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Oblates to bury Fr. Romeo Villanueva, OMI

 • 05:50 AM Thu May 5, 2016
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By: 
Edwin O. Fernandez
Goodbye Fr. Villy

COTABATO CITY - Fr. Romeo Villanueva of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) who passed away last Friday due to pancreatic cancer will be buried tomorrow, Thursday at the OMI cemetery inside the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto.Jolo Bishop Angelito Lampon, OMI, DD, will preside the funeral mass at 8 a.m. Burial will follow at the OMI cemetery.The Vicariate of Jolo was whereFr. Romy served for many years as Vicariate Pastoral Coordinator, Director of Sulu Tawi-Tawi Broadcasting Foundation and until his death as Vicariate of JoloJustice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC).On April 16, Saturday,Fr. Romy, also known as Fr. Villy, left St. Luke'shospital where he has been confined due to cancer and celebrated mass with fellow Oblate priests, friends and family members.He presidedover a mass to celebrate his 50th Sacerdotal Jubilee at the Birhen ng Lourdes Parish in Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City.The OMI website saidFr. Romy was born on March 14, 1938 in Cabatuan, Iloilo. He had an itinerant schooling.Romy studied at Cabatuan Public School for his primary grade Roosevelt Memorial High School in San Juan, Rizal for his elementary education and Notre Dame of Marbel, Koronadal, South Cotabato for his secondary education.After high school, he pursued an Agricultural Engineering course at the Araneta University in Malabon City. After a year of engineering studies, he entered the Oblate Juniorate Seminary in Quezon City.Romy was sent to Mission, Texas for his Novitiate. After novitiate, he came back home to do Philosophy and Theology at the San Jose Seminary in Quezon City and at the Loyola House of Studies. He was ordained priest on April 14, 1966 in Cotabato City. Villy,” as he is also called, wanted to become a priest when he was small but he lost interest while growing up. His grandmother, father and mother have influenced him in his life. He had few obstacles in becoming a priest.He early influences in his Oblate vocation were the examples and work of two Irish OMIs - Frs. Peter Moriarty and Andy Horgan.For Oblate missionary spirit, Romy draws inspiration from another veteran missionary, Fr. Emile Bolduc. To him, Fr. Boldhuc was an example of priestly life that was the most lovable and inspiring – he was always there to welcome and be of help without any judgment whatsoever.”Romy has many assignments that will fill pages.He is well remembered in places like Alamada, Kidapawan, Magpet, Bagong Barrio in Caloocan City, Midsayap and the vicariate of Jolo.During the martial law years, Fr. Villanueva was identified with the ‘radical’ Oblates that opposed the dictator and cried for justice and freedom.Prior to his hospitalization, Fr. Villanueva was stationed in Jolo.It was no accident that his present ministry was in Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation for the Vicariate of Jolo.He will always beam with joy when he speaks of justice, peace and dialogue in the Vicariate known also as the home of the Abu Sayyaf Groups.Fr. Villy's friends posted on his facebook some memorable photos, as shown below. sand//scontent.fmnl4-2.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/13083303_10207540655209539_6386821112824562236_n.jpg?oh=39345ba01c07124e54f3d52c3f3fa7e8andampoe=57A8D0A3 Gerald Shenk, professor of California State University who visted Sulu said on his post to Fr. Villanueva's FB pageand Fr. sand//www.facebook.com/romeo.villanueva.188 Romeo Villanueva passed away April 29, 2016. Among the many heroic Filipinos I have met who work for peace and justice, Fr. Vil., as he was known, was one of the most inspiring. In the midst of ongoing violence and threats, he worked quietly and fearlessly in the cause of justice for the Tausug Muslim people of Sulu over the course of many years. This photo is from 2006 when I had the privilege of spending some time with Fr. Vil. during a Peace Pilgrimage to Sulu. sand//scontent.fmnl4-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/l/t1.0-9/r270/13103388_1128321203856032_7348357234377501108_n.jpg?oh=3093c31fe1f93f6db433f58b441af58eandampoe=57A837AF Felipe Solis Magbanua posted this photo with Fr. Villy (seated front) at Rizal Park during the 1985 World Youth Day.

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