Davao Archbishop Romullo Valles honored the legacy of former Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla in advocating peace in Mindanao.
Valles led the Rite of Reception for the remains of Capalla at the San Pedro Cathedral at around 3 p.m., where the latter’s wake will be held until January 15.
The current archbishop, who also served as CBCP president from 2017 to 2021, told SunStar Davao in an ambush interview that Capalla will be remembered for his work in rallying for peace and dialogue.
"He was also working for interreligious dialogue, regardless if you are a Christian, Lumad, or Muslim," Valles said in Cebuano.
Capalla is one of the founders of the Bishops-Ulama Conference, an interreligious organization aimed at fostering understanding between Muslims and Christians.
Valles admitted that Capalla's passing is a sad moment for the archdiocese. But he also said that his work in his lifetime would serve as an inspiration to the entire church.
"We are sad. He is like an older brother to me. I will miss him," he said, adding that the late archbishop is now entering the gates of heaven.
Valles said that Capalla was "already getting weak" and had difficulty in breathing, months before he passed away.
The archbishop emeritus was also hospitalized but he requested to be brought home to retirement residence in Catalunan Grande, where he died. He was accompanied by his personal doctor and personal staff.
"Almost it's a natural death. He is already old and he had a difficulty in breathing," Valles said.
He added that Capalla will be laid to rest on January 15 at the San Pedro Cathedral, along with other archbishops.
Capalla served as CBCP president for one term from December 2003 to December 2005.
He was also the Archbishop of Davao from November 1996 until February 2012.
Capalla was born in November 1934 and ordained priest in March 1961.
In April 1975, he was designated as Auxiliary Bishop of Davao until his appointment as prelate of Iligan in April 1977.
Capalla was subsequently appointed as Davao archbishop in November 1996 until his retirement in February 2012 at the age of 77.
Over at the CBCP, Capalla served as chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue and Episcopal Commission on Ecumenical Affairs. RGL WITH REPORTS FROM SNS