A Man with a Heart of Flesh

Testimonies about Archbishop Patrick Cronin

Paulines RTV Davao Productions
Narrator: Brother Karl Gaspar CSsR

He would always speak well of people. ‘Don’t talk about their negative aspects or their weaknesses, but affirm people,’ he would say to us. I am very much reminded of Archbishop Patrick Cronin’s dedication to the Church as a good shepherd in the large Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

– Sr Mari Murillo FMM –

I believe that God gave us Monsignor Cronin to help us resolve our problems and to help us in our needs.

– Sr Janita Porras MSHF –

If anyone in need came to him he would not refuse to help.

– Mr & Mrs Rafael & Chona Santos –

When I think of Archbishop Cronin, I think of his fatherly care and love.

– Sr Leoni Tumarong MSHF –

San Agustin Metropolitan Cathedral, Cagayan de Oro City [Wikipedia]

There was a family spirit at the meals when Monsignor Cronin gathered the priests to eat together at the Archbishop’s House. We would eat as one big family and the meal would be full of life. If the table was too crowded we’d add more tables. We’d pray the Angelus together and then Grace Before Meals.

There would be lots of fun, with the priests sharing or telling jokes during the meal and Monsignor Cronin would be very happy. We who were serving were very happy to witness this. There was a commendable spirit, different from the present time.

He was very open to helping any priest in need. If the parish couldn’t support a priest he would come to help. He loved the priests so much and would visit each of them, usually unexpectedly. There were instances of him finding that a priest wasn’t in his parish but most of the time the priests were very happy to welcome him.

He was never a bother to a priest when he would visit as he was a simple man who would eat anything. And on occasions such as confirmations when the priest would have prepared an offering for the Archbishop he wouldn’t accept it. He would say, ‘No need. Just keep that for whatever way it may help you and your parish’.

You wouldn't see much improvement in the Archbishop’s House because he'd rather spend on addressing the needs of his flock. The principle that I saw in Monsignor Cronin was, ‘If giving is wrong, then don’t give. But if giving is good, then always give.’

– Fr Pepe Pepoye Cabatingan –

Concelebrants at Mass for 25th death anniversary of Archbishop Patrick Cronin
San Agustin Cathedral, Cagayan de Oro City
Main celebrant: Bishop José A. Cabantan of Malaybalay

Archbishop Patrick Cronin: a Testimony

By Sr Corazon Hilario SPC

Testimony of Sister Corazon

I was walking from the centro of Gitagum, Misamis Oriental, to a barrio when a vehicle with some cargo stopped. Monsignor Cronin was in it. He asked me my name and I told him, ‘I’m Sister Corazon. I’m assigned to Sto Niño High School as a teacher.’ That was the first time I met him.

He often visited us at Sto Niño HS. As I was working as a volunteer catechist in the barrios in Gitagum, he once asked me about the problems of the catechists. I said, ‘Our problem is that the catechists are volunteers and they really need support. We have many catechists, Monsignor, but they are very poor.’ He was just quiet as he listened to me. His Columban friend and classmate, Fr Francis Chapman, knew that I had a hard time going from one parish to another so Father Chapman would give me a ride and Monsignor Cronin would pay for the gasoline, solving another financial problem that I had.

He was very kind. He listened to our problems, to the problems of the poor. And he was very compassionate, very gentle and prayerful. Whenever he visited Gitagum, he would spend time to pray. During fiestas he would just arrive and not ask anybody to prepare for him. He ate whatever served him

Archbishop Cronin, c.1970

When he would see the poor crying, his heart would melt. He once said, "Oh, Corazon, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I pity the people. They really need help.’ That's how he really gave himself to the poor. And that is how I learned also to be more generous. I imbibed that value of Monsignor Cronin, of being compassionate with the poor. That is why until now when I see poor persons who haven’t had breakfast I share whatever we have here. I cannot compare him to anybody else. He was really somebody unique . . . he is really a saint for me!

One time when he was visiting a woman came and said to him, ‘Monsignor, we have no electricity. I have no light.’ So he asked Sr Chantal who was then the administrator, ‘Chantal, Chantal, this woman has no light. Can you give her a line to connect to your electricity?’ Then Sr Chantal said, ‘I don’t know, Monsignor.’ ‘But she’s crying.’ ‘Ay, Monsignor, maybe when I cry also you will give me a piece of land?’

And that’s how we got this piece of land here! So that's one thing I really admired in Monsignor Cronin, his generosity. Because he was so close to the Lord he was loved by the people. I don’t know how I can describe Monsignor Cronin . . . but his generosity to the poor . . .

When we Sisters went to visit his tomb in the Cathedral we prayed and I was thanking the Lord for giving him as my friend, my confessor, my director, my archbishop and everything. He is more a father to me. 

Tomb of Archbishop Cronin being blessed by Bishop José A. Cabantan of Malaybalay
Bishop Cabantan was ordained priest by Archbishop Cronin on 30 April 1990 for the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro