Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: December 02, 2020 08:03 AM GMT
Jesuit Father Timoteo Ofrasio has died at 72 after losing a battle with the coronavirus. (Photo supplied)
A well-known Filipino Jesuit theology professor, liturgist and lyricist has died due to complications caused by the coronavirus.
Father Timoteo Ofrasio lost his battle with the deadly disease on Dec. 1 in a hospital in Laguna province, south of Manila. He was 72.
The Jesuits said Father Ofrasio’s death came as a shock as he appeared to be recovering from the virus.
“He was hospitalized several days ago but seemed to be recovering. His death is quite unexpected, except that Covid-19 has often been seen to be more treacherous and deadlier than anticipated,” the Philippine Jesuits said in a post on their website.
Father Ofrasio was a professor of systematic and sacramental theology at the Jesuit-run Loyola School of Theology at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.
He also taught sacred liturgy after obtaining a licentiate in sacred liturgy from the Pontificio Istituto Sant’Anselmo in Rome in 1987 and earning his doctorate in sacred liturgy from the same institution in 1990.
Father Ofrasio served as consultor of the Catholic bishops’ Commission on Liturgy from 1994 to 1997 and chaired the Commission on Liturgy of Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese in Mindanao region from 1994 to 2000.
Fellow clergymen and churchgoers expressed grief at Father Ofracio’s death.
“No words … I can’t even convincingly say ‘rest in peace’ … I still have many stories to tell you during my first year as priest. But now, this is the only thing I can tell you: thank you very much for the friendship. It’s so difficult to say goodbye,” said Jesuit Father Madz Tumbali on social media.
Former Philippine Jesuit provincial Father Daniel Patrick Huang said he first met Father Ofrasio soon after he left college.
“He was the first Jesuit ‘missionary’ I met when I visited Mindanao for the first time after graduating from college in 1980 … His lyrics for … music and his Visayan translations have enriched Filipino liturgical life,” he said on Facebook.
Churchgoers also said Father Ofrasio’s lyrics would never be forgotten as they touched people’s faith and soul.
“We will never forget you in your lyrics in our liturgical songs,” said Rundolph Bayaua, program coordinator at Paul VI Institute of Liturgy in Manila.
Father Ofrasio put into words some of the songs performed during Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines in 2015.
The Jesuits announced that the late priest’s remains would be cremated due to coronavirus protocols.
“Given continued virus restraints, Father Tim’s remains will likely be cremated and the ashes remain with his family for now. When feasible, they can eventually be brought to Loyola House of Studies for proper obsequies,” they said.