By Kier Edison C. Belleza
Cebu City – The mausoleum of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, which houses the remains of the late Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, is temporarily open to the public.
Msgr. Ruben Labajo, team moderator of the mother parish, said the clergy have decided to open the crypt to give people a chance to visit the tomb of Vidal, in time for the two-day annual Christian tradition, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
“It is supposed to be a private place, only the families and relatives of the cardinals and bishops buried inside are allowed there. But because there have been several requests for us to open it, then we are giving in to those… Many have missed the cardinal,” Labajo said.
It will be open only during office hours or from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m up to Sunday (November 5) this week.
The structure was initially opened on Monday afternoon for the regular mass which was said by Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo. It was closed at around 7 p.m.
On Monday, November 6, the mausoleum will be again off limits to the public to give way to its completion.
Before Vidal succumbed to septic shock on October 18, a week after his confinement at the Perpetual Succor Hospital and after years of battling pneumonia, the old edifice was falling into disrepair with its walls and roof decaying.
This prompted church officials to carry out some improvements for what was then a dreary burial chamber to be refurbished.
Labajo, however, advised the public to refrain from bringing flowers and lighting candles at the late prelate’s final resting place.
On October 26, Vidal’s funeral cortege logged a crowd of mourners at 55,000.
Two days after, Vice President Leni Robredo paid homage to the Prince of the Church as she visited the mausoleum.
She was accompanied by Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and Labajo.
Earlier that day, she went into a waste-to-energy facility in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu and then graced a wedding at the Cebu Provincial Capitol, subsequently.
The Vice President was not able to pay her last respects during the Prince of the Church’s wake from October 18 until October 25.
She refused to grant interviews to reporters.
Her visit at the mausoleum, which is adjacent to the cathedral’s sacristy, lasted for about 20 minutes.
Early last week, President Rodrigo Duterte and former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Joseph Estrada dropped by the cathedral to pay homage to Vidal.
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