Tuesday Jun, 18 2024 03:48:38 AM

Fr. Jose D. Ante, OMI - RIP (July 13, 1936-December 4, 2015)

 • 07:05 AM Sat Dec 5, 2015
1,902
By: 
Fr. Eliseo Jun Mercado, OMI
Fr. Jose D. Ante, OMI,(3rd from left) leading prayers at the OMI cemetery during burial of a confrere. (I-Watch Oblate MEDIA Center/Jorge V. Espinosa)

Fr. Jose Ante was born in July 13, 1936 to the late
Col. Bibiano Ante and Dolores Doroteo. During her ninth childbirth, Fr. Ante’s
mother almost died and the doctor recommended ligation, but, she answered back,
I might have a child who would become a priest.” And indeed, this came true!
One daughter even became a religious. However, Fr. Ante learned of this
anecdote only after his ordination on February 22, 1964.
sand//scontent-hkg3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/l/t1.0-9/12346389_10207758745037517_5399610979185153828_n.jpg?oh=e07d3567923c96ad675c6d40cdd84683andampoe=56D61E3F His priestly vocation was formed during his
elementary schooldays, by the kindness shown to him by the assistant parish
priest in Bicol (a Diocesan). The priest was very attentive to children even
during their Boy Scouts camping. But while in high school at the Notre Dame
Boy’s Department, Fr. Ante had a different ambition. When asked one day by Bro.
Peter Leonard, FMS about his plans, he answeredand I will join the Philippine
Military Academy then got married”. Thereupon Bro. Leonard further addedand And
then what? There’s more to life than being a military and having children”.
So, after high school, he decided to join the
Oblates. In 1960, after finishing his Philosophy with Fr. Orlando Quevedo (both
of them graduating at the top of their class) at San Jose Seminary, he
proceeded to Rome where he obtained his Licentiate in Sacred Theology. In 1969
he obtained his M.A. in Education from the University of Santo Tomas.
Fr. Ante’s assignment was as Dean of College of
Notre Dame of Jolo (1964) and later he became President of Notre Dame College
of Jolo until 1976. While in Jolo, he got involved in Consumers Cooperatives,
Credit Unions, Housing Cooperatives and various socio-economic and development
projects, training out-of-school youth in carpentry and refrigeration,
assisting Badjao fishermen to secure loans for bancas” and helping farmers
improve their agricultural techniques.

Then in January 1976, he succeeded Fr. John Murphy,
OMI, earning the distinction of being the First Filipino OMI Provincial
Superior. During his term (1976-1981), he organized socio-economic programs for
the development of Upi such as cooperatives and free education for children
through the Christian Children’s Fund. The CCF funds, generated by the U.S.
citizens who sponsor children for one year (for medicine and education),
supported over a thousand children. He likewise undertook the transfer of the
Provincial House from the university campus to its present site.
In 1982, Fr. Jose Ante, OMI became the third
President of Notre Dame University and he served as President of NDEA for six
years (1982-88). He also served as President of the Catholic Educational
Association of the Philippines, Board Member – PAASCU, and Board Member - Fund
for Assistance to Private Schools.Looking back at 75 years of Oblate missionary
presence in the Philippine Province, Fr. Ante remarked, The Oblates had so
much progress in terms of the faith of the people and improvement of their
living conditions. The Oblate did not limit themselves to the spiritual welfare
of the people but they included their material welfare. Evangelization meant
the total human development preaching the Gospel to the poor in all aspects of
life - poverty, hunger, lack of housing facilities, sickness, etc. Thus,
creating a tremendous impact on the places and people where the Oblates are
working”.
After serving for many years in the Vicariate of
Jolo as Social Action Director, he returned to Cotabato City for a reduced
ministry. This time he was put in charge of the OMI Archives in June 2015.
Fr. Ante was not well. He had to go for a weekly
dialysis because of chronic kidney ailment. The night before he died he
attended the habit taking of our five novices. Though appearing sober and
quiet, he nevertheless joined the celebration with the community at the OMI
Novitiate.
Early morning, the following day, he drove alone to
Davao and somewhere in Matanao, Davao del Sur along the Cotabato-Davao Highway,
the right front wheel of his car burst and it swerved to the left and hit an
incoming truck. He sustained head injury and he was pronounced dead on arrival
at the nearby hospital.Fr. Joe, you had served well in God's vineyard.
Farewell and Rest in the Lord! (ERM)

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