POPE Francis sent his condolences over the death of Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who was laid to rest Friday morning, August 28, 2020.
Cruz died from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), not from a lingering illness as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news service initially announced.
Quoting Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, CBCP News reported that Cruz succumbed to “multiple organ failure caused by critical Covid-19 infection” on Wednesday, August 26.
He was the third Filipino prelate to contract the novel coronavirus after Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Manila archdiocese, and Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iñiguez of Kalookan. Both Pabillo and Iñiguez have already recovered.
Cruz’s remains were cremated and brought to Dagupan City.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin relayed the message of the Pontiff during the funeral mass for Cruz at the Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City,
“His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz and sends prayerful condolences to you and to the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan,” said Parolin.
The Vatican official relayed the blessing coming from the Pope to those mourning over 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,” said Parolin.
Cruz was known as an anti-jueteng advocate and an outspoken critic of the government.
He died at the age of 85 while confined at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)