April 28, 2016
The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has paid tribute to its late founder, Bishop Julio Xavier Labayen, by remembering the bishop’s contributions to the Catholic Church’s development and advocacy work.
In a statement, National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez mentioned how Bishop Labayen “empowered and mobilized the dioceses for development and advocacy work for the poor.”
“Bishop Labayen gave an exceptionally prophetic witness, leading the Church in the Philippines to embrace the agenda for Church renewal particularly the challenge to become truly a Church of the Poor,” Gariguez said.
The late bishop of Infanta founded NASSA/Caritas Philippines and served as its first national director from 1966 to 1982.
During those times and even beyond, Gariguez said the bishop devoted his life serving the marginalized and fighting for their rights especially during the martial rule.
“He led the Church campaign for justice and defense of human rights. NASSA/Caritas Philippines is grateful for his legacy, and we are challenged to follow his prophetic witnessing.”
Labayen is known as one of the “Magnificent 7,” a group of Catholic bishops who proactively and strongly denounced the Marcos’ martial rule.
He also published “Impact” magazine that gave voice to the suppressed media at that time.
Labayen was also the last surviving bishop who joined the Second Vatican Council.
The prelate passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 89. His demise came as NASSA/Caritas Philippines is celebrating its 50th founding anniversary this year.
The body of Bishop Labayen currently lies in state in Mt. Carmel Shrine in Broadway, Quezon City. He will be transferred to St. Mark’s Cathedral in Infanta, Quezon province on April 30 for the wake and the funeral mass on May 2. The burial will be in Alagad ni Maria Compound in Antipolo City on May 3.
JING REY HENDERSON
Partnership, Program Development and Communications Coordinator
(0905) 546-9977 / 525-1924