I CELEBRATED my 77th birthday in Kalibo, Aklan, where I was once the town mayor, through the suggestion of my son Juan, Jr.
I was named by my parents after St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Kalibo, Aklan. Unknown to many, St. John is the patron saint of Kalibo, Aklan’s capital town and gateway to the world-famous Boracay island, although Kalibo is more popularly known for its Santo Nino Ati-atihan festival in January.
My family and I attended a solemn mass at the St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Kalibo. In his homily, Bishop Jose Corazon Talaoc, spoke of St. John as the only saint, apart from Mother Mary, whose birth is celebrated in the Christian liturgy and not on their death anniversaries just like the other Catholic saints.
Bishop Talaoc said that St. John was born to prepare the way of the Lord Jesus. He preached and heralded Christ’s coming. St. John preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near“ and “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths“ (Matthew 3:2-3). St. John prepared the people through baptism with water. St. John said “Indeed, I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who will come after me is more powerful than me. I am not worthy to carry his shoes. He will baptize you with the fire of the Holy Spirit“ (Matthew 3:11). St. John was a martyr. King Herod put him in prison because he reproached Herod for divorcing his wife and unlawfully taking Herodias, his brother’s wife and was later beheaded. As a media practitioner for more than six decades, I view Saint John as a patron of journalists who have spoken the truth even at a cause of great sacrifice.
Bishop Talaoc emphasized the importance of speaking the Christian truth. He also spoke of the importance of renewing our baptism through the sacrament of confession and the receiving the Eucharist. This month, we also celebrated the Sacred Heart of Jesus, fitting in the month of weddings. We also celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Josemaria Escriva, the patron saint of ordinary work on 26 June.
A special mass for St. Josemaria will be celebrated by Bishop Talaoc at the St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Kalibo on 28 June.
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