MANILA — CBCP elevates the celebration of St. Ezekiel Moreno from Optional Memorial to Obligatory Memorial during the 127th Plenary Assembly last Jan. 27-29, 2024.

The elevation is an assent to the request of the Order of Augustinian Recollects’ Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno in consonance with its 25th Founding Anniversary.

The only Province of the Order present in Asia and Africa is under the patronage of St. Ezekiel Moreno, who spent the first 15 years of his priestly ministry as a religious missionary in the Philippines.

In the Catholic Church’s hierarchy of celebrations, Memorials come last which is a “simple remembrance of a saint on his spiritual birthday” according to the ORDO (Order of Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and Celebration of the Eucharist for the Dioceses of the Philippines.)

Memorials are further divided into optional and obligatory; the former may be observed while the latter must be observed. After the official declaration of CBCP’s elevation, the Recollect Saint’s day on August 19 must now be observed by all churches in the Philippines.

“This is both a testament and witnessing of St. Ezekiel’s love for the Filipino people,” said Rev. Fr. Joseph Cyprian Panaligan, OAR, Ad Hoc committee member for the 25th Anniversary of the Province.

Fr. Panaligan spearheaded the petition for the elevation of the Saint’s memorial; he hopes that more people will know the Patron Saint of Cancer Patients.

“With the elevation as Obligatory Memorial St. Ezekiel Moreno, I pray that he would be more known and loved by the people so close to his heart,” Fr. Panaligan added.

Saint Among Filipinos

In a letter addressed to the CBCP, Rev. Fr. Bernard C. Amparado, OAR, Prior Provincial of the Province, explained the significance of the Recollect Saint to the Filipino people.

“St. Ezekiel Moreno is a Saint for our time. As a Patron Saint of Cancer Patients, devotion to him is much needed nowadays as people suffering from cancer increases every year,” Fr. Amparado wrote in the letter of petition.

Fr. Amparado also recounted the missionary itinerary of St. Ezekiel Moreno from 1870-1885 where he served in Palawan, Mindoro, Las Piñas, Batangas, Cavite, Sta. Cruz, and Manila.

The Prior Provincial claims that St. Ezekiel is a “Filipino Saint.” Fr. Amparado enumerated that St. Ezekiel he received his Diaconal Ordination at the Jaro Cathedral in Ilo-ilo and his Presbyteral Ordination at the Manila Cathedral; showed fluency of the Tagalog Language; and posed the saint’s relevance in the contemporary times.

After spending his first 15 years as missionary in the Philippines, St. Ezekiel Moreno sailed back to Spain where he served as Prior of the convent of Monteagudo, and later on as Bishop of Pasto in Colombia. He died on August 19, 1906 due to Cancer of the Palate.

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Bro. Jesse Meer Alipes

Bro. Jesse Meer E. Alipes