Reliquary Pilgrimage of St. John Calabria in Calbayog City, Samar
Calbayog City: At around eleven thirty in the morning of May 15, 2023, the relics of St. John Calabria finally arrived in Calbayog City, Samar. At Calbayog City Airport where the relics started to set foot, they were met with jubilation by the priests and aspirants of Nazareth Formation House, members of the Calabrian family, and devotees of St. John Calabria. Soon after their arrival, there was a motorcade-procession around the city, moving towards Nazareth Formation House, Dagum Hills, where the religious community of the Calabrians is situated. Fr. Fernando Speranza, PSDP vicar-general of the PSDP congregation, Fr. Marvin Tadena, PSDP, delegate superior of the Calabrians in the Philippines, and Fr. Reynaldo Olan, PSDP, then-delegate superior, led the procession.
In the afternoon of the day of its arrival, a solemn mass was presided over by Fr. Marvin where he explained the 7 relics of St. John Calabria which included his blood, wallet, spectacles, pocket-watch, stole, letters, and shoes. Right after the celebration, a public veneration of the relics followed. The lay faithful offered their silent prayers and supplications invoking the intercession of St. John Calabria.
In the morning of May 16, the second day of the relic pilgrimage, a musical tribute was offered to the relics of St. John Calabria by the Heralds Choir, Calbayog City LGU choir, and Kita Choir. Each tribute is preceded by a life testimony of those who had been touched by the life St. John Calabria which included Ms. Preciocissima Banzon, Mr. Ernesto Acoba, Aspirant Lemuel Dumaguit, and Aspirant Antonio Virtudazo. Their words of testimony attested to the fact that the saintly life of St. John Calabria remain up to this day a beacon of hope amidst darkness and a sign of God's paternity and His Divine Providence mysteriously working in our lives.
At two o'clock in the afternoon, a rite of welcome was held at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral for public veneration. The presence of the relics of St. John Calabria in the mother church of the Diocese of Calbayog is an indication not only of the local church's hospitality, but also of St. John Calabria's love for the local church and his thrust for synodality.
Meanwhile, as the people flocked to venerate the relics, they were serenaded by Christ the King College (CKC) Orchestra with their rendition of the song, 'Christ in Us' and other songs. Their musical accompaniment added solemnity and beauty to the public veneration of relics.
The most. Rev. Isabelo C. Abarquez, DD, Bishop of Calbayog, together with the Calabrian priests and other concelebrating priests led the holy eucharist in honor of St. John Calabria as a culmination of the public veneration in the cathedral. A huge number of people gathered together for such a momentous occasion.
Early morning today, May 17, the final day of the relic pilgrimage, Fr. Reynaldo Olan led the celebration of the mass in thanksgiving for a fruitful relic pilgrimage in the Diocese of Calbayog. In his homily, he explained the meaning behind the new portrait of St. John Calabria. He invited the assembly to emulate the virtues of St. John Calabria.
At exactly seven o'clock in the morning, the relics of St. John Calabria together with Fr. Fernando, Fr. Rey, and Fr. Marvin travelled for Cagayan de Oro City via Cebu.