Former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. has called on fellow members of the Knights of Columbus (KC) nationwide to keep praying for the eventual “raising to the altar” of the group’s spiritual father, Fr. George J. Willmann, S.J., who was declared “Servant of God” Monday, Dec. 7, 2015.
“So what is demanded of us as members of Knights of Columbus? What is demanded of us as members of Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines [KCPAFI]?” he asked. “We need to pray a lot. Pray, pray, pray that the tribunal will listen to the evidence presented. Pray, pray, pray that the tribunal will actually collate all the evidence and determine once and for all that what has been presented through our postulator is credible to merit the conferment of beatification later on. This is our task.”
Davide, who now chairs the National Executive Committee for the Causes of Fr. Willmann, made this observation in a speech following a ceremony held at the Manila Cathedral during which Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle officially approved the archdiocesan process for the causes for the beatification and canonization of the naturalized Filipino Jesuit.
The solemn occasion was witnessed by no less than 1,000 representatives of KCPAFI and other organizations Fr. Willmann helped establish like Catholic Youth Organization, Columbian Squires in the Philippines (1950), and Daughters of Mary Immaculate.
The former chief magistrate went on to describe the entire process as “very meaningful” since it had the power to make an ordinary priest into a Servant of God.
Ordinary priest to Servant of God
“Imagine during our lifetime today in the Cathedral we saw the conversion of an ordinary priest to become a Servant of God. And we hope that he will merit being a servant of God until the first step of the process will continue,” he exclaimed.
According to him, it must have been the first time for most people present to have seen with their own eyes an event of such “historic and momentous significance.”
“I have lived 20 times four years of my life almost. And this is the first time I have witnessed the process, how it evolves, and what we can gather from it. To me this is not just making somebody brought to the honors of the altar but for us to be able to witness how to live and how to comport ourselves to be able to follow his footsteps,” he explained.
Davide pointed out that holiness is already built in each person, but it is only a matter of expressing it.
“Why I would say that holiness is in us already? Because we are the temple of God and the Spirit of God is with us. Sometimes, however, we forget that this is so. We close our ears. We close our eyes to Jesus Christ. We close our hands to Jesus Christ by helping others. So this is the process that we have witnessed today. And to me, it will very much work,” he added.
Davide also credited Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III, postulator of the causes for Fr. Willmann, for the “divinely inspired” occasion and the timeliness of the diocesan process.
“So Msgr. Quitorio, you are divinely inspired. You planned everything in such a way that everything we did, and we will do, and what we are doing right now is not only as legacy to the next generation but even beyond the next generation for people and children yet unborn,” he said. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)