A Seed of Holiness
May Miasco (The Freeman) - September 30, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu may be on its way to having its very first saint in Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, who is now undergoing the process towards sainthood. The early stages of the process have already been accomplished. While it is yet a long way to go, many of those who knew the late Archbishop in life believe that Nyor Lolong, as they called him, deserves to be declared a saint.

Teofilo Camomot was born on March 3, 1914, in Carcar, a provincial town some 40.5 kilometers south of Cebu City. His parents were Luis Aleson Camomot and Angela Bastida. The parents being Roman Catholics, the boy was baptized into the faith right the following day at the St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in the town Poblacion.

When they got married, Luis was in his 30s, a widower whose wife with died in the early 1990s leaving him two young children. Two years after the death of his wife, Luis fell in love with Angela, a girl from the town of Talisay, who was in her 20s, and married her. The couple had eight children.

Luis owned farmlands in the hilly part of Carcar which, using plows driven by a carabao, he cultivated, planting it with rice and corn as well as a variety of vegetables and fruits. He was known for his generosity to his neighbors and anyone who would approach him for help. He was also a religious man, who never forgot going to St. Catherine de Alexandria Church where he was a “cantor” or singer in the parish choir.

The young Teofilo and his siblings were brought up in a devout Catholic home. Twice daily – at night and at dawn – the family would gather to pray the Rosary, before the statues of the Holy Family of Jesus, Joseph, and Mary and of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The kids were taught of daily observance of the Angelus and regular attendance at Mass.

Luis would always scold any of his kids who, instead of spending time in prayer, wandered around the neighborhood without valid reason. Like a shepherd, the father would gather his family at sundown for the Angelus, and for dinner together afterwards. Teofilo was not a picky eater; he’d gladly eat any food.

Teofilo was a quiet boy who’d speak only when he had something significant to say. At home, he washed the dishes, cooked food, cleaned the house, and ran errands for the family. And even at a young age, he already showed traces of love and concern for others, especially the needy.  Many times he’d come home asking his mother for some rice or food to give to the farmers.

Early on, Teofilo was already exposed to the sacraments, particularly the Holy Eucharist. He’d always join his father in church, despite being tired after doing the day’s chores. His constant visit to the town’s St. Catherine de Alexandria Church attracted him to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – the source and summit of Christian life. Young as he was then, Teofilo already had the seed of holiness in him.

Incidentally, the name Teofilo is from the Greek word “Theophilus,” meaning “lover of God” or “loved by God.” (FREEMAN)


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