CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 February 2019

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Relic of St. Camillus in the Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): The heart relic of St. Camillus de Lellis, patron of the sick, doctors, nurses, and health workers, is set to arrive in the Philippines on February 2 and remain in the country until the end of March.
 
Bishop Oscar Florencio, of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, called the visit a “grace from God.”
 
In October last year, thousands of Filipino Catholics welcomed the heart relic of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.
 
“There are many requests to have the relic (of St. Camllius) visit their place ... but by the grace of God we were given this chance,” Bishop Florencio said.
 
He said the visit “gives hope especially to people who are sick, who cannot afford to seek treatment because of poverty.”
 
Father Dan Vicente Cancino Jr., chairperson of the visit called, Journey of the Heart 2.0, said it “provides a perfect opportunity to give importance to the humanisation of health care” in the Philippines.
 
“I hope this becomes a way for our health care providers to renew their commitment to loving and serving the sick,” he added.
 
During his lifetime, St. Camillus fell ill and, while in a hospital, he realised that God was calling him to serve the sick.
 
It led him to establish the Ministers of the Sick who are dedicated solely to caring for those with infirmities.
 
St. Camillus’ heart was removed an hour after his death on 14 July 1614 and was later enshrined at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Rome.
 
Father Cancino said the saint’s heart has spiritual symbolism, the most common being that it is the universal symbol of love.
 
“Up to his last breath, St. Camillus’ heart was in the service of the sick. For him, to serve the sick was to serve Christ himself,” the priest added.
 
The Camillian Order’s presence in the Philippines started in 1974 and the Philippine Province was formally established on 1 July 2003.
 
The relic, which is contained in a crystal glass shaped like a heart, first visited the Philippines in 2013.

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