• Melo Acuna

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz dies at 85 years old

COVID-19 claims Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz

MANILA – Vocal agrarian reform supporter and human rights campaigner Archbishop Oscar Valero Cruz passed away this morning at 6:45 while under confinement at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Medical Center in San Juan City where he was brought last week for difficulty of breathing.

In a statement, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas said Archbishop Cruz died of multi-organ failure caused by the critical COVID-19 infection.

“Following health protocols, his mortal remains will be cremated immediately,” Archbishop Villegas said in a statement.

Moreover, Archbishop Villegas said the cremated remains will be brought to the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Dagupan City and the Catholic faithful may pay their respects to the late archbishop tomorrow from 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.

Masses will be celebrated by the diocese and religious clergy of Lingayen-Dagupan the whole day of Thursday.

The funeral Mass will be held at 9:00 A.M. on Friday, August 28 at the Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral. His remains will be laid to rest at the Santuario de San Juan Evangelista immediately after the Mass.

Archbishop Villegas said in compliance with health protocols, only priests and bishops and the Archbishop’s family, will be in attendance at the funeral Mass. He called on th Catholic faithful to follow the liturgical rites on social media livestream.

Born on November 17,1934 in Balanga, Bataan, he was ordained to the priesthood in February 10,1962 and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Manila at age 41 on March 4,1976.

He was ordained to the episcopate at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral popularly known as Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila. He was later appointed Archbishop of San Fernando in Pampanga Province at age 43 on May 22,1978. He resigned on October 24,1988 but was appointed Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan in July 15,1991 at age 56. He retired on September 8,2009 when he was 74 years old.

Archbishop Cruz served President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines from December 1,1995 to November 30,1999 for two consecutive terms.

He has frequented public affairs programs, including Tapatan sa Aristocrat and attended television interviews on a variety of issues from Church doctrines, conduct of elections to social concerns. Among his favorite topics were the separation of the Church and State.

During his spare time while in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, he was into carpentry. He also tended to his garden at the Archbishop’s Residence at the cathedral compound. Another hobby he had was taking care of miniature trees popularly known as bonsai. He was an active blogger and was a well-read columnist at the CBCP Monitor.

He also wrote a number of books including the CBCP Guidelines on Sexual Abuse and Misconduct: A Critique and Call on the Laity. He was one of the conveners of the Krusadang Bayan Kontra sa Jueteng.

He was a respected Canon lawyer. He served at the National Tribunal of Appeals and Office of Dispensation and Dismissal where he worked as Judicial Vicar. (Melo M. Acuña)

Archbishop Oscar Valero Cruz at his office at the CBCP and while attending "Tapatan sa Aristocrat" on a variety of topics. (Melo Acuna photos)

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