Alfredo Obviar, the first bishop of Lucena, has just gotten a step closer to sainthood after Pope Francis declared him “venerable” on November 8.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “venerable” is “the title given to a deceased person recognized formally by the Pope as having lived heroic virtues.” It is the first step to sainthood, before a candidate is declared “blessed,” and then “saint.”
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Born in Lipa, Batangas in 1889, Obviar was ordained a priest at the age of 30. In the year 1944, he was named the first Auxiliary Bishop of Lipa. From there he served his post until he was appointed as bishop of Lucena in 1969. He retired in 1976, and died two years later.
But what serves as Obviar’s real legacy is his founding of the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese. It is a religious congregation of nuns that now has districts spread across the Philippines and in some countries.
If Obviar would make it through canonization, he would be the third saint from the Philippines after Lorenzo Ruiz, who was canonized in 1987; and Pedro Calungsod, who was canonized in 2012. For him to be declared saint, he must pass two more stages. The beatification stage, where he will be declared “blessed,” would only happen when evidence of intercessory powers in the form of a first miracle is found. The final stage, where the “blessed” is elevated to sainthood, would only happen when a second miracle is recognized and approved by the Pope.