ASIA-OCEANIAFirst Filipino OMI Provincial dies in automobile accident
On December 4, Fr. Jose (Joe) ANTE died in an automobile accident in Matanao, not far from his home in Cotabato City. In 1976, he earned the distinction of being the first Filipino OMI Provincial. During his term (1976-1981), he organized socio-economic programs 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.
Born in 1936, he professed his first vows as an Oblate in 1957. In 1960, after finishing hilosophy studies with now Orlando Cardinal 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. He was ordained in Rome in 1964.
Fr. Ante’s first assignment was as Dean of Notre Dame of Jolo College, where he later became President in 1972. While in Jolo, he got involved in establishing consumers cooperatives, credit unions, housing cooperatives and various socio-economic development projects, training out-of-school youth in carpentry and refrigeration, assisting Badjao fishermen to secure loans for their small boats and helping farmers improve their agricultural techniques.
After his service as provincial, he became the fourth president of Notre Dame University in Cotabato (1982-1992).
He also became a member of the Regional Consultative Commission (RCC) for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. As member of the RCC, Fr. Ante had the opportunity to help protect the rights of the inhabitants, and to give impetus to the development of the region—Christians, Muslims, and Highlanders alike.
Fr. Ante went on to spend about 15 years in the Vicariate of Jolo, in various capacities—parish priest of Siasi, Sulu; Rector of the Cathedral; Director of Social Action and Justice and Peace; parish priest of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. He also had a stint at the Our Lady of Grace Parish in Grace Park, Caloocan City. Wherever he was assigned, he was always on the lookout for ways to help people uplift their lives and develop the community. He stayed close to the people he was working with and ministering to.
On December 9, Cardinal Quevedo presided at Fr. Joe’s funeral Mass at the Archbishop MONGEAU Chapel at Notre Dame University. The Cardinal remembers his classmate as a "wise, intelligent, soft-spoken missionary who loved working with Muslims, a very good leader, a true missionary disciple.”
Fr. Michael RODRIGO’S death anniversary was celebrated at Buttala, Moneragala, the place he was gunned down on 10th November, 1987. There were a number of villagers who came to pay tribute to him. Fr. Rohan SILVA, the Provincial Superior, Fr. Emmanuel MOSOEU, the General Councilor for Africa and Madagascar, priests and sisters from the diocese and several Oblates participated. After the Mass, which was celebrated by newly ordained Frs. Philip NANAYAKKARA OMI and Dhanushka FERNANDO. Professor Anton Meemana spoke to the gathering on the spirituality of the environment and our responsibilities. (http://omicolombo.com/)
The place where Fr. Michael Rodrigo was killed.