Imposing ceremonies of the consecration of Mgr. Jorge Barlin Imperial, the first Filipino elevated to the episcopate in the Philippine Islands, will take place in the church of Santo Domingo, it being the expressed wish of Mgr. Barlin that the glorious ritual of the church should be performed there. There has been some surprise expressed in Filipino circles at the choice of the Santo Domingo Church for this purpose, the general desire being that the ceremonies should be held in the Cathedral that being the metropolitan church, while Santo Domingo is the church of the Dominican Order. Some Filipinos have gone so far as to threaten to absent themselves from the services unless they're performed in the Cathedral.
A representative of the Cablenews called upon the Dominican authorities to whose hands all the ceremonies have been entrusted and made inquiries as to the reason of the choice. He was informed that canon law gives to the person to be consecrated, the right to make the choice of the church in which the ceremony shall take place, so that should the new bishop have chosen the church of Ermita or that of San Miguel or any other, that would have been the place utilized. Thus there had been no favoritism demonstrated towards the Dominicans by anyone but Mgr. Barlin himself.
The day chosen for this notable event, is the feast of the great apostles of the church, Saints Peter and Paul. It is just 43 years ago since the bishop of the same diocese of Nueva Caceres, Mgr. Gainza was consecrated in the same church, and Mgr. Barlin was a pupil and dear friend of the prelate.
Mgr. Barlin's life's history is somewhat romantic. He was set aside for the ministry by his mother from youth and specially trained under the direction of the Bishop. His mother one day appeared before the gates of the residence of the bishop with her child in her arms ... and offered him to the bishop as an offering to the church... The bishop accepted her offering in the name of the Church and as soon as the little one had grown into years and was able to serve at the altar he learned the duties of the position and served as acolyte till able to take his first studies under his reverend master.
In his early years he was a weakling and enjoyed but indifferent health. On this account the superior of the seminary, at which he was sent to study, tried to induce his mother to remove him, saying that the course of the study would be too much for him and that the strict discipline would more than he could stand. But the mother insisted and with tears in her eyes begged them to admit him. When the bishop heard of the incident he called the mother and child into his presence and seeing the tears coursing down her cheeks said to her: "Do not cry, my good woman: your son has a vocation and I promise you that he shall become a priest, if he cannot stand the rigor of the discipline of the seminary I will have him with me, and I will take care of him and of his education."
The youth remained at the side of the bishop always. He received his teachings from him and formed his character from his, and has ever held him in great veneration. Bishop Gainza was a Dominican and hence it is that Mgr. Barlin has always had a predilection for that order.
Mgr. Barlin was born in Baao, Camarines Sur, April, 1850 and was ordained priest in 1874. He remained by the side of the bishop serving in the cathedral till the death of the prelate in Manila in July, 1879. The universally known and admired bishop expired in his arms at the convent of Sto. Domingo. P Barlin then returned to his pueblo where he remained as priest and in 1898 when the Spanish authorities abandoned the province during the Spanish-American war and came to Manila, The governor of the province handed over to Padre Barlin the command of the province. This he retained till the arrival of the American troops. In 1902, he was appointed by Leo XIII as a domestic prelate and in 1903 as apostolic administrator of the diocese of Nueva Caceres and finally in a secret consistory in the college of cardinals in Rome in December, 1905, he was chosen as bishop of the same diocese.
The ceremonies of consecration are among the most beautiful of the varied rituals of the Catholic Church. Two altars are provided in the church, one for the consecrating prelate and the other for the prelate to be consecrated. The former dressed in his pontifical robes takes his seat at the side of the altar and in front of him the bishop elect. The oldest of the assisting bishops then arises and says "Most reverend father, our holy Mother, the Church asks that you will deign to raise this priest to the dignity of the episcopacy." The consecrating bishop then calls for the papal bulls of appointment and they being produced are read aloud. There is then read the oath of obedience to the mandate of the church and her decisions. The litany of the saints is recited and the form of consecration carried out, and the consecrating bishop holding his hands over the newly appointed prelate says: "Receive thou the Holy Ghost."
The bishop elect is then anointed on the head and in the palms of the hand. He is presented with his crosier and pastoral ring, and a book of the four gospels. The Te Deum is solemnly intoned and the new bishop formally enthroned in the episcopal throne.
The well known San Juan del Monte orchestra of 40 pieces has been chosen to assist the choir and the organ accompaniment in the musical part of the program. On the entry of the bishop into the church the "Marcha de las Antorchas" by Meyerbeer will be played.
The consecration will be performed by the Papal Delegate, Mgr. Agius, assisted by the Archbishop of Manila, Mgr. J.J. Harty and bishops Rooker, Hendricks and Dougherty. Chief Justice Arellano will act as godfather of the new bishop. Yesterday being the eve of the consecration of Mgr. Barlin as bishop of Nueva Caceres, a large number of the clergy, native and Spanish, took a pleasure tour around the city on one of the new 12 bench electric cars. The Malate route was first covered and the party then started for Malabon after which the other lines were taken. Members of all the Orders were represented and a very pleasant time was spent.
The San Juan del Monte band was procured and all last evening till about midnight a continuos serenade was kept up in front of the Santo Tomas University where the prelate is staying.