Fr. Reuter receives ‘Order of Lakandula’
() - May 21, 2006 - 12:00am
American Jesuit priest Fr. James Reuter, one of the Roman Catholic Church’s most prominent figures, and six other individuals were honored yesterday by President Arroyo.

Reuter, a playwright, teacher, journalist and spokesman of the Church, was conferred the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Bayani (hero) at Malacañang while six artists received the Presidential Medal of Merit.

Reuter and the six others — painters Anita Magsaysay Ho, Simplicia Laconico "Nena" Saguil, Romeo Tabuena, Fernando Zobel de Ayala and Juvenal Gerrit Sanso and violinist Oscar Yatco — were cited for their contributions to Filipino art and culture.

The Order of Lakandula is an order of political and civic merit awarded in memory of Lakandula’s dedication to the responsibilities of leadership, prudence, fortitude, courage and resolve in the service of one’s people.

The Presidential Medal of Merit is conferred upon those who have gained prestige for the country through international recognition in the fields of literature, arts, entertainments, sciences and other civilian fields of endeavor which foster national pride and artistic excellence.

It may be given to retiring cultural workers or artists who have served the government in an official or advisory capacity or to foreign artists who have promoted Philippine culture or for acts of merit that enhance the prestige of the country.

Fr. Reuter, a STAR columnist, came to Manila in 1938 at age 21 to teach and continue his studies in theology.

He spent his early years teaching at Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Naga, St. Paul University and other schools.

Reuter directed his first stage play in 1941 and wrote scripts for a popular Catholic radio program.

Imprisoned by the Japanese military during the war along with other foreign civilians, Reuter wrote songs and skits to keep up the morale of his fellow detainees.

He was ordained in 1946 in the United States and returned to the Philippines.

Reuter later became the Catholic Church’s "all-around media man."

He introduced Catholic programming to local television and helped set up Radio Veritas, the church-run radio station that would later play a key role in the downfall of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

He was arrested and tried by the government during the martial law years but was later released under conditional amnesty.

In 1989, Reuter received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s version of the Nobel Prize.

AMERICAN JESUIT ANITA MAGSAYSAY HO ATENEO AYALA AND JUVENAL GERRIT SANSO CATHOLIC CHURCH FERDINAND MARCOS FERNANDO ZOBEL JAMES REUTER ORDER OF LAKANDULA PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF MERIT REUTER
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