TAYTAY, Philippines, OCT. 30, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Taytay Vicariate obtained a decree from the Holy See declaring St. Benedict Menni patron of volunteers throughout the ecclesiastical territory, the first Church circumscription to obtain such a recognition.
Bishop Edgardo Sarabia Juanich, apostolic vicar of Taytay, obtained the decree after having written a petition that was circulated among parishes and parish councils and then sent to the Vatican, the Fides agency reported.
A decree issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and signed Sept. 23 by the prefect, Cardinal Francis Arinze, grants the request and declares “Saint Benedict Angelo Menni, priest, patron and mediator with God for voluntary workers.”
The cathedral of Taytay has St. Joseph the Worker as its main patron, but Bishop Juanich decided to add statues of St. John of God and St. Benedict Menni, bearing, respectively, these inscriptions: patron of the sick and patron of voluntary workers.
The Taytay Vicariate covers half the northern part of Palawan Island in the eastern Philippines.
For some time the bishops of the Philippines proposed St. Benedict Menni as “universal patron of voluntary workers.”
“His exemplary care of the wounded, without discrimination, inspired and will continue to inspire religious and laity called to a life of voluntary service,” the bishops wrote in a message.
Cardinal Jaime Sin, then archbishop of Manila, was in favor of Menni’s candidacy for universal patron of volunteers.
“In his life we see divine inspiration and holiness which leads others to offer their lives to serve God and neighbor, especially the sick and the needy,” the cardinal said. “We need a model to show us that the fullness of consecrated life consists in total trust in God for everything. And we see in St. Benedict the genuine qualities which all volunteers should posses.”
St. Benedict Menni was born in Milan on March 11, 1841, to very religious parents. In 1859, when he was 18, he went as a volunteer to care for the wounded at the battle of Magenta. In May 1860 he joined the Order of St. John of God Hospitaller Brothers. Six years later, he was ordained a priest and then appointed chaplain of his community. In 1881 he founded the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
St. Benedict Menni died on April 24, 1914. He was beatified in 1985 and canonized in 1999.