ILIGAN CITY - More than a hundred of priests from all over the country came together here this morning to say their final goodbyes to Bishop Elenito Galido as he was laid to rest in a small room at the left side of the altar of St. Michael's Cathedral.
Eleven archbishops and bishops came to concelebrate the funeral mass which was attended by hundreds of Catholic devotees including students of St. Michael's College, a school in Iligan City named after the cathedral where Galido served for 11 years.
Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamis City led the mass celebration.
St. Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of Iligan City.
Gilbert Galorio, a church worker, said the small room where the bishop was buried was previously the Chapel of Saints.
When the chapel was transferred at the entrance portion of the cathedral, the diocese decided to reserve it as burial room for the bishop and priests who died while serving the Diocese of Iligan City.
"He is the first to be buried here because the priests who died ahead of him were buried in a Catholic Cemetery in (barangay) Villaverde," Galorio shared.
Iligan City Vice Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz, a priest on leave and the former Vicar General of the Diocese, said it has been a tradition of the Catholic church to bury the bishop near the altar of the cathedral where he was serving before he died.
Meanwhile, a lay minister and member of the Charismata Media Ministry remembers Galido as someone who did not know how to get angry.
Melvin Anggot describes the bishop as very soft-spoken, approachable and fatherly-like whom one can joke with.
"Kung dili niya maangayan ang imong isulti, molingo-lingo lang siya, then mohilom. Makabalo nami nga wala na siya naka-uyon (When he did not agree with what you said he would just shake his head and keep quiet)," Anggot said.
Anggot said he became close friends with the late bishop when they started their radio program two years ago.
Golido was a radio broadcaster until he died last December 5.
He anchored a canned 5-minute radio program entitled ‘Slice Bread ‘aired daily in DXIC RMN and in Brigada News FM both in Iligan City and in Lite FM in Maranding, Lanao del Norte.
In the 5-minute radio program, Galido shared daily Bible verses and connected them to the people's daily lives.
According to Anggot, it was Galido who personally asked him he wanted to go back into radio broadcasting.
"In his early years as priest in Bukidnon, he was a broadcaster of Radio Veritas," Anggot said.
Galido died in a hospital in Iligan City after battling liver cirrhosis.
He was ordained in 1979 and was appointed as bishop in Iligan in March 25, 2006.
Aside from being an advocate of organic farming, Vera Cruz said, Galido is an environmentalist and an advocate of organic farming, said Vera Cruz.
In late 1980s, he started his own reforestation project in Mt. Capistrano, Managok, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon where he was born in April 18, 1954.
His sacerdotal ordination was on April 25, 1979 and first served under the Diocese of Malaybalay.
He was appointed as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Iligan on March 25, 2006, consecrated on September 8, 2006.
Galido is a Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Culture (ECC) of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.
Through him, the Diocese of Iligan welcomed thousands of residents who fled Marawi when war against the Daesh-inspired group broke out in May 23.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 16, 2017.