THE Retired Davao Archbishop-Emeritus, Rev. Fernando “Nanding” R. Capalla, D.D was laid to rest on Monday morning, January 15, 2024, at San Pedro Cathedral, San Pedro St., Davao City Capalla was 89.
From 2003 until 2005, Capalla, a well-known peace activist in Mindanao, led the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) as its president.
His death on the morning of January 6, happened merely four days after another bishop from the Diocese of Pagadian, Ronald Lunas, died in a Davao hospital from complications following a recent heart bypass surgery.
Capella’s family, along with the archbishops of several Catholic churches in Mindanao and Visayas, thousands of Dabawenyos, city councilors, and several politicians have gathered to pay their final respects to the late Archbishop who led the Archdiocese of Davao for over 15 years.
Former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte alongside his common law wife, Honeylet Avanceña, Senators Bong Go, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, and Filipino actor Philip Salvador also attended the Order of Christian Funeral.
To recall, incumbent Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles conveyed the passing of Capalla to the secretariat of the CBCP.
“We in the Archdiocese of Davao, with the Most Rev. Romulo G. Valles, our Archbishop, and the Most Rev. George B. Rimando, our Auxiliary Bishop, and the clergy and religious and lay faithful, will remember with gratitude Archbishop Nanding. We mourn his passing but we are assured of the word of God found in the Book of Wisdom (3:1), ‘The souls of the just are in the hands of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them,” Msgr. Jaime Gamboa, chancellor of the archdiocese, said in an announcement.
Duterte also expressed his deep mourning for the loss of his dearest friend. He considered Capalla not just a good individual but also a counselor, further commending his influence in Davao religious society.
“I’ve always acknowledged his ascendancy sa buhay ko (in my life) as a private person and as a public official,” Duterte said.
At the age of 40, Capalla was appointed auxiliary bishop of Davao in April 1975 after receiving his priestly ordination for the Jaro Archdiocese in Iloilo City. In June of that same year, he was consecrated as a bishop.
He was then named prelate of the Prelature of Iligan in 1977, and by the time Pope John Paul II raised the city to the rank of diocese in 1982, he was installed as the city's first bishop.
From 1987 to 1991, Capalla served as the apostolic administrator of Marawi.
He was named coadjutor archbishop of Davao in 1994, and after Archbishop Antonio Mabutas retired in 1996, he became the next archbishop of Davao.
Capalla oversaw a number of CBCP departments, including the Episcopal Commission on Ecumenical Affairs and the Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue. Additionally, he established the Bishops-Ulama Conference, an interfaith group that seeks to improve harmony between Christians and Muslims.
He has received multiple accolades for his interfaith dialogue efforts, including the Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Award for Peace Advocacy and Peace Building in 2000, the San Lorenzo Ruiz Award for Peace and Unity in 1991, and the Public Service Award for Peace from Ateneo de Manila University in 1998. DEF