Ilocano bishop might be next Filipino saint

CAGAYAN, Philippines – The late Bishop Alfredo Verzosa may soon become the next Filipino saint, a church official here said, after the Vatican communicated his nihil obstat (nothing stands on the way) status.

Nueva Segovia Archbishop Emeritus Ernesto Salgado, who headed the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Verzosa, said the nihil obstat status means no one can stop the ongoing process of Verzosa's sainthood.

Verzosa is now called “Servant of God Alfredo Verzosa” after the initialization was accepted in the Vatican.

The Archdiocese of Vigan, headed by Salgado, started in January 2013 its bid for Verzosa’s sainthood. He said Bishop Verzosa changed the religious, spiritual, and moral portrait of Southern Luzon.


Verzosa, who was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, was the first Filipino Catholic bishop to hail from the Ilocos region. He became Bishop of Lipa on January 20, 1917.


Church records show that Verzosa founded the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart, a diocesan congregation for women in 1923.


He also witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the Mediatrix of all Grace in the Carmelite Monastery of Lipa from 1948 to 1950.


Verzosa died in his home city on June 27, 1954.


Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio Utleg told Rappler that it’s high time for an Ilocano to be a saint since Ilocanos have been holding on to the Catholic faith since the start of Christianity in the Philippines.

The Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in Vigan first stood in Ciudad Nueva Segovia (now Lal-lo) in Cagayan in the late 15th century. It was transferred to Vigan in 1758.

The ciudad Nueva Segovia was one of the first cities established by the Spaniards.

The regions of Cagayan Valley and Ilocos are both predominantly Ilocanos.

“We are very happy for this good news, it’s about time to reward the religiosity of the Ilocanos,” Utleg said.