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Philippines CBCP mourns death of former bishops on the same day

Bishop Nereo Odchimar and Bishop Honesto “Onie” Pacana

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) mourns the deaths on Thursday, February 1, of two former bishops:  Nereo Odchimar and Honesto “Onie” Pacana, who have both served Mindanao in the southern Philippines, according to CBCP News.

The Diocese of Tandag announced the passing of its bishop emeritus, Nereo Odchimar, at age 83.  He led the Diocese of Tandag for about 17 years and served as president of the CBCP.

He had a long battle with diabetes and kidney complications and died at 10:27 a.m. at San Pedro Hospital in Davao City.  “He died of metabolic encephalopathy due to end-stage renal disease and diabetic nephropathy,” said the statement.

Odchimar was born in Bacuag town in Surigao del Norte province. He became a priest on December 19, 1964. After 37 years, the Catholic Church appointed him as the second bishop of Tandag on October 18, 2001.

He served the Diocese of Tandag with the utmost zeal and dedication, true to his episcopal motto, ‘Duc in Altum’ (Latin for “put out into the deep), said the diocese.

“He extended the work of evangelization by creating mission stations, devotional chapel, quasi-parishes and parishes, and conducting pastoral visits reaching the far-flung areas of the diocese,” it said.

He began implementing the financial management system of the diocese and also initiated the building of the new San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral.  He served the diocese for around 16 years until his retirement in 2018.

In addition to being the 18th CBCP president from 2009 to 2011, he also served as the chairman of its Episcopal Commission on Canon Law, according to CBCP news.

Another statement from the Diocese of Malaybalay, which Bishop Honesto “Onie” Pacana formerly shepherded, announced he died at 12:33 p.m., at the age of 91.

This is after he had been confined for a couple of days at the Maria Reyna Xavier University Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.

On June 10, 1965, Pacana became ordained as a Jesuit priest. On January 12, 1994, he was appointed bishop of Malaybalay and consecrated to the episcopate on March 4, 1994.  He served the diocese for nearly 16 years until his retirement in February 2010.

“He touched countless lives and inspired many with his wisdom, compassion, and devotion,” said the Diocese of Pacana.

In the CBCP, he served as the first chairperson of the Episcopal Commission on Culture, established in 1994. 

The diocese will soon announce details for the memorial services and interment schedules.

Odchimar and Pacana were the third and fourth Filipino bishops to die this year. On Jan. 2, Bishop Ronald Lunas of Pagadian died, and on Jan. 6, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of Davao died.  (MTV)


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