Pope Francis mourns death of Archbishop Cruz

Pope Francis mourns death of Archbishop Cruz

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan blesses the coffin containing the cremated remains of Archbishop Oscar Cruz at the St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City on Aug. 28. PHOTO COURTESY OF SABINS STUDIO

By CBCP News

August 28, 2020

Dagupan City

Pope Francis said he was “saddened” to learn of Archbishop Oscar Cruz’s death and praised his “forthright witness to the Gospel”.

In a message read out at Cruz’s funeral in the Dagupan Cathedral on Friday, the pope sent the assurance of his prayers to the archbishop’s family and to all who mourn his loss.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the pontiff also imparted his blessing “as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Risen Lord”.

Cruz, the emeritus of the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese, succumbed to complications from the coronavirus disease on Aug. 26.

The former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines died at 85 while he was confined at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.

His remains were cremated immediately in accordance with the government’s health protocols.

In his homily during the funeral service, Archbishop Socrates Villegas reflected on the life of his predecessor, “who taught us the path of justice and righteousness”.

“He sought justice on behalf of suffering spouses in problematic marriages. He defended the Church from the filth of clerical misconduct. He taught without relent. He taught us without trepidation. He taught us until the end,” Villegas said.

“He was a pastor of contagious courage, not the courage of subversives and rebels, but the silent courage of the beloved disciple beneath the cross who never fled from danger and who was never cowed by risks.”

“Let your memory teach us justice and righteousness. Let your memory teach us holy anger and holy courage,” he added.

Due to the pandemic, attendance at the Mass was limited to close relatives, the clergy and the religious.

After the Mass, Cruz was laid to rest at the Sanctuario de San Juan Evangelista, located beside the cathedral.

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