Two retired Mindanaoan Roman Catholic bishops die hours apart on Feb. 1

Rommel F. Lopez - Philstar.com
Two retired Mindanaoan Roman Catholic bishops die hours apart on Feb. 1
Combination photo shows Bishop Honesto Pacana (L) and Bishop Nereo Odchimar (R).
Facebook / Diocese of Malaybalay and Diocese of Tandag

Two retired Roman Catholic bishops of Mindanao dioceses passed away hours apart on Tuesday.

Bishop Nereo Odchimar, the former president of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), died at the age of 83, the Diocese of Tandag, which he was the former bishop, announced via a Faceboook post.

“The Diocese of Tandag mourns the death of His Excellency Most Rev. Nereo P. Odchimar, D.D, Bishop-Emeritus of Tandag,” the Facebook post of the diocese read.

The Tandag diocese said the bishop died at 10:27 a.m. at San Pedro Hospital in Davao City. Odchimar had been suffering from diabetes and kidney complications. The immediate cause of death was “metabolic encephalopathy due to end-stage renal disease and diabetic nephropathy”.

Meanwhile, Bishop Honesto Pacana, the retired Jesuit bishop of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, died at the age of 91 at 12:33 p.m.

His death was announced by the official Facebook page of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines and by the Diocese of Malaybalay.

“This is to inform you that Bishop Honesto C. Pacana SJ, Bishop Emeritus of Malaybalay, died shortly after noon today, at Maria Reyna - Xavier University Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City. He was 91,” the announcement read.

Pacana’s former diocese, the Diocese of Malaybalay, said the bishop-emeritus was admitted for days at the intensive care unit of the Maria Reyna Xavier University Hospital, in Cagayan de Oro City.  No cause of death was revealed.

Bishop Odchimar was born on Oct. 16, 1940, in Bacuag, Surigao del Norte. He finished his Philosophy studies at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo, Leyte, and his Bachelor of Sacred Theology at the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City. He was ordained priest on Dec. 19, 1964.

After his ordination, he served the Diocese of Surigao from 1965 to 1977, in the parishes of San Agustin, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur; San Nicolas de Tolentino in Mainit and Sts. Peter and Paul in Tubud, Surigao del Norte; and St. Vincent de Paul in Mangagoy, Bislig, Surigao del Sur.

He pursued advanced studies at the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary, where he received his Canon Law degree, magna cum laude in 1982 and his Doctorate in Canon Law, magna cum laude in 1983. He also finished his Master of Business Administration at the De La Salle University in Manila.

He also served at the Archdiocese of Manila, in the parishes of Sto. Niño in Tondo, Most Holy Redeemer in Masambong, San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City, and San Roque Parish, Alabang, Muntinlupa. He was also a member of the archdiocese’s board of consultors.

He was parish priest of the Most Holy Redeemer parish in Quezon City, and Associate judge of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal and Judicial Vicar of the Metropolitan Matrimonial Tribunal of Cagayan de Oro when Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of the Diocese of Tandag on Oct. 18, 2001.

He was consecrated bishop of Tandag on Nov. 27, 2001 by then-Manila archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin at the Manila Cathedral with Bishops Socrates Villegas, then-auxiliary Bishop of Manila and Bishop Ireneo Amantillo, C.SS.R, bishop-emeritus of Tandag, as co-consecrators. He took possession of the diocese on Dec. 11, 2001. 

While serving as bishop of Tandag, Odchimar was elected the 18th President of the CBCP serving from 2009-2011. He served Tandag until his retirement at the age of 77 on Feb. 26, 2018.

According to the Tandag diocese, Odchimar served the diocese “with outmost zeal and dedication” by upholding the diocesan stand “in protecting the integrity of environment against illegal logging and mining.” The late bishop created “mission stations, devotional chapels, quasi-parishes and parishes, and conducting pastoral visits reaching the far-flung areas of the diocese”. 

“He commenced to put in place the financial management system of the diocese and also initiated to build the new San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral,” the diocese said. 

On the other hand, Bishop Pacana was born on Jan. 22, 1933 in Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro City. He was ordained a priest of the Society of Jesus on June 10, 1965. Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Malaybalay on Jan. 12, 1994.

He was consecrated bishop on March 24, 1994 at the San Isidro Cathedral by then-Papal nuncio Gian Vincenzo Moreni as principal consecrator with Archbishops Jesus Tuquib of Cagayan de Oro and Gaudencio Rosales of Lipa, as co-consecrators. He served Malaybalay as its third bishop from 1994 until his retirement in 2010 at the age of 77. 

The Diocese of Malaybalay said in a statement that Pacana “served our diocese with unwavering dedication”. 

“During his term, he touched countless lives and inspired many with his wisdom, compassion, and devotion. As we mourn his loss, let us remember and celebrate the profound impact he had on our faith community,” the diocese said.

Funeral arrangements for the two late prelates are to be announced soon according to their dioceses.

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