1st Filipino cardinal honored at Manila Cathedral

MANILA — In honor of the first Filipino cardinal, Rufino Santos, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Monday led the raising of Santos’ galero (red brimmed hat) on the ceiling of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, also known as Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.

Tagle received the galero from Santos’ relatives. It was then attached to a line and was pulled up until it reached the Cathedral’s ceiling.

Santos’ galero now hanging side by side with the Galero of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin that hangs there for the past 13 years.

Tagle, presided the Eucharistic Celebration after blessing Santos’ tomb at the crypt of the Cathredral to commemorate the latter’s 45th death anniversary.

In his homily, the head of the Archdiocese of Manila acknowledged Santos’ programs and efforts.

“The reconstruction after the war. Wow. This beautiful Cathedral, we owe to Cardinal Santos,” Tagle said.

“He knew it was not his talent. It was God’s. But what an enterprising steward Cardinal Santos was,” he added.

Santos was the first Filipino Cardinal, and the one responsible for the rebuilding of the Manila Cathedral in 1958.

A galero is a red hat decorated with tassels that was formerly given to cardinals as a symbol of the responsibility given to them in the hierarchy of the church. Red symbolizes a person’s readiness to shed his blood for the Gospel in imitation of Jesus Christ.

Although the use of the galero was abolished in 1969, the tradition of suspending a galero in the church to honor of a cardinal who passed away continued.

When Cardinal Jaime Sin died in 2005, a galero was acquired and has since been hanging from the dome of the Manila Cathedral.

“Now we will raise a galero in honor of the memory of Cardinal Santos in recognition of his tireless efforts in the reconstruction of the postwar church in Manila,” Manila Cathedral said in a statement.

“This is also a call for the Church at present to continue this legacy and mission of rebuilding lives, and of strengthening one another in faith and charity,” it added.

Santos served as Archbishop of Manila from 1953, when the country was still recovering from the horrors of war.

In the midst of the destruction brought about by the war, his leadership focused on rebuilding and fortifying structures to address the urgent needs of the Church in the Philippines during those crucial times.

He established Catholic charities, the predecessor of Caritas Manila, the social arm of the Catholic Church.

Santos also founded the Asian Social Institute. He built the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center, Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary, the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome, rebuilt St. Paul’s Hospital (now Cardinal Santos Medical Center), and perhaps the crowning glory of his projects, the rebuilding of the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros.

The celebration also recognized the families, groups, and institutions that contributed to the rebuilding efforts in 1958. PNA-northboundasia.com