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Jesuit slain in Mindanao moves closer to sainthood

Vatican approves validity of cause for Italian missionary Father Francesco Palliola

Joe Torres, Manila

Joe Torres, Manila

Published: December 17, 2018 05:13 AM GMT

Updated: December 17, 2018 05:16 AM GMT

Jesuit slain in Mindanao moves closer to sainthood

Bishop Severo Caermare of Dipolog leads the closing rites for the diocesan investigation into the cause of martyrdom of Jesuit missionary Francesco Palliola in September 2017. (Photo by Angie de Silva)

 

The bid to make a Jesuit killed in Mindanao in the 16th century a saint has moved a step closer with a Vatican declaration that the investigation into his cause for sainthood is valid.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the declaration on Oct. 26, but Dipolog Diocese only received the information last week.

"This is very welcome news and a Christmas gift to the faithful in our diocese," said Father Patrick Dalangin, the diocese spokesman.

The validity declaration gives permission to those behind the cause for sainthood to start drafting the position, or biography and official position documenting the life and works of the candidate for sainthood.

Father Dalangin said the Vatican declaration came less than a year after the diocese submitted the result of its inquiry into Jesuit priest Francesco Palliola's life to Rome in November 2017.

The cause of martyrdom of Father Palliola was opened in January 2016 and was formally closed in September 2017 by Bishop Severo Caermare of Dipolog.

Born into nobility, in Naples, Italy, on May 10, 1612, Father Palliola joined a Jesuit expedition to the Philippines.

Bishop Caermare said the Italian priest might have been Neapolitan, "but his love for God, his great passion for mission and caring for the people made him truly Mindanaoan."

Father Palliola mastered the local language and preached in it until he realized that the tribal Subanen people could hardly understand him.

He studied and learned the Subanen language, the first European and Jesuit to do so.

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A Subanen tribal leader killed the Italian Jesuit in the coastal village of Ponot in Zamboanga del Norte province on Jan. 29, 1648.

Although he died more than 350 years ago, the Jesuit priest is still remembered by the tribe in stories as a "loving and protective father."

His memory lingers in the province of Zamboanga del Norte in Mindanao with a street named after him in the town of Manukan.

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