ONE of the pioneers of the beatification of Archbishop Teofilo Camomot described the monsignor as a soft-spoken, simple and holy man.
Sister Rosa Magapan, one of the people who started the congregation of the Daughters of St. Therese (DST) Mother House in Barangay Valladolid, Carcar City, personally witnessed the greatness of Camomot when he was still alive.
Magapan said when Camomot was still a bishop, he used to give money and food to the poor to the extent that he will no longer have any money in his pocket.
“Even when he once was a bishop before, but still he was not a very proud man. He's very simple, very humble. And he loves the poor people around. He used to give money, he used to give food, he used to give rice, to the extent that [he has] no more money in the pocket. Always giving out, always giving out,” Magapan said.
His deeds forever lives in the hearts of few people who have known him personally, which prompted the process of his beatification, she added.
The beatification of Monsignor Camomot is gaining momentum after the church officials secured 46 witnesses of the archbishop's personality and holiness.
And various testimonies of the archbishop's miracles were reported.
Weeks before March 3, a cloistered nun from Surigao del Sur, who was suffering from a tumor on her right eye, claimed she was healed by the late Archbishop Camomot.
Mother Rebecca Hawak, a superior of the Poor Clare Monastery in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, was healed when she and her fellow sisters visited the late archbishop’s final resting place.
Hawak was healed of her ailment after lying in the late archbishop’s bed which was kept in a museum situated behind his tomb, said Rev. Mother Maria Louella Grace Buscato, superior of the DST Mother House.
Estrellita Quijano, a 69-year-old devotee from Carcar City, said her daughter, who was sick and vomiting blood, was healed after she prayed to Archbishop Camomot 2 years ago.
“Mag sige siya'g suka og dugo sa una... gidala-dala nako sya ni Monsignor. Ampo ni Monsignor kay motabang na. Mao nang madala rag sigeg ampo ni Monsignor naayo ang iyahang sakit. (Before, she was always vomiting blood... I brought her with me to Monsignor to pray to him since it was helpful. After several prayers to Monsignor, she was cured from her illness.),” Quijano said.
Another devotee, a catechist from Bulak, Dumanjug, claimed to have been also healed by the monsignor.
Rufina Camaso, 55, said her goiter, which she wasn't able to get it checked in the hospital due to lack of money, was cured after she prayed to Archbishop Camomot last year.
But for Sister Magapan, the beatification and canonization of the archbishop as a saint is, in itself, a miracle.
According to her, they were told before that it will only beatification but a postulator from the Roman Catholic Church told them that he will be canonized.
“For me, ang kanang pag work out sa iyang (the process of his) beatification, that's already a miracle, I consider that a miracle. Ang pag work out sa iyahang (The process of his) beatification ug canonization. We were told before 'beatification only,' but we were told by the postulator - ang pari and postulator gikan sa Roma (the priest and postulator from Rome), 'erase beatification, change that to canonization.' For me, it’s a miracle,” she said.
The church officials, however, are still verifying the reported miracles.
Miracles or not, hundreds of pilgrims and devotees still flocked to his tomb at the formation house of the Daughters of St. Therese to commemorate his birthday on March 3.
Five years after the archbishop’s remains was buried in the common cemetery in Carcar, Sister Magapan said, the priests and Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal themselves unearthed the body. They found out that it wasn't deteriorated.
The body was then buried in a tomb constructed from the P1.5-million proceeds Magapan and her fellow nun earned from a dinner show they had done.
Magapan said she observed several priests taking their handkerchiefs in order to rub it to the tomb.
“Ang mga pari nagkuha sa mga panyo, pahid, pahid. Ako pud wala ko nag join ba sa pagpahid-pahid. Nag observe lang ko. Ang mga tao pwerte bilib gyud kaayo sa holiness ni Monsignor (The priests took their handkerchiefs and started rubbing them in the tomb. As for me, I didn't join and only observed them. The people really believed in the holiness of Monsignor),” Magapan said.
On Friday, the museum where Archbishop Camomot's bed was kept will be open to the public after the 3 p.m. mass but the congregation will be open as early as 8 a.m.
Archbishop Camomot was born on March 3, 1914 in Cogon, Carcar, to Luis Aleson Camomot and Angela Bastida Camomot. He died in a vehicular accident in Barrio Baho, San Fernando town on September 27, 1988. (Jo Ann Sablad/SunStar Philippines)