The remains of the late Archbishop Teofilo Camomot are set to be exhumed today to determine his physical features as part of his cause for sainthood.
Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili, the vice postulator of the cause of sainthood of the late Cebuano prelate, said they need to exhume Camomot’s remains and transfer it to Domus Teofilo (House of Teofilo), a museum that houses the personal belongings and writings of the archbishop.
“We want to put his remains in a bigger space considering the number of people who visit Archbishop Camomot,” he explained.
Balili said the Daughters of St. Therese (DST) compound in Barangay Valladolid in Carcar City, where Camomot was buried, has been closed to the public for the private proceedings which will start with a Mass at 9 a.m.
This is not the first time that the remains of the late archbishop are exhumed.
In 2009, Camomot’s body was exhumed from the public cemetery in Carcar City. It was transferred to the compound of the DST, a congregation that he founded.
A team of forensic experts from Manila led by Dr. Erwin Efre arrived on Tuesday evening to facilitate the exhumation process.
“We want to determine the state of his body and hear the assessment of the forensic experts,” Balili told Cebu Daily News.
Fr. Samson Silloriquez, the Rome-based postulator for Camomot’s cause for sainthood, will also be present during the examination and exhumation of the archbishop’s body.
The process is expected to last for eight hours. It will determine details about Camomot such as his height and other features.
“His remains include bones and some tissues. A sponge-like part of his heart and lungs are still there,” Balili said.
Camomot’s remains will be used as relics preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial in case he will be declared a saint in the future.
The remains of Camomot will be transferred to Domus Teofilo, which is located about a hundred meters from the existing tomb of Camomot.
Only Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, some priests, the DST sisters and relatives of Camomot are allowed to witness the examination of the late archbishop’s body.
The public will be allowed to view Camomot’s remains from 5 p.m. on Wednesday to 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Palma will preside over the 4 p.m. Mass at Domus Teofilo on Thursday before Camomot’s remains will be interred in his new tomb.
Since the tomb is only covered by a glass on its top, the casket will be seen by anyone who will visit the museum.
Balili called on the public to maintain an orderly and peaceful viewing of Camomot’s remains.
He said taking of photographs is discouraged.
“Just pray there,” Balili said.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the diocesan process for the cause of sainthood of Camomot last November 2017.
Camomot was known for his extreme generosity and love for the poor.
The diocesan process includes gathering of documents and writings of Camomot and testimonies of witnesses, who had personal encounters with the archbishop.
The next part would be the preparation of the Positio which would summarize the life and virtues of Camomot.
Balili said the Positio includes the biography of Camomot, the testimonies of witnesses and explanation why the late archbishop should be declared a saint of the Catholic Church.
When the Positio is finished, it will be submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. It will be studied by theologians and then passed to the cardinal members of the congregation who in turn will vote.
Their votes will determines whether the cause will continue or end. If the vote is affirmative, the recommendation of a Decree of Heroic Virtues is sent to the Pope.
Camomot will be called “venerable” once the candidate’s heroic virtues have been recognized by the Pope.
“From there, we wait for one miracle so that he will become a blessed. And once he becomes a blessed, we will wait for another miracle to become a saint,” Balili said.
Camomot, fondly known as Monsignor Lolong, was known for his exceptional love for the poor.
The Carcar City native pawned his episcopal ring and pectoral cross (the large crucifix worn by bishops) and gave the proceeds to the poor.
The archbishop would also give away whatever he had to the needy.
Camomot died in a vehicular accident in San Fernando town on Sept. 27, 1988.
He was 74.
The Archdiocese of Cebu ruled that the heroic virtues demonstrated by Archbishop Camomot are worthy of sainthood.
If his cause for sainthood will be approved by the Pope, Camomot will become the Philippines’ third saint next to San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila and San Pedro Calungsod.