Mercado: Goodbye Bishop Ambo

PAMPANGA had a most eminent son in the person of the late Rufino Cardinal Santos. That was over half a century ago.

My perception, more of ESP than Nostradamic is that a home-grown cabalen is a strong potential as future candidate to the College of Cardinals. But first our brethren start praying and hoping that Bishop Pablo David, also from Guagua, may soon be elevated to Archbishop.

The edifying prospect of having a second Pampango Cardinal sooner than later provides the solace to the collective sadness of Angeles City residents who learned of Bishop Ambo's new assignment as Caloocan City bishop.

Observers said his new place, which he will assume on January 2, 2016, is a hardship post. He was chosen to succeed the outspoken and courageous Bishop Deogracias Iniguez who is ailing.

Bishop David, who heads the Holy Rosary Parish of Angeles, has sustained a distinguished record as reformer, innovator, and activist in the church and in community life.

He has initiated remarkable work and spirited people's motivation in the revival through massive clearing of the historic Sapang Balen Creek.

He was instrumental in negotiating, acquiring and developing the Apo Chapel in Lourdes Sur East which was the subject of decades-old dispute. His passion as advocate for ecology has never waned.

His persuasion and determination paid off when organized and stubborn illegal sidewalk vendors dismantled their makeshift shanty stores fronting the HAU and the Parish House. This paved the efforts for the construction of Plaza Angel, the first public park in the city.

Parishioners trust Bishop Ambo's integrity and sound judgment that winning their financial support to deepen and expand his apostolic work and building projects- like the redesigned and refurbished blessed sacrament adoration chapel- becomes joyful and meaningful.

The future Cardinal's extensive evangelical work includes his work as vice chairman of the CBCP-Permanent Committee on Cultural Heritage. He and City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan have a strong partnership, while sharing salutary vision, in cultural heritage advocacy.

In the short time before his departure, it is the wish of Anelenos that he rolls sleeves and lead a makeover sortie at his legacy project, the rehabilitation of the Sapang Balen creek. He has made a symbol of the waterway's revival as man's love of and respect to nature, Laudato Si!

Above all the learned and eloquent theologian communicator has brought the Christian message, along its gospel values, to thousands of homes through his influential TV program "Men of Light."

Sadly, local residents will be missing him. But he will be remembered with joy as he enters into another light and grace of the Lord.
*****

Admirers and fans (even priests have their loyal supporters) of Rev. Fr. Deo Galang are happy to notice how he has greatly recovered from his ailment. As one of the three original "wise men" of the "Men of Light" Fr. Deo's humor and deep insight into moral- even political- issues edified a wide TV audience.

He is looking good and hale, although with residual enervation... A multitude of friends of Rev. Fr. Sol Gabriel are waiting for the publication of his book, a collection of his homilies and personal essays. Fr. Sol stood out gallantly, and heroically, against a diking proposition that would have placed Angeles City under threats of flooding and lahar during the Pinatubo catastrophe.

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