KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/26 October) – Father Fausto Tentorio disliked ceremonies, especially those that drew attention to himself, and if he were alive, Kidapawan Bishop Romulo dela Cruz said as he opened his homily during the funeral mass at the Our Lady of Mediarix, “he would not have been comfortable in a liturgy as well attended as this one, where he is the center of attention.”
But the attention Tentorio managed to escape from in life, the Bishop said, “he must now endure in death.
Six other bishops and 90 priests concelebrated the funeral mass officiated by Bishop dela Cruz. The six other bishops were Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Valles and Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, both former bishops of Kidapawan; Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla, Zacaria Jimenez also of Butuan, Malaybalay Bishop Jose Cabantan and Cotabato’s Auxiliary Bishop Colin Bagaforo. Cotabato (Arcbhishop Orlando Quevedo, the first Bishop of Kidapawan, is presently abroad).
Priests from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) flew in from various parts of the Philippines. They were joined at the mass by priests from the Diocese of Kidapawan and other neighboring dioceses. Other religious congregations also sent their representatives.
Pope Benedict XVI and the Cardinal of Milan sent messages read during the mass.
Tentorio’s brother Felice, sister-in-law Guliana and their sons Matteo and Andrea and a friend, Roberto Beretta, arrived from Italy. The Superior-General, Fr. Gian Battista Zanchi, PIME Superior General arrived from Rome and the Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Luca Fornari, the Bishop said, had “twice violated his own (government’s) travel advisory not to visit Mindanao by returning to attend this funeral mass, after visiting a week ago to see for himself what happened to Father Fausto.”
Tentorio’s family and the Italian ambassador occupied the first pew on the right side of the center aisle. Behind them sat President Aquino’s representative, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman. Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority sat beside Gabriela party-list representative Luz Ilagan. Beside Ilagan was North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Cotamco, former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, and Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino.
On the same row on the left side of the center aisle sat Eastern Mindanao Command chief, Lt. Gen. Arthur Tabaquero, who sat beside religious brothers while behind him, Brig. Gen. Ray Ardo, chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, EastMinCom spokesperson Lt. Col. Emmanuel Galon and other officials sat beside nuns.
The Our Lady of Mediatrix Cathedral was filled to capacity while hundreds stayed in the church grounds.
Thousands of parishioners and sympathizers, many of them Lumads (indigenous peoples), visited his wake in the Our Mother of Perpetual Help parish in Arakan, the Notre Dame of Doroluman and the cathedral here.
Senator Teofisto Guingona and Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo paid their respects at the parish on October 20 and 22, respectively. North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Talino-Mendoza also paid her respects on the 20th but sent assistance as early as Day One. She also sent a representative to Arakan who stayed there since the first day of the wake.
A long convoy of Arakan residents rode motorcycles and trucks to accompany the transport of Tentorio’s remains from the Notre Dame school in Doroluman, North Cotabato to the cathedral in Kidapawan on October 24. A convoy of at least 30 vehicles also arrived from Davao City for the overnight vigil.
Not everyone who attended the mass walked the four-kilometer stretch to accompany Tentorio to his final resting place at the Queen of Prophets cemetery in the Bishop’s Compound in Balindog.
The funeral procession left the highway fronting the cathedral at 11:20 a.m. and arrived in the Bishop’s Compound at 12:20 a.m. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)