147th Birthday of Dr. Jose Rizal Celebrated in Chicago

By Sir Felix O. Gonzales, KGOR
On June 19, the Office of the Consulate General and the Order of the Knights of Rizal, Central USA offered flowers at the foot of the Dr. Jose Rizal Monument in Chicago. The floral offering was headed by Consul General Blesila C. Cabrera and the consular staff and Sir Bonifacio Cenir, KGOR Area Commander for Central USA and the knights and ladies to honor and celebrate the birth of the Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal born on June 19, 1861. Con. Gen. Cabrera and Sir Boni Cenir, KGOR both emphasized on the ideals of the Dr. Jose Rizal to be our guide in teaching the youth for a better Philippines. Marge Appleton of the Ladies for Rizal gave a short word of felicitation on the birth of the national hero.

The evening’s affair started with the rededication of the Dr. Jose Rizal Landmark at the Dr. Jose Rizal Heritage Center on W. Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL. A floral offering was headed by the grandson of Gen. Paciano Mercado Rizal (brother of Dr. Jose Rizal) in the person of Mr. & Mrs. Edmundo Lopez followed by his family members, knights, ladies, guests and friends.

Another highlight of the evening’s affair was the renaming of the Dr. Jose Rizal room to General Paciano Mercado Rizal room. The ribbon was cut by Mr. & Mrs. Edmundo Lopez to dedicate the room in honor of General Paciano Mercado Rizal (Edmundo’s grandfather).

The room was likewise decorated with paintings, sketches and drawings entitled “Images of Rizal” by Filipino American Chicago based artists. The literary artists from Chicago were also given honor with the display of a script from a drama on Dr. Jose Rizal. Sir Felix O. Gonzales, KGOR assembled a scaled model of a pre-World War II destroyer DD 174 USS Rizal was donated to the Rizal Heritage Center Library/Rizaliana.

The evening’s program was opened by with a welcome remark by Sir Bonifacio Cenir, KGOR Area Commander for Central USA.

During the program, an excerpt from the Noli Me Tangere was presented through drama by the PINTIG/CIRCA. Elias and Ibarra, two freedom loving men from different class backgrounds, debate about revolution and sacrifice. Elias and Salome, childhood sweethearts and victims of colonial oppression, rekindle their love for one another one last time as they part. Both excerpts are adopted by Larry Leopoldo and directed by Louie Pascasio.

The newly initiated knights were presented to the public. These knights went through three days (weekends) of intensive training on the Order of the Knights of Rizal and the life of Dr. Jose Rizal. Their training was culminated by a written examination to test their knowledge on Dr. Rizal and the Knights of Rizal.

Mr. Edmundo Lopez responded with a brief statement of thanks in honoring his grandfather General Paciano Mercado Rizal including his entire family. The Lopez family donated a Philippine flag and a United States flag from the National Historical Institute of the Philippines. These flags are now on permanent display at the Rizal Historical Center Rizaliana/Library.

Vice Consul Roberto T. Bernardo of the Philippine Consulate General Office Chicago remarked, “Dr. Rizal did not only give face to the revolution but gave its personality. His writings gave the revolution its meaning and substance. Dr. Rizal is the revolution’s battle cry. And yet, Dr. Rizal never waived his conviction that something was wrong with his beloved country. He was years ahead in his outlook in the Philippines. The Spanish government could not stand the glare of public opinion as exposed by Rizal’s writings. I therefore thank God for Dr. Jose Rizal, a man learned, global in his vision, patriotic and at the same time a tuned to the awakening knowledge and progress of the world around him. He dreams the same as his fellow Filipinos. Let us honor him by keeping his ideals to heart.”

Consul Orontes V. Castro also gave a brief remark on Dr. Rizal. Consul Castro thanked the Lopez family and the Order of the Knights of Rizal in making this possible. Consul Orontes V. Castro and Vice Consul Roberto T. Bernardo were both conferred as Honorary Member of the Knights of Rizal, Chicago Chapter.

Sir Willi Red Buhay, KGOR gave the closing remarks where he envisioned the strengthening







One response to “147th Birthday of Dr. Jose Rizal Celebrated in Chicago”

  1. Ester Lopez Azurin Avatar
    Ester Lopez Azurin

    July 15, 2008

    Dear Everyone,

    In behalf of the Gen. Paciano Rizal Family we would like to thank the Rizal Center for the honour extended to us last June 19, 2008.

    Ester Lopez Azurin

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