Taytay (Fides Service) - Bishop Edgardo Sarabia Juanich, Apostolic Vicar of Taytay, has obtained a decree from the Holy See declaring Saint Benedetto Menni patron of voluntary workers all over the Vicariate: Taytay is the first ecclesiastical circumscription to obtain this recognition. Bishop Juanich wrote a petition to be circulated to parishes and parish councils and then he sent it to the Vatican. A decree issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and signed by the Prefect Cardinal Francis Arinze on 23 September 2003, grants the request and declares “Saint Benedetto Angelo Menni, priest, patron and mediator with God for voluntary workers”. Taytay Cathedral has as its main Patron St Joseph the Worker but Bishop Juanich decided to add statues of St John of God and Saint Benedetto Menni, bearing the respective inscriptions: Patron of the Sick and Patron of Volontary Workers. Taytay Vicariate covers half the northern part of Palawan, a large island marking the limit on the Asian side of the Philippines archipelago and it was called by Spanish travellers Paragua because on a map it appears in the shape of an enormous closed umbrella with its handle pointing north.
For some time the Philippines Bishops have proposed Benedetto Menni as “Universal Patron of voluntary workers” because he is a model for volunteers: “His exemplary caring for the wounded without discrimination inspired and will continue to inspire religious and laity called to a life of voluntary service” the Bishops wrote in a message. Cardinal Jaime Sin, then archbishop of Manila, supported Menni’s candidacy for universal patron of volunteers. “In his life we see divine inspiration and holiness which leads other to offer their lives to serve God and neighbour, especially the sick and the needy. We need a model to show us the fullness of consecrated life consists in total trusting in God for everything. And we see in Saint Benedetto the genuine qualities which all volunteers should possess”.
Saint Benedetto Menni was born in Milan 11 March 1841, to very religious parents. When he was 18 in 1859, he went as a volunteer to care for the wounded at the battle of Magenta (Italy’s war of independence). In May 1860 he joined the Order of St John of God Hospitaller Brothers. In 1866 he was ordained a priest and later appointed chaplain of his community. In 1881 he founded the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He died on 24 April 1914. In 1985 he was beatified and on 21 November 1999 Menni was canonised. (S.L.) (Fides Service 28/10/2003 – lines 30; words 447)