Pope Francis mourns death of Archbishop Oscar Cruz

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MANILA – Pope Francis has extended his condolences over the passing of Lingayen-Dagupan Emeritus Archbishop Oscar Cruz.

In a letter signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the Holy Father extended his condolences over Cruz’s death.

“His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz and sends prayerful condolences to you and the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan,” part of the letter which was read by retired Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias during the funeral Mass in Pangasinan on Friday. “His Holiness joins you in giving thanks to the Almighty God for the late archbishop’s many years of episcopal ministry and his forthright witness to the Gospel and in commending his soul to the loving mercy of Christ the Good Shepherd”.

Likewise, Pope Francis gave his apostolic blessing to all those who mourn for Cruz’s passing.

“To all who mourns his passing in the sure hope of the resurrection, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Risen Lord,” the letter said.

Meanwhile, Villegas celebrated the Funeral Mass held at the St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.

In his homily, Villegas paid tribute to his predecessor in the diocese.

“But I know he is a Saint and the skies of Dagupan cried on the day he passed away. He is a Saint but not our usual one. He was not a Saint of pandemics and plagues. He was not a saint in the confessional and the kneeler. He was a Saint but a different one,” the Catholic prelate added.

Villegas succeeded Cruz after he retired in 2009.

On Wednesday, the 85-year-old archbishop died due to multiple organ failure caused by Covid-19 infection.

His cremated remains were interred at the cathedral. (PNA)

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