ANTE – DATING The Diocese
The diocesan clergy offers prayers for priests who served or were natives of Bataan before Balanga became a diocese. The natives were
FR. MARIANO SARILI, FR. VICENTE ALARCON, and FR. REYNALDO DEL ROSARIO. Fr. Sarili of Balanga died a long time ago while Fr. Del Rosario of Morong died of a vehicular accident in Alangan, Limay and Fr. Alarcon of Balanga who had served in several parishes in Bataan, spent his last few years when the diocese was newly-born. He died in 1976. Another priest who served in Hermosa was FR. PEDRO SALAMAT. He died of a vehicular accident in Orani.
PRIESTS OF THE DIOCESE
When the diocese was canonically erected, there were only 15 priests serving the faithful, and from these 15, 8 were of retirable age. It is not surprising then, that in the course of the years; the diocese already has a long obituary of priests. The following are the priests who have served the diocese, in the chronological order of their demise:
First to get his eternal reward was REV. FR. CONRADO QUIAMBAO, who died on March 23, 1977. He was from Victoria, Tarlac, where his remains are interred. His last assignment was at St. Catherine of Sienna Parish, Samal. He was followed by FR. DIEGO BUSCIO, an Italian of the order of Rogationist Heart of Jesus (RGJ), who died on March 10, 1978 in a vehicular accident at the intersection of Pilar-Morong and Roman Super Highway. One of only three members of said order; they were assigned in Parang, Bagac, to prepare the place for eventually becoming a parish as their first mission territory in the country. Fr. Buscio was not yet a year old in the priesthood when he met his untimely death. On account of said accident, the order transferred to the Archdiocese of Manila. Their mission is to pray for vocations and for priests.
Next to leave was Fr. Ricardo Montilla, who died on March 1, 1983. Officially retired from active ministry since 1979, he was recalled to active duty and assigned as administrator of the new Parish of St. Anthonine/St. Vincent Ferrer of Mabatang/Calaguiman. He was in said capacity when the good Lord called him to his rewards. He received the Papal Award ProEcclesia et Pontifice. A native of Norzagaray, Bulacan and a civil lawyer, he is resting at the Eternal Shrine Memorial Park in Balanga, besides its chapel. Two years later, on June 28, 1985, Fr. Joel Pineda died peacefully at their house in San Simon, Pampanga. His last parochial assignment was at the Parish of St. Peter Verona, Hermosa. He died of heart-related cause, a disease that runs in the family. More than a year later, Fr. Resurreccion Parica followed in the eternal journey on September 8, 1986, the birthday of Mama Mary. He hailed from Guimba, Nueva Ecija. His last parochial service was in the Chaplaincy of Our Lady of Fatima, in BEPZ, Mariveles. His remains rest at the diocesan plot at the Eternal Shrine of Balanga. On lover’s day, February 14, 1993, Msgr. Jose Marquez finally met his Divine Lover after years of retirement from active ministry and unstable memory. His last assignment was in the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Orion, where he stayed for long years. He used to call all young priests his “anak”. He died at the home of his nephew in Sta. Isabel, Malolos, Bulacan, his beloved town where his remains are interred. One of the young pioneers of the Diocese of Balanga, Msgr. Amado Morales died on May 16, 1994 after months of lingering illness. He had served in several parishes in Bataan and his last parochial post was the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Orion. A native of Apalit, Pampanga, he is buried at the family lot in the Catholic Cemetery of that parish. Msgr. Florentino Guiao enjoyed several years of retirement in his house along the Gapan-Olongapo road in Guagua, Pampanga, before he met his Maker on July 2, 1995. A native of “Ireland of the Philippines,” Betis, he served for many, many years as parish priest of St. John the Baptist in Dinalupihan, Bataan, where he founded the St. John Academy to give Catholic education to the youth of the town. He also served in Morong, Bataan, a long time ago, when travel was either by foot or by horseback. He is buried in his private chapel near his house. Then we have Msgr. Emiliano Santos. He served during the last World War as the first parish priest of St. Francis of Assisi, in Limay. His last parochial assignment was in the Parish of Our Lady of Holy Rosary in Orani. The devotion to the Our Lady of Orani was then rapidly spreading beyond the borders of the province, and it was during his long service (30 years) in that parish that Rome recognized the unusually widespread devotion to Our Lady that it deigned to have Her canonically crowned by Jaime Cardinal Sin. Upon reaching the mandatory age for retirement of 75 years, he enjoyed many more years in his home in Plaridel, Bulacan, before giving way to death on June 5, 1998. He is buried in the said parish. Another priest who faithfully served as parish priest in Balanga was Msgr. Jovencio Tantoco of Malolos, Bulacan. He died December 20, 1974, less than a year before the canonical erection of Balanga as a diocese.
Two other priests also served the diocese, but their exact dates of death are unknown. Relatives and friends may want to supply these date for permanent records of the diocese. The first was Fr. Esteban David. He served his last parochial duties in Our Lady of Pillar in Pilar, until his retirement in 1977, two years after our becoming a diocese. A native of Porac, Pampanga, he died in his home in Angeles City. Then we have Fr. Apolinario Mallari. His last assignment was the Parish of St. Nicholas of Tolentino in Mariveles, Bataan, before he left the diocese for USA in 1977. He distinguished himself in the charismatic movement in New Jersey, where Catholics even from other States sought him and his healing prayers. On one of his journeys home, he died in an airplane when it was not yet far from the airport. His remains were later brought home to Masantol Pampanga, his hometown, where he is interred. Last June 22, 2002, Fr. Robert Tayao of Bulacan died from a heart-related disease. He was in comatose for 3 days. He is interred at the Eternal Shrine Memorial Park in Balanga. His last parochial assignment was at the Our Lady of the Pillar Parish in Pilar. Just last November 16, 2004, Fr. Florencio Braga, a native of Sariaya, Quezon met Our Lord after months of a liver-related sickness. He was parish priest of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Orion.
PRAY FOR PRIESTS
While we all need to pray for our departed priests, let us also pray for priests who faithfully continue to serve us against all odds. Pray that they continue to be faithful to their sacred duties as co-pastors of the Good Shepherd. In other dioceses, they do have LOVE YOUR PRIESTS MOVEMENTS. Can we do the same? We can better appreciate our priests while still alive, not when they are already under ground.
Msgr. Rene Manansala