Bukidnon priest succumbs to COVID-19

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 02 May) –  A 61-year-old parish priest of Jesus Nazareno Parish in Crossing, Libona, Bukidnon died Saturday night from COVID-19 complications, the Diocese of Malaybalay announced on its official Facebook account.

“On the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, 01 May 2021, at 8:15 p.m., the attending doctor at Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City declared Fr. Diomedes A. Brigoli, dead due to COVID-19 complications,” it said.

Fr. Diomedes Brigoli, Parish Priest, Libona, Bukidon (From the FB page of the Diocese of Malaybalay)

Brigoli was the third diocesan priest in Bukidnon who died this year, but the first to succumb to COVID-19.  Fr. Rene Regalado was shot in January by still unknown gunmen while Fr. Joel Tuquib died of cardiac arrest last month.

Brigoli was born on September 8, 1959 in Sogod, Cebu. He was ordained priest on April 20, 1993.

Prior to his assignment in Libona, he was the parish priest in San Agustin Church in Valencia City and had served the parishes in Talakag, Baungon, Masimag, and Kadingilan,

According to the Diocese’s chancery office, Fr. Brigoli’s body was cremated Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes. The remains stayed at the Cosmo Chapel until Sunday morning. His urn was placed in the Diocesan Formation Center 1, where no one was allowed to visit except for the immediate family. His brother priests, were allowed to visit his wake starting Sunday afternoon. His interment  is scheduled 9a.m. Monday, May 3, at the Malaybalay Catholic Cemetery.

Fr. Oliver Verdejo, station director of the Church-run DXDB, said funeral mass will be held in the cemetery with immediate family and a number of priests. No parishioner will be allowed to attend the burial.

Verdejo said so far the Libona parish of Fr. Brigoli and the Dalirig quasi-parish are on lockdown. He said contact tracing, isolation and antigen swabbing is ongoing.

Fr. Brigoli celebrated his 28th anniversary as priest last month.

He was referred to as Case #92 in the Libona information bulletin. He was reportedly  brought by relatives to a hospital on April 26 for check-up and underwent laboratory tests due to cough and fever. He was given medication and was sent home.

On April 29, 2021,  his cough and fever persisted with difficulty of breathing so he was brought to a private hospital where he was swabbed and admitted. He was then referred to the NMMC  the following day for further treatment, was re-swabbed and tested positive.

Fr. Reynaldo Raluto, an environmentalist priest, said Fr. Brigoli was his zealous partner in promoting integral ecology concerns in his parish.

When he was parish priest in Valencia City, Fr. Brigoli joined parishioners in facilitating focus group discussions in the city with the Piliay 2013 initiative, which engaged citizens to express the issues that candidates for local elections should respond to.

Hundreds took to Facebook their expression of condolences and prayers for Fr. Brigoli.

“You can no longer physically see our posts but surely the parishioners in Bukidnon will miss you as our good shepherd. Thank you for your gift of service, may God cradle you in His bosom,” said a retired teacher from Malaybalay City, who left a comment on the official FB account of the Diocese of Malaybalay.  (MindaNews)

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