HAU to open ‘Oratory of the Sacred Relics’

Holy Angel University will open a facility called Oratory of the Sacred Relics which contains more than 150 relics of canonized and beatified holy men and women of the Catholic Church.

The collection includes either first-class relics (bone, hair, flesh) or second-class relics (clothing) of such saints as Augustine, Monica, Francis Xavier, Ignatius of Loyola, Dominic, Thomas Aquinas, Therese of Lisieux, Maria Goretti, Tarcisius, Anthony de Padua, Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, as well as the 12 Apostles, Our Lady, St. Joseph and the Cross on which Christ was crucified.

The collection of relics at the oratory was loaned to the University by a Kapampangan lay Catholic leader, Don Mauro Gomez of Mexico, who acquired them from the Vatican through his aunt who is a member of the Daughters of Divine Zeal in Rome and Fr. Dennis Duene Ruiz, OAD, Definitor- General of the Order of the Discalced Augustinians in Rome.

Fr. Ruiz, recently appointed Postulator in charge of the congregation’s causes of saints and management of relics, previously worked for the Monasterio de Santa Lucia, the official custodian and laboratory for relics in the Vicariate of Rome.

Fr. Ruiz put up the Chapel of the Holy Relics in Cebu–said to be the largest repository of relics in the Philippines–as well as the Hermanidad de la Correa y de Sta. Rita de Cascia, a confraternity of OAD lay associates with chapters all over the country, including Pampanga. It is through these that Fr. Ruiz acquires relics from the Vatican to bring to various parishes as part of his advocacy to propagate devotion to saints.

The new Oratory of the Sacred Relics will bolster the University’s similar advocacy to promote devotion to saints as models of Christian virtue. Previously, the University initiated a so-called Catholic Halloween where basic education students wore costumes depicting saints instead of evil creatures.

The oratory will be blessed by the Most Rev. Florentino Lavarias, DD, Archbishop of San Fernando, on Oct. 2, as part of FIDES 500, the University’s countdown to the 500th anniversary of the Christianization of the Philippines and the 450th anniversary of the Christianization of Pampanga, both in 2021.

The University is the first Catholic school in the Philippines founded by a layperson (in 1933) and first Catholic co-educational high school. It is also one of only two Catholic universities in the Philippines recommended by the US-based Catholic advocacy group Cardinal Newman Society.

Robby Tantingco, director of the University’s Center for Kapampangan Studies, said Fr. Ruiz and Gomez are working together to make the University’s Oratory of the Sacred Relics the first affiliate of the OAD’s Chapel of the Holy Relics, as certified by a document to be sent from Rome. The arrangement will facilitate the acquisition of more relics and will make HAU the largest repository of relics in Luzon.

“Holy relics are better venerated in public instead of being kept at home for private devotion,” Gomez said. “We share HAU’s endeavor to make the relics reach more faithful and increase their devotion and ultimately their faith.”

The relics will be enshrined in a retablo done by Myrna Bituin’s JB Woodcraft of Betis. The oratory will be open to public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday. It will also be part of every tour to the Center for Kapampangan Studies and the University campus.

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