Cabangon donates San Lorenzo Ruiz Statue to Knights of Columbus

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The Knights of Columbus St. Lorenzo Ruiz Council No. 7344 of the Binondo Chinese Parish of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary celebrated their 45th anniversary at the Citystate Tower Hotel in Ermita, Manila, on May 18, 2024.

The event was honored by the presence of His Eminence Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, DD, who led the celebration of the Holy Mass.

The program began with a remarks by Grand Knight Henry S. Go, expressing gratitude to all attendees. He reflected on the theme “Building a Legacy of Faith, Unity, and Service,” highlighting the enduring values upheld by the Knights of Columbus.

D. Edgard A. Cabangon, Chairman of the ALC Group of Companies, presented a 3-foot statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz. The council, led by Grand Knight Henry S. Go, graciously accepted the statue, noting that Grand Knight Go is also a fellow Rotarian of Cabangon in the Rotary Club of Manila, the oldest Rotary Club in Asia.

In his address, Cabangon reflected on the life and martyrdom of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint, whose faith and dedication to the Catholic Church serve as an inspiration to all, especially to the Knights of Columbus. He highlighted Ruiz’s fearless stand for his beliefs, aligning with the Knights’ mission to boldly live out their faith.

Cabangon shared a personal anecdote, intertwining the Cabangon family’s journey with San Lorenzo Ruiz’s path to sainthood. In 1980, Pope John Paul II beatified Lorenzo Ruiz in Manila, an event that deeply impacted his father, Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua. “My dad regarded the beatification day as the first true spiritual experience of his life, one of the greatest events he had ever attended,” Cabangon shared.

Inspired by this event, Ambassador Cabangon Chua committed to promoting the canonization of San Lorenzo Ruiz. “My father was tasked by Cardinal Sin with promoting its goals, including spreading knowledge and devotion to Beato Lorenzo Ruiz for his canonization. Realizing there was no image of Beato Lorenzo, my father commissioned a statue, believing a Filipino hero deserved a tribute by a Filipino artist.”

Ambassador Cabangon Chua commissioned a statue by Filipino artist Florante “Boy” Caedo. The statue, standing 23 feet high on a seven-foot pedestal, was unveiled and blessed by His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin on September 26, 1981, at Eternal Gardens in Baesa, Caloocan, Philippines. This statue, along with smaller versions commissioned by Ambassador Cabangon Chua, has been instrumental in spreading knowledge and devotion to San Lorenzo Ruiz.

“My father actively promoted the adoration of the first Filipino Saint by commissioning smaller versions of this statue for donation to churches, offices, and friends. Cardinal Sin received a hundred statues of Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz. One of these statues found its permanent home at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, where it was enshrined on October 25, 2023, marking another significant moment for Filipino Catholics.”

Cabangon encouraged attendees to embrace the mission of the Knights of Columbus and to contribute, in their own way, to spreading God’s teachings and supporting the Church. He emphasized that each person, through small gestures or significant actions, can play a part in furthering the mission of the Knights of Columbus and honoring the legacy of San Lorenzo Ruiz.

Undersecretary Margaux Salcedo of the Department of Budget and Management, who is also the Editor-in-Chief of Dominus Est, also addressed the event, emphasizing the transformative power of faith. “Faith, as you may know, must be the root of our existence. It is only when we are rooted in faith, that we can grow and blossom and bear fruits that are proof of God’s glory. It is only when we are anchored in faith that we can find inner strength and even inner peace amidst life’s most turbulent storms. And it is also only when we are rooted in faith that our service—even as lay persons—begins to have any meaning,” Usec. Salcedo shared. 

While Ramoncito A. Ocampo, Past Luzon South State Deputy Emeritus, shared that the chapter is close to his heart, noting that both their chapters bear the name of St. Lorenzo Ruiz. He praised the chapter’s steadfast dedication to its initiatives and activities, such as organizing monthly free medical and dental missions, contributing to charitable causes, and participating in tree planting efforts. Ocampo urged the chapter’s members to persist in their endeavors, emphasizing the importance of their ongoing contributions.

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