05 January 2011

A saint from Carcar, Cebu?

Archbishop Teofilo Bastida Camomot (3 March 1914 - 27 September 1988)

On 27 September 1988 I had lunch at San Carlos Major Seminary, Cebu City. It was the feast of St Vincent de Paul, founder of the Vincentians.The Vincentians had been running the seminary for a long time and some were still on the staff, though the diocesan clergy were gradually replacing them. One of the guests was Archbishop Teofilo B. Camomot from Carcar, a town, now a city, a little over an hour's drive south of Cebu City. The Archbishop was from the town and had been auxiliary bishop of Jaro for some years before being appointed coadjutor Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro in northern Mindanao. He resigned from that position after twelve years and returned to Carcar where he lived for 18 years until his death in a car crash as he returned home after the lunch in the seminary.

Cardinal Vidal of Cebu had tried to persuade Archbishop Camomot to take a siesta but the latter insisted on going home, since he had a driver.

I'm almost sure I exchanged greetings with Monsignor Camomot before lunch that day, as I had done once or twice at previous gatherings. I didn't know him in a personal way but after his death I heard many stories that revealed a man who was like St Francis in his simplicity and in his love for the poor. One bishop told he me had heard stories of bi-location, as has happened in the lives of some saints, being seen in two different places at the same time while on errands of mercy.

Cardinal Vidal, who will be replaced as Archbishop of Cebu in a few days by Archbishop Jose S. Palma, told me of how on one occasion he noticed that Archbishop Camomot wasn't wearing his pectoral cross. Curious, he asked him about it. Monsignor Camomot made some non-commital reply. But later a priest told the Cardinal that the Archbishop had pawned his cross in order to help some poor people. Some time after that Cardinal Vidal gave the Archbishop another pectoral cross. With a broad smile, the Cardinal told me that he forbade Archbishop Camomot from pawning it.

After he resigned as coadjutor Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro, Monsignor Camomot worked, as far as I recall, as parish priest of his native town, which became a city a few years ago. He was also, in effect, again as I recall, an auxiliary bishop of Cebu, though I don't think he had an official appointment as such.

This saintly archbishop's funeral was one of the biggest I have ever attended.

CathNews Philippines carries this report today:

Cebuanos push for Camomot’s beatification

Published Date: January 5, 2011

THE Cebu archdiocese has formed a panel to push for the beatification of Monsignor Teofilo Camomot, a native of Carcar town who was known for his service and generosity to the poor.

Claims of miracles attributed to Monsignor Camomot circulated after he was reportedly seen in two different places while he was still serving the clergy of Cebu.

Monsignor Camomot, 74, died in a road accident on Sept. 27, 1988, on his way home to Carcar.

Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal formed the commission to look into the possibility of beatification last Dec. 27. Members of the commission are retired Bishop Antonio Ranola, Monsignor Dennis Villarojo, Monsignor Raul Go, Rev. Jasper John Petralba, and Trinidad Calleno.

Report from Inquirer.Net

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