CEBU CITY, Philippines – Pope Francis bestowed the title of ‘Venerable’ to the late Archbishop Teofilo Camomot on May 21, a step closer to being formally recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
The move—which also recognized Camomot as having lived a life of “heroic virtue”—is a major development in advancing his cause for sainthood. The church would then need to attribute one miracle to Camomot for him to be beatified as “Blessed,” and another for him to be canonized and declared a “Saint.”
Camomot was born in Carcar, Cebu, on March 3, 1914. He was ordained a priest in 1941, and later consecrated as bishop in 1955, serving in Jaro as auxiliary bishop.
In 1958, Camomot was named “coadjutor archbishop,” assisting then Cagayan de Oro Archbishop James Hayes. It was during his time in the Cagayan de Oro archdiocese that Camomot founded the congregation now known as the Daughters of Saint Teresa.
He served the role until his resignation in 1968, and returned to his native Cebu in 1970, where he was named auxiliary bishop to then-Cebu Archbishop Julio Cardinal Rosales. In 1976, he was also designated parish priest of his hometown Carcar.
On September 1988, Camomot tragically died in a car accident at the age of 74.
According to a May 21 press release from the Archdiocese of Cebu, Camomot’s “dedication to the poor and detachment from material possessions were the trademarks of his ministry.”
In an account published at a website dedicated to Camomot’s legacy and cause for sainthood, the archbishop had even pawned his own pectoral cross, a necklace made of gold or silver worn by bishops, to give money to the poor. “His simplicity was attested by so many people, even fellow prelates,” the website said. Reports of Camomot “bilocating,” or being seen in two places at the same time, were confirmed in an affidavit by the late Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
The Archdiocese of Cebu had led the cause for Camomot’s sainthood beginning in 2010, under Cardinal Vidal.
After a process that involved interviewing 45 witnesses who knew Camomot personally, a “Positio” on the life, virtues, and fame of sanctity was submitted in 2020 to the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, a Vatican commission which oversees the process of sainthood.
In October 2021, a congress of nine theological consultants had unanimously affirmed Camomot’s virtuous life. This was also affirmed by the congregation’s cardinals and bishops on May 3, and was later presented in a report to Pope Francis by Marcello Cardinal Semeraro, prefect of the congregation.
Other Filipino venerables include Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, founder of the first native Filipino female congregation now known as the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM), and Bishop Alfredo Maria Obviar, former bishop of Lucena, Quezon.
Two Filipinos had already been recognized as saints: San Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila, in 1987, and San Pedro Calungsod of Cebu, in 2012. Both were lay martyrs who died as missionaries in foreign lands. – Rappler.com