ANTIPOLO City, Rizal, Oct. 26, 2014—An online campaign that is making waves in social media aims to raise awareness about the lives of yet to be recognized saintly Filipinos, including foreign saints who had lived in the country at some point.
Started by Jovi Atanacio, the Facebook group “Wanted: Filipino Saints” introduces to netizens ordinary men and women—some well-known, others not so—who led lives of extraordinary virtues and holiness.
‘Tidal wave of immorality’
“By this Facebook page on ‘Filipino’ saints, I hope to propagate holiness and earnestly pray that in God’s time [Filipino saints may] be recognized by the Church and be raised to the altars for our emulation,” he said.
According to Atanacio, it has been his long-time dream to create a group that would research, showcase, and promote holiness as exemplified by lives of known and unknown Filipinos.
“In this time of societal decay, when we see officials clamoring to pass RH Bill—and soon legalize the murder of the unborn through abortion—I pray to God to raise more saints from our beloved country to counter the tidal wave of immorality,” he explained.
Atanacio said the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo was one of his inspirations in creating the group in 2012.
“When Sec. Robredo died, there were news that he lived a holy life, his confessor related he confessed regularly and attended daily mass. He lived his faith and worked honestly and with integrity,” he said.
There is a need for Catholic role models, he said, especially of those who have lived in modern times and in the country.
“It greatly helps when we can identify with them and their experiences,” Atanacio explained.
Raised in a devoutly Catholic household, Atanacio told CBCPNews that saints have always fascinated him due mostly to his parents’ influence who taught him and his siblings to be familiar with them.
“Our father especially acquired many books about them. This collection I continued when I had my own earnings. The internet also helped me in my research on saints. Others were contributed by the group members … Since the 90s (in my early 20s) I’ve been looking and collecting news clippings on possible candidates for sainthood..” he shared.
And Robredo provided this needed impetus.
“Like a ray of sunshine, DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo came. He is the sign and hope that saints still live among us Filipinos. It is high time that we know them and be inspired by their examples,” said Atanacio, who is also a member of the “Work of the Saints”, an apostolate which propagates holiness by holding expositions of saints’ relics in parishes and schools in Metro Manila and the provinces.
In “Wanted: Filipino Saints”, Atanacio invites his over 2,000 fellow saint-lovers to post biographical information of and anecdotes on saints, blesseds, venerables, martyrs or servants of God who were Filipino-born as well as foreign ones with links to the Philippines either as missionaries, visitors, or “bilocators”.
He also encourages members to promote the lives of as yet obscure Filipinos who may have possessed heroic virtues, and are potential candidates for sainthood.
To visit the page, interested parties may like the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/394440117276318/?fref=ts. (Raymond A. Sebastián)