PRIESTS and church workers shared their memories of Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal after news of the latter’s death broke out.
Msgr. Ruben Labajo, head of the team of pastors of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, told SunStar Cebu that Vidal served as a second parent to many priests in the Archdiocese of Cebu.
Labajo, along with Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo, was ordained by Vidal himself. It was also Vidal who presided over their installation as monsignors.
Labajo described Vidal as a “jolly man who loved to joke.”
When he became the Cathedral’s parish priest, Labajo said that Vidal would often hear mass there around 9 a.m.
Vidal would then join him and his fellow priests after the mass.
“During lunch, he loved to make us laugh. But sometimes, we also saw him sad,” he said.
Happy or sad, he was always willing to give his advice.
Fr. Joseph de Aquino, Vidal’s secretary, considered him as his second father.
De Aquino, who worked for Vidal for eight years, said his fondest memory of the prelate was when the latter took him to Rome to see Pope Francis.
He described Vidal as a generous and loving person.
“All these years, I have witnessed how people run to him to report mistakes. There are times when he got mad or dismayed but he always made it a point to forgive. When he chided someone, it never ended up with him getting angry. It always ended with a hug, a reminder of God’s love to all,” he said.
De Aquino said Cardinal Vidal is a big loss to Cebu, but he believes that the retired archbishop had done more than enough.
Msgr. Agustin Ancajas also recalled the eight years he had worked as Vidal’s secretary.
Ancajas said that Vidal was not only known for his generosity and humility, but for also being a mediator among warring local and national political groups.
“He favored no side. What he really wanted was to help,” he said. (JKV)