UCA News

Elation over move to canonize Filipino catechist

Laureana Franco left a well-paying job in the 1960s to become a volunteer catechist
Laureana Franco.

Laureana Franco. (Photo: pintakasiph.wordpress.com)

Published: February 29, 2024 03:04 AM GMT
Updated: February 29, 2024 06:03 AM GMT

Filipino Catholics have hailed a Church move seeking sainthood for a laywoman who quit her job to become a volunteer catechist to serve people.

In a circular posted on its official Facebook page, Pasig diocese announced on Feb. 24 that it has started the sainthood process for Laureana "Ka Luring" Franco who died from cancer at the age of 75 in 2011.

“With this circular letter, I invite all the People of God in the Diocese of Pasig to participate in the tedious process of bringing to light the life and heroic virtues of a legendary catechist to sainthood,” said Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara in a directive dated Feb. 22.

An edict for the cause was also posted along with the announcement on the Facebook page, Radio Veritas Asia reported on Feb. 27.

"The publication of the edict, herewith attached, marks the beginning of the process required by the Dicastery for the Causes of the Saints," the bishop said. 

The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of the Saints is tasked with evaluating candidates for sainthood in the Catholic Church.

Bishop Vergara said Franco deserves the honor for her dedicated service to the Church.

“Ka Luring never tired of serving the parish, especially the poor. She did this not in an extraordinary way but in simple ways, such as teaching faith to children,” Vergara told UCA News.

One becomes like Jesus by teaching about Jesus to others, he said. “This is how holiness is reflected in her life.”

Jomar De Dios, 81, Franco’s fellow church worker hailed her services to people. 

“When she found a student who was diligent and struggling to pay their tuition because the family had financial difficulties, she took that student under her wings. She paid the student’s fees and tuition,” De Dios told UCA News.

De Dios and Franco taught catechism for more than 10 years in the same diocese in Pasig City, in  Manila. He said Franco inspired them to propagate the faith through educating the young.

One of Franco’s students remembered how she helped her pass an exam to become a teacher.

“I was one of the scholars of Ka Luring. At that time, there were 12 of us and she sent us all to school. Even before giving us our weekly allowance, we would join her in her catechism classes. She was a very passionate teacher of the Bible,” Jammie Trias, 34, told UCA News.

Franco’s nephew, Kristian Franco, 41, said the family did not know how to react when Pasig Diocese announced his aunt was a candidate for sainthood.

“We honestly did not expect all of this that people would be asking us about her. For us, she was just an ordinary woman who chose her vocation to be a catechist. It was only later on we realized the things that she left for teaching,” said he told UCA News.

Born in 1936, Franco worked as a telephone switchboard operator and an accounting clerk in the Philippine Air Force. She quit her job opting to work as a volunteer catechist in St. Anne parish in Taguig, a southeastern Manila suburb.

She attended a training course in catechism before becoming a full-time catechist.

“They thought I was crazy to give up a well-paying and secure job back in the ‘60s and spend all my separation pay to enroll in a catechist’s training course,” she told UCA News in an interview in 1995.

“They couldn’t understand it when I explained I was happiest teaching catechism to children.”

Franco was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, the highest papal honor for laypeople and clergy, in 1990 for her exemplary service as a lay catechist.

In 2002, she received the Mother Teresa Award for her work for poor and marginalized people.

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