Bishops laud Pope declaration of Obviar as ‘venerable’

MANILA Catholic prelates on Friday lauded Pope Francis' issuance of a decree declaring Bishop Alfredo Obviar as "venerable, advancing the bishop's sainthood bid.

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said they welcome the declaration of the Holy Father as good news for the Diocese of Sorsogon.

It is a great news for us, especially our Diocese of Sorsogon because the Missionary Sisters of St. Therese (MCST), founded by Bishop Obviar, are our partners in the Ministry of Catechesis and Family and Human Life for many years, he said in an interview.

We all believe that Bishop Obviar is a holy man, who suffered in silence and whose religious foundation is blessed by God, the Sorgoson prelate added.

Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said Obviar is known to be devoted to his flock.

Bishop Obviar was noted for his love, dedication to his flock in serving them. He was a silent worker in the Church, he added.

On Thursday, Pope Francis issued the decree and recognized that Obviar, the first bishop of Lucena, lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way.

According to an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website, the announcement makes the bishop, who died in 1978 at the age of 89, two steps closer to sainthood.

The Pope would have to recognize a miracle attributed to the late bishop's intercession for him to be beatified. A second miracle would be needed for canonization.

The cause for sainthood of Obviar was introduced by the Lucena diocese. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints granted the Nihil Obstat (nothing hinders) to the diocesan inquiry of his life in 2001.

Few years later, the decree of validity was issued in 2007 marking the start of its Roman Phase. In 2014, the Positio was submitted and the review of Theologians was concluded early last year.

Obviar was born in Lipa, Batangas, and was ordained priest in 1919.

He founded the MCST, a religious congregation of nuns with missions across the Philippines and in some countries. In 1944, he was named as the first Auxiliary Bishop of Lipa.

Obviar was appointed as bishop of Lucena in 1969, which he served until his retirement in 1976. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency