Tireless church builder Fr. Gallego dies at 56-A A +A
Thursday, March 14, 2013
A KNOWN builder of churches in the Archdiocese of Cebu, Fr. Raul Gallego, passed away last Tuesday evening.
Gallego, 56, based on initial reports, had a heart attack while he was in a mall in Mandaue City and was attended to by emergency rescue personnel.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma made the official announcement during the Chrism mass and annual renewal of vows for priests yesterday afternoon.
He asked the mass goers to pray for the eternal repose of the soul of Gallego, who headed the Committee on Physical Arrangements for the National Thanksgiving Mass for the canonization of Saint Pedro Calungsod.
The mass was held at the South Road Properties last Nov. 30 and attended by more than one million devotees.
The committee had to make arrangements, including parking spaces, provision of chairs for half a million devotees, and had to oversee the construction of the templete or outdoor altar, among others.
He attended all media briefings, presided on most of the committee meetings, except when he was not well, and always kept a cool head despite the mounting pressure on the ground preparations at the site that turned muddy under the rain and dusty during warm days.
Gallego was unable to attend the canonization rites led by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in Rome because he was hospitalized for an undisclosed illness.
In an interview, Palma said he received a text message on the sad news early yesterday morning and was also visited by Gallego’s confereres at the Balamban parish.
“He (Gallego) did a wonderful job during the canonization (preparations in Cebu) as head of the physical arrangements committee. I remember how much he has worked,” the prelate told reporters.
He added that Gallego’s remains will be brought to his parish in Balamban and then at the St. Therese Parish in Barangay Lahug where he was also assigned.
Fr. Socrates Saldua, seminary spiritual director, described his seminary classmate Gallego as a “church builder” for the construction of the church of Our Lady of Fatima in Mandaue City, a church in Toledo City and the St. Therese parish in Barangay Lahug in Cebu City.
“He’s just starting in Balamban,” said Saldua.
Saldua said that after schooling at the San Carlos seminary, Gallego proceeded to the University of Sto. Tomas School for further Theology studies.
Gallego was also a writer, the last secretary of the late Julio Cardinal Rosales and the first secretary of Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
Before he was chosen to head the physical arrangements committee for the celebration after the canonization of Saint Pedro Calungsod, it was also Gallego who headed the same committee for the celebration of Calungsod’s beatification that was held at the old Lahug airport in 2000.
There are no details yet on the internment, although it had been set on March 22.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 14, 2013.