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Philippines: Cebu City government honours priest for his contribution to society

Msgr. Rodolfo Villanueva receives the Order of Rajah Humabon (center) (Photo by Archdiocese of Cebu)

A provincial government in Central Philippines on June 12 honored a Catholic priest for his contribution to music and literature. 

The City Government of Cebu, through the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission and the Cultural and Historical Affairs Office, conferred the Order of Rajah Humabon on Msgr. Rodolfo Villanueva (Musician, Literary Genius, and Cebuano par excellence). 

Present during the conferment ceremonies at San Carlos Seminary College - Calungsod Hall were: Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma, Hon. Michael “Mike” Rama (City Mayor), Hon. Donaldo “Dondon” Hontiveros (City Vice-Mayor and Chairperson of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission), Archbishop  Osvaldo Padilla (Apostolic Nuncio-Emeritus), Auxiliary Bishop-Emeritus  Antonio Rañola,  Msgr. Ruben Labajo (Vicar General), and other visiting Monsignori and priests. 

Established in 1994, the Order of Rajah Humabon is the highest award that the City Government of Cebu could give to an individual, regardless of nationality, who has done great acts of impeccable impact on the general citizenry of the city.

The 82-year-old Msgr. Villanueva (known as the writer Renato E. Madrid ) is a priest of the Archdiocese of Cebu. He is more famous in the Visayas and Mindanao as a composer of liturgical music and a writer of plays both in English and Cebuano. 

His higher studies led to a Master's in English at the University of Sto. Tomas, Manila as well as a Master's in Music at the State University in Moscato, Minnesota, apart from his Philosophy and Theology at the San Carlos Seminary in Cebu. 

Apart from his famous liturgical works which include choral compositions, masses, musical drama and a three-movement piece for pipe organ, his published literary works include Devil Wings (1997); Mass for the Death of an Enemy (2000); and Southern Harvest (1996). 

His awards include numerous Palancas and a National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle. 

He was a long-time resident professor of Music and English at San Carlos Seminary College. He taught at the Silliman University School of Music, the University of San Carlos Graduate School, and is a lifetime visiting faculty at the Dipolog and Dumaguete Seminaries, Philippines. 


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