CEBU CITY, Philippines – To give Cebuanos the chance to pay their last respect and witness the burial of the late Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) has requested Malacañang to declare October 26 a holiday in Cebu.
In a statement, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino said he has communicated to the Office of the President, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the Cebuanos’ wish to have October 26, Vidal’s scheduled burial day, to be declared a holiday.
“Indeed a pivotal shepherd for 29 years in our Archdiocese, the declaration of a holiday on the occasion of his interment will enable our people to pay their last respects to the beloved Cardinal,” Dino said.
Attached to the letter are endorsements from the provincial government and some Cebu City councilors. Dino added that the Office of the Executive Secretary is now studying the request.
“I am looking forward to a positive response from Malacañang,” he added.
While the Archdiocese of Cebu has not officially requested for the holiday, media liaison officer Monsignor Joseph Tan said the church welcomes the move of Dino and other local officials.
“If it is extended to us, by all means, we are more than grateful for the thoughtfulness of paying respect for the funeral of Cardinal Vidal,” Tan told reporters.
The late Cardinal Vidal was transferred from the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral to the San Pedro Calungsod Shrine inside the Archbishop's palace Saturday morning.
The late Cardinal will be brought back to the Cathedral on October 26 though a funeral procession.
Tan said a number of VIPs are expected to attend the funeral, including a representative of Pope Francis. The regional vicar of Opus Dei in the Philippines is also expected to fly to Cebu and preside over one of the Sunday Requiem Masses.
Vidal’s younger brother, Juanito, said relatives and family members in Marinduque have expressed interest to attend the wake and burial of the late cardinal but the bad weather have prevented them from sailing.
“I hope the weather will calm down in the next few days so our relatives can get here from Marinduque,” Juanito said.
The 84-year-old brother of Vidal arrived in Cebu ahead when he learned that the cardinal was rushed to the hospital last October 11. – Rappler.com