By Christina Hermoso
The local Catholic Church has lost another senior bishop on Sunday, February 10, just a few hours after the passing of another retired Church leader from the south.
Diocese of San Carlos Bishop Emeritus Nicolas Mondejar died at 5 p.m. at the age of 94. He was the second oldest Filipino bishop, after Imus Bishop Emeritus Manuel Cruz Sobrevinas, who is older by a few months. Mondejar was born on September 15, 1924, while Sobrevinas was born on April 7, 1924.
Mondejar died as the Church was also mourning the death of retired Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel in South Cotabato at around 5 a.m. Sunday. Gutierrez would have turned 80 on Feb. 20.
Both Mondejar and Gutierrez served as chairman of the Catholic Church’s National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa).
Mondejar passed away as the Diocese of San Carlos marks the 31st anniversary of his installation as the first bishop of San Carlos in Negros Occidental.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, who currently heads the diocese, requests the faithful for prayers “for his eternal repose. He laid the foundation of the diocese and started the St. John Mary Vianney College Seminary that has, so far, produced 41 priests in the past 25 years. He promoted a more participatory church through the building and strengthening of the basic ecclesial communities,” Alminaza said.
Mondejar was also known for his pioneering work in promoting the tithing system in many dioceses in the country.
A native of Iloilo province, Mondejar was ordained a priest in 1953. In 1970, he was named as Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu. Four years later, he was appointed to head the Diocese of Romblon, a post he held until he was transferred to San Carlos in 1987. He served San Carlos for 12 years until his retirement in 2000 during which he was able to ordain 23 priests.