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Naga welcomes relic of journalist martyr

By Myrna Bermudo

The pilgrim city of Naga was host to the pilgrim relic of Carmelite martyr, St. Titus Brandsma on August 28- 29.

The pilgrim relic was brought by the Order of Carmelites Philippine Province of Titus Brandsma. It aims to promote St. Titus to the Filipinos. The pilgrimage in the Philippines was the first to be made in his honor around the world.

Who is he? St. Titus Brandsma is a Dutch Carmelite theologian, journalist and author, who spoke against the anti-Jewish laws of the Nazis. Fr. Titus refused to publish their propaganda in Catholic newspapers. He experienced hardship, starvation then finally was injected with carbolic acid which led to his death on July 26, 1942.

His Grace, the Most Rev. Rolando Tria Tirona, OCD, D.D., Archbishop of Caceres, himself a Carmelite, venerates the Relic and Image of St. Titus Brandsma at the Parish of St. John the Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral, Naga City, Camarines Sur. The veneration of the good archbishop culminates the Bicoladia tour of the Nationwide Pilgrimage of the Relic and Image of St. Titus Brandsma with the Holy Mass. (Text and photo by Titus Brandsma Pilipinas FB page)

The pilgrim relic arrived from Albay and was welcomed at Naga Carmel where Eucharistic celebration was held and a catechesis on the relics. A short film and talk on the life of St. Titus Pledge for Truth was presented, followed by veneration, mass and night vigil.

A motorcade was held from Naga Carmelite Monastery to the Cathedral on the next day, August 29.

“We need to promote and defend the truth at all cost, “ said Fr. Luisito A. Occiano who was the presider and preacher during the welcome mass. Fr. Occiano is the director of the Caceres Commission on Communications.

“In a day when many distort the truth, when many do not believe in love. so that discerning and speaking the truth and love can become complicated, the life of St. Titus reveals the importance of standing firm on the truth and fighting for love, regardless of the consequences. Witnessing to the truth sometimes costs us much - even our own lives - and St. Titus Brandsma surrendered his life in quiet love. He inspires us in these challenging times, to know God and to make Him known. To accept the difficulties in our everyday lives with abandonment to God. To speak and stand for truth. To love, and to bring Christ’s Love to others - no matter our circumstances or theirs.

In standing up for the truth and serving love, we might lose some to win big in the end, “ Fr. Occiano said in his homily.

In June 2022, a group of Catholic journalists from Germany, Netherland and some parts of Europe, wrote Pope Francis asking him that the newly minted saint just last May 15, 2022, be designated a patron of the journalists. They said: “We see him as a Friend and advocate for our entire profession, indeed a patron saint of journalism.”

After the mass, Fr. Christian Marave, OCarm, used the relic to bless the faithful who were present and who lined up. Prayer cards were distributed and used during the public veneration until 5:30 in the afternoon.

A farewell mass was celebrated by Carmelite Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, at the Metropolitan Cathedral. It culminated the Bicolandia tour of the Nationwide Pilgrimage of the Relic and Image of St. Titus Brandsma.

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