Catholic bishops have paid tribute to Archbishop emeritus Angel Lagdameo of Jaro who died on Friday.
Reactions to his death described the former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines as a “visionary leader” and someone “gifted with sense of humor.”
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, CBCP president, said Lagdameo is a “very jolly man” who had a way of “humanizing” the church hierarchy under his leadership.
“He can easily dissipate tensions. He was very good at conflict management and very pastoral also in his approach,” David said. “He will be remembered very fondly.”
The archbishop died at 8:30 a.m. at a hospital in Iloilo City, according to the CBCP, which he led from December 2005 to December 2009. He was 81.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said Lagdameo led the bishops’ collegial body at a “challenging time” and “he really stood up then”.
As Lagdameo’s auxiliary bishop from 2008 to 2013, Alminaza praised his mentorship and “empowering” style of leadership.
“He treated me as his equal and a brother. I had no difficulty accompanying him in really bringing forward the church in Jaro together,” he said.
Alminaza said that lay ministry and participation in the archdiocese also “blossomed” under the leadership of Lagdameo.
“He was very systematic and yet very personal… he takes time to listen. So in a way, he really paved the way for the archdiocese to becoming a truly synodal Church,” he added.
For Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones of Cebu, Lagdameo never lost his sense of humor and willingness to find humanity in adversaries.
Billones served as Lagdameo’s secretary in Jaro for six years before he was sent to Rome for further studies.
“The gift of Archbishop Lagdameo is the gift of the sense of humor, which for me is a sign of holiness… a character of deep faith and trust in God,” he said.
During his term as CBCP head, he has released more than 30 pastoral letters on different subjects to instruct the faithful and lead them in the right path.
It was also under his leadership when the CBCP News Service was operationalized in 2007, ten years after the bishops’ Permanent Council approved its establishment.