Wednesday, 26 August 2020 14:51

Archbishop Cruz succumbs to COVID-19

Archbishop Emeritus of Lingayen-Dagupan Oscar V. Cruz died on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City, at 6:45 am. He was 85.

According to the post of Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Archbishop Cruz succumbed to “multiple organ failure caused by critical Covid-19 infection”.

The remains of Archbishop Cruz was cremated immediately as part of the health protocols mandated by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Archbishop Villegas added and was brought to the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Dagupan City.

Archbishop Cruz was the third Filipino prelate to contract COVID-19, after Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, and Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iñiguez of the Diocese of Kalookan. Both Bishops have already recovered.

According to Archbishop Villegas, the faithful may pay their respects to the late archbishop on August 27, from 6 am until 8 pm.

He also added that Masses will also be celebrated by the diocesan and religious clergy of the archdiocese the whole day.

The funeral Mass of Archbishop Cruz will take place on Friday, August. 28 at 9 am at the Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan. He will be laid to rest at the Santuario de San Juan Evangelista.

Archbishop Villegas said that only the priests and bishops together with the archbishop’s family will be allowed to attend the funeral Mass in adherence to prevailing health protocols.

“We encourage the Catholic faithful to follow the liturgical rites on social media livestream,” he said.

Born in Balanga Bataan in 1934, Archbishop Cruz was ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Manila in 1962. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Manila with Jaime Cardinal Sin in 1976 and was named archbishop of San Fernando in 1978.

Archbishop Cruz who was known for his campaign against gambling particularly “jueteng”, served as archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan from 1991 until his retirement in 2009. He founded the Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng in 2004.

In 1991, he was appointed archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan for 18 years and served as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) from 1995-1999.

It was also during his term that the CBCP released important statements like the Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Economy in July 1998 and the Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics in September 1998.

He also wrote 54 books, including the CBCP Guidelines on Sexual Abuse and Misconduct: A Critique, and Call of the Laity.

When he retired at the age of 75, Archbishop Cruz remained as judicial vicar of the CBCP National Appellate Tribunal of Appeals and director of the Legal Office. 

On August 10 of this year, he suffered from pneumonia and it was then that his condition deteriorated. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)


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