Remains of Fr. Isip coming to Cotabato

Burial on Saturday, Aug. 12

OMI Philippine Province • Tue Aug 8, 2017 11:44 PM  •  275   0
By Edwin O. Fernandez
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COTABATO CITY - The remains of Fr. Elino Montemayor Isip, OMI will arrive at the Awang airport at 4 p.m. Wednesday, the OBlates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) today announced.

Fr. Isip, more known as "Eling," died in his sleep at the Buldoc Home in Quezon City on Sunday morning, the Oblates sadly announced. 

He was 86 years old.

His remains will arrive at Wednesday afternoon via the Cebu Pacific flight.  The Oblate missionary will be brought to the Postulancy House in Barangay Tamontaka, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

Fr. Eling will be laid to rest at the OMI cemetery after the 8:30 a.m. funeral mass on Saturday (Aug. 12) at the Grotto Chapel.

Priesthood over lawyering

Celebrating his 60 years of religious life in 2015, Fr. Eling said his father really wanted him to become Atty. Isip when he was young.

But Eling chose to serve God and joined the Oblate seminary against his father's wish. When he returned home in Polomolok, South Cotabato wearing a Oblate soutana, his father's mode suddenly changed, welcoming his son who was already a "Man of God."

Fr. Isip was born on December 27, 1931, to Eugenio Isip and Alejandra Montemayor at Florida Blanca, Pampanga.   

In his youth, his family migrated to Polomolok, South Cotabato. He studied his high school at the Notre Dame of Lagao.   

When he was in fourth year high, the late Fr. Joe Quinn, OMI gave his class a retreat. One talk, “Serving God As A Priest,” impressed him very much.   He then felt called to the priesthood. 

Later, Fr. Bertrand Demers, OMI encouraged and guided him in his vocation.   

In 1952, Eling entered the Oblate Juniorate in Manila over the objections of his father, Fr. Eliseo "Jun" Mercado, OMI, said in an article posted at OMI website. Fr.

Mercado was Fr. Eling's assistant pastor in Tacurong City and Midsayap, North Cotabato.

After his Juniorate, he went to Mission, Texas for his novitiate year. When he came back as a scholastic wearing a soutana, his father sentiments changed, and he was very happy for his son.   

He spent his scholastic years at Our Lady of the Assumption Scholasticate at Project 8, Quezon City. He did his philosophical and theological studies at the nearby San Jose Seminary.   

At the end of his third year theology, he was ordained a priest on June 29, 1961 at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cotabato City.   

Fr. Isip’s ministry has always been in parishes. He spent nine years in Tacurong City, first as assistant then as parish priest from 1965 to 1974.   

After his long stint in Tacurong City, he was assigned pastor of Midsayap, North Cotabato for two years and then to Parang, Maguindanao until 1981.   

After serving in various parishes for 19 years, he went to the United States for a year of renewal. After his renewal, he was assigned to Kidapawan City and later to Upi, Maguindanao, then to Masiag, Sen. Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat in 1988 and Pikit. North Cotabato in 1993 as pastor.  

Availability, readiness to serve. 

His last pastoral assignment was in Datu Piang in 2006. From Datu Piang, he moved to the Postulancy as resident in 2008 until 2010 when he moved to the Bolduc Home in Quezon City.   

When asked to summarize his years as priest, he said: “Next to God’s grace, it is the awareness that I am needed by the people who have kept me on as a priest these years. But, then, that itself is God’s grace…!”   
The striking quality of Fr. Isip as a pastor was his availability and readiness to serve. In season and out season, he was truly a pastor to his parishioners.
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