable by Pope Francis upon his return from his Philippine apostolic visit.

that a Filipino Augustinian postulator for the cause of Schwartz had told a diocesan priest that the Supreme Pontiff will declare Schwartz venerable upon arriving in Rome.

A Vatican press release thus confirmed the news that Schwartz and 29 other Servants of God have been declared venerable, the first of three steps for a candidate to reach sainthood.

The Filipino Connection tried to reach Fr. Samson Silloriquez, O.A.R. who had served as the postulator for Schwartz’s sainthood case (a postulator is one who will present the case of a person’s sainthood to the Vatican). However, Silloriquez had left for Rome January 20th. (Silloriquez is based at the Augustinian congregation’s global headquarters in Rome.)

Schwartz (born in Washington, D.C. September 18, 1930, died in Manila on March 16, 1992) is an American who had formed two congregations: Sisters of Mary of Banneux in 1964 (with the suffix acronym S.M.) and the Brothers of Charity in 1981 (B.C.). Both congregations were formed in Korea, where Schwartz first arrived in 1981.

The congregations were responsible for forming Boystowns and Girlstowns to educate orphans. For his work. Schwartz won in 1981 the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding.

Upon the invitation of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, Schwartz (fondly called as “Father Al”) went to the Philippines to set up a chapter of the Sisters of Mary in the country. Schwartz, in 1985, then opened the Sisters of Mary’s Girlstown facility in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

Sisters of Mary then opened girls and boystowns in Silang municipality, Cavite province and in Minglanilla town and Talisay City in Cebu province.

Schwartz was then diagnosed with ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the still-incurable disease that was made prominent by a global ice bucket challenge in 2014. He died at the seventh floor of Manila Girlstown in Sta. Mesa and was buried in Silang.

Apart from Korea and the Philippines, the SM and BC congregations have missions in Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and Honduras.

FB post breaking the newsThe news on Schwartz was courtesy of a photograph of the new venerable that young entrepreneur James Benedict Malabanan posted. He then saw the Vatican press release.

The University of Santo Tomas Communication Arts graduate, 21, came across Schwartz’s congregation when he, together with a group called Virgin of the Poor, joined a Marian procession at Intramuros. Malabanan then got a stampita bearing brief information about Schwartz.

His declaration as venerable by Pope Francis is a “big deal,” Malabanan tells The Filipino Connection, with the entrepreneur pointing to the Girlstown and Boystown in Silang.

Though Schwartz is an American, historian and archivist Regalado Trota Jose of UST said that for as long as a candidate for sainthood had done good in a country where he or she had done notable work of faith and charity, that country’s Church can beam pride with it.

That is the case of Joseph Vaz, an Indian missionary whom Pope Francis declared a saint during his apostolic to Sri Lanka (before he headed to the Philippines on the second stop of his 2015 Asian tour).

Also under the watch of Pope Francis, a Spanish Franciscan priest born in the Philippines but was among the martyrs during the Spanish civil war was declared blessed last October 13, 2013: Jose Maria de Manila (Eugenio Saz-Orozco).

And before Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI resigned in 2013, he had declared another Spaniard, Joaquina “Mother Consuelo” Barcelo (founder of the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation, whose global headquarters are based in San Juan City), venerable.

The remains of Venerable Fr. Aloysius Schwartz, blessed by the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin (photo take from http://www.fatheralsainthood.org/id1.html)

The remains of Venerable Fr. Aloysius Schwartz, blessed by the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin (photo take from http://www.fatheralsainthood.org/id1.html)

Like Schwartz, Barcelo’s relics are in the Philippines.

Schwartz’s cause for sainthood was opened on December 10, 2003 at the Manila Cathedral (Basilica of the Immaculate Conception), the place where Pope Francis’ first mass in the Philippines was held.

 

This story can be published / broadcast / posted online provided The Filipino Connection / Philstar.com and the article’s author/s are properly acknowledged. Editorial mistakes are the publisher’s. Email: thefilipino.connection@gmail.com.

 

About JEREMAIAH OPINIANO and JHOANA PAULA TUAZON