CDO Archdiocese Celebrates Archbishop Cronin’s 25th Death Anniversary

By Maria Monica L. Borja

This article was first published in Bag-ong Lamdag, the monthly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, Vol. 4 No. 7, March 11- April 12, 2016. It has been slightly edited here.

February 19, 2016 marked the 25th death anniversary of Archbishop Patrick Henry Cronin SSC. The clergy, members of religious communities and the lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro gathered for a tribute dedicated to his life and mission at Lourdes College auditorium on February 20.

The Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family (MSHF) and the Columban Missionaries spearheaded the event. The Catholic Youth of Barra, Opol, and Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Claveria, interpreted the missionary life of Archbishop Cronin through a series of presentations.

Columban Frs John Leydon and Paul Glynn with Fr Rey Raluto

Fr John Leydon, an eco-theologian of the Society of St Columban, was the main speaker at a forum on Laudato Si’, the second encyclical of Pope Francis, which is about ‘Our care for our common home’. Fr Leydon discussed three ways of dealing with the issue: to SEE, JUDGE, and ACT. ‘Tignan mabuti ang problema, alamin ang ugat nito, at ang wastong pagtugon dito,’ he pointed out. In addition, Fr Reynaldo Raluto SSJV, one of the speakers, called for help in solving the ecological issue. ‘Akong panawagan nga mananum ta’g kahoy,’ he said.

Sr Janita D. Porras, Superior of the MSHF, said they chose speakers who would discuss the environment because helping those in need was one of the late Archbishop’s advocacies. Related to ecological issues, a practical solution was introduced during the celebration, that is, organic farming. Sr Marian Tagupa MSHF gave an introduction to and a demonstration of proper kitchen waste management.

Registration for Lourdes College activity

Fr Rudolfo Galenzoga, parish priest of Tubod, Lanao del Norte, Diocese of Iligan, and his band, Hiyas Ali, boosted the energy levels of the participants.  Furthermore, video presentations featuring the legacy of Archbishop Cronin were also shown. The celebration concluded with a thanksgiving Mass for the late Archbishop at San Agustin Metropolitan Cathedral with Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ as main celebrant, together with the clergy of Cagayan de Oro and Columban priests.

Archbishop Patrick Cronin

Patrick H. Cronin was born in 1913 in the village of Moneygall, County Offaly, Ireland, where a maternal ancestor of President Obama of the USA was the village shoemaker. He was ordained as a Columban priest in 1937 and came to the Philippines in 1938. He served in Mindanao until his death in Cagayan de Oro on 19 February 1991. He shared the hardships of World War II with the people, spending most of the time in the mountains.

In 1951 the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Misamis Occidental, then part of the Diocese of Cagayan de Oro, were made into the Prelature of Ozamiz. Later that year Cagayan de Oro became an archdiocese under Archbishop James Hayes SJ, an American. The Prelature of Ozamiz didn’t get a bishop until 1955 when Fr Cronin was appointed as its first prelate. He was appointed Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro in October 1970. What was then the Prelature of Ozamiz is now the Archdiocese of Ozamiz, the Diocese of Iligan and the Prelature of Marawi.