CEBU Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal already knew where his mortal remains would be laid to rest.
Aside from being the seat of the archdiocese, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is also the final resting place for deceased prelates.
Located behind the church’s sacristy is a mausoleum that houses the remains of a cardinal, some bishops and priests.
Msgr. Ruben Labajo, team moderator of the Cathedral, said the place is being renovated for the burial of Vidal on Thursday, October 26.
“We’re doing our best to finish the repair works in time for Cardinal Vidal’s burial,” he told Cebu Daily News.
Vidal, he said, will be buried on the ground, particularly on the right side of his predecessor, the late archbishop of Cebu, Julio Cardinal Rosales.
Also buried in the mausoleum are Bishop Manuel Salvador, who was born in Dalaguete and was coadjutor bishop of Cebu; Bishop Sincero Barcenilla Lucero, who was born in Carcar City and whose last assignment was as bishop of the Calbayog diocese.
The remains of Archbishop Mariano Gaviola, who was the archbishop emeritus of Lipa City in Batangas, and Archbishop Lino Gonzaga, whose last assignment was at the Archdiocese of Zamboanga are also at the mausoleum.
Before entering the mausoleum’s main entrance, people must pass through a narrow entranceway located beside the Cathedral.
Upon entry, around 50 small niches can be found at the right and left portions of the room.
These tombs, most of which are empty, are intended for members of the clergy.
A passageway at the center of the mausoleum leads to another area where bishops are buried.
There is a small altar table at the mausoleum with a crucifix behind it. On Mondays, Mass is held there.
Right in front of the altar is the tomb of Cardinal Rosales, the second archbishop of Cebu, who died on June 2, 1983.
Three tombs of bishops are situated at the right portion of the mausoleum. These are the tombs of Archbishop Mariano Gaviola, Archbishop Manuel Salvador and Bishop Lucero.
The remains of the three bishops are placed inside individual marble slabs bearing their respective names.
At the left portion of the mausoleum is the tomb of Juan Gorordo, who served as bishop of Cebu until 1934.
The statue of the Santo Entierro or the dead Jesus Christ, inside a glass casing is at the side of the altar. This is used during processions on Good Friday.
A stained glass window depicting the resurrection of Jesus can be found at the left wall of the altar while another window portrays the “pieta” or the Blessed Virgin Mary holding her dead son Jesus on her lap.
Two other stained glass windows — one depicting Jesus being laid in his tomb and the other showing Our Lady of Mount Carmel — are located near the entrance of the bishops’ tomb.
“There will be some repainting works, and we have to repair the ceiling to avoid leaks. By Thursday, the mausoleum will be ready,” Labajo said.