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Cardinal’s smile a legacy Cebu will not forget

Faithful say a find farewell to a beloved Philippines prelate

Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal
  • Joe Torres and ucanews.com reporter, Cebu City
  • Philippines
  • January 12, 2011
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There are a lot of things people in the province of Cebu will remember about outgoing Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, but the prelate’s smile is a legacy that will never fade in the hearts and minds of the faithful, people in the archdiocese say.

"The people of Cebu will remember the cardinal’s smile," said Father Expedito Torrevillas, the prelate’s master of ceremonies and one of his secretaries. "We will never forget his role as a father to all of us," the priest told ucanews.com.

Cardinal Vidal spent his last day as archbishop of Cebu yesterday doing the rounds of parishes and saying farewell Masses attended by the province’s civil and religious leaders.

"He is not only a father, he is also a friend, especially to his priests," said Father Torrevillas who has been working closely with the prelate in the past two years. He said Cardinal Vidal is "very visible" to the people of Cebu and his actions "speak a lot."

Father Torrevillas said the cardinal shares similarities with the late Pope John Paul II.

"People don’t have to listen to him. He just smiles and the faithful gets the message. (He) is very charismatic and has a very good sense of humor," the priest said.

Cardinal Vidal left his official residence last week and moved to the village of Banilad. He left most of his personal belongings, including books, notebooks and vestments, to the Archdiocesan Commission on Cultural Heritage.

"It is a first for an archbishop of Cebu to leave his personal things. He wants them to be part of Cebu," said anthropologist Jojo Bersales, a member of the Church’s heritage commission.

Among the things the cardinal, who served Cebu for 29 years, donated to the archdiocese’s museum include a Lladro porcelain collection, expensive religious figurines, old cassocks that have delicate embroidery and the vestments he used during the conclave in Rome.

He also donated the silver pectoral cross given to him by the late Pope John Paul II, a personal letter from Mother Teresa, and awards and medals from the government and various organizations.

An exhibit of the cardinal’s personal things will open at the museum on his 80th birthday next month.

"It is just proper that his things are here. He established the museum. The memorabilia is a salute to a life well-lived," said Louella Alix, a member of the heritage commission.

Cardinal Vidal will be succeeded by Palo Archbishop Jose Palma who will be installed prelate of Cebu tomorrow.

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