Friday, 25 January 2019 15:34

Heart of St. Camillus journeys to the Philippines anew


Filipino Catholics and devotees will have another chance to honor and venerate the heart relic of St. Camillus de Lellis, patron saint of the sick, doctors, nurses and other health workers, as it will be in the country from February 2 to March 31, 2019.

The heart relic of the Founder of the New School of Charity and the Ministers of the Infirm, also known as the Camillians, first visited the country in 2013 when it stayed for almost a month from February 18 to March 10.

The sacred relic will arrive on Feb. 2 at NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City and will proceed via a motorcade to Our Lady of La Paz Parish in Makati City where it will stay until Feb. 4. It will then journey across the country’s various parishes and several hospitals. The complete schedule and itinerary of the relic’s visit are available via the social media channel and website of the Camillians.

The Camillians are known for their dedication and commitment in serving and taking care of the sick particularly the poor. Likewise, they also care for the welfare of their partners and collaborators particularly healthcare workers and providers. The Camillians are active in ministries like hospitals and hospital chaplaincy, parishes, pastoral centers, homes for the aged, lepers, community-based health and rehabilitation centers, HIV/AIDS centers, and other healthcare centers or where the sick are present.

“The visit of St. Camillus’ heart relic provides a perfect opportunity for all of us to give importance to the humanization of health care in the country, to place our sick brothers and sisters at the center of care and not leave them on the margins, and for all healthcare providers and carers of the sick to renew their dedication and commitment in loving and serving the sick,” said Fr. Dan Vicente Cancino Jr., MI, Chairman of the Journey of the Heart 2.0.

St. Camillus himself in his lifetime had an experience being sick as he had a sore in his leg that would not heal, and spent a lot of time in hospitals where he also later on served as a caregiver. The experience made him realize that God called him to serve the sick.  It also led him to establish a religious congregation dedicated solely to care for the sick—the Ministers of the Sick, popularly known today as the Camillians.

Cancino shares, “Like St. Camillus, we are encouraged to put our hearts into the care and service we provide to the sick, akin to caring and serving Christ Himself. And in doing so, the sick will feel the presence of God, through us.” 

St. Camillus’ heart was taken an hour after his death on July 14, 1614, and the relic is enshrined at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Rome, Italy, where he was buried. The relic of the heart of St. Camillus is contained in a crystal glass in the shape of a heart. The crystal glass measures 11 cm (height), 10 cm (width) and 7 cm (depth) (tridimensional view).  

“St. Camillus’ heart relic really has such spiritual symbolism. The most common being that the heart is the universal symbol of love. And even his last breath, St. Camillus’ heart was in the service of the sick. For him, to serve the sick is to serve Christ Himself,” cited Fr. Dan. 

The reliquary that holds the crystal glass evokes an old, classical style temple. Four Doric pillars are the base and support the dome on top of which stands the Cross, symbol of the Order of St. Camillus. In the inner part of the temple-like, two angels support the crystal glass with elegance and gentleness, leaning forward as if presenting the Relic to the faithful.

The “new school of charity” that St. Camillus established has been touching the hearts of people and loving the sick in 42 countries all over the world, including the Philippines. Camillian presence in the Philippines started in 1974 and the Philippine Province of the Camillian Order was formally established on July 1, 2003.

Presently, they exercise their ministry in Luzon (Quezon City, Makati, Marikina, Pasig, Antipolo and Baguio City), in the Visayas (Calbayog and Balugo, Dumanguete), and in Mindanao (Davao City and Mati, Davao, Oriental).

For more information, visit the official Facebook page of the Camillians at (Camillians / RCAM-AOC)

Schedule of the Visit of the Heart Relic



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