By Leslie Ann Aquino
Bishop Alredo Obviar, the first bishop of Lucena, is now two steps closer to sainthood.
Pope Francis on Thursday issued a decree declaring Obviar “venerable” who lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way.
According to a CBCP News post, the pontiff would have to recognize a miracle attributed to the late bishop’s intercession for him to be beatified. A second miracle would be needed for canonization.
Catholic prelates welcomed the declaration of Obviar as “venerable” whom they described as a holy man.
“It is a great News for us, especially our Diocese of Sorsogon because the MCST (Missionary Catechists of St. Therese), founded by Bp. Obviar, are our partners in the Ministry of Catechesis and Family and Human Life for many years,” Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said in an interview.
“We all believe that Bp. Obviar is a holy man, who suffered in silence and whose Religious Foundation is blessed by God!” he added.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco also welcomed the news especially since Obviar was noted for his love and dedication to his flock in serving them.
“He was a silent worker in the Church,” he said.
The cause for sainthood of Obviar was introduced by the Lucena diocese. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints granted the “Nihil Obstat” (nothing hinders) to the diocesan inquiry of his life in 2001.
Few years later, the decree of validity was issued in 2007 marking the start of its “Roman Phase.”
In 2014, the “Positio” was submitted and the review of theologians was concluded early last year.
Born in Lipa, Batangas, Obviar was ordained a priest in 1919. In 1944, he was named as the first Auxiliary Bishop of Lipa.
He was known as the founder of the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese, a religious congregation of nuns with missions across the Philippines and in some countries.
In 1969, he was appointed as bishop of Lucena, a post he served until his retirement in 1976.
He died in 1978 at the age of 89.