MANILA, Dec. 22, 2016 – With an entire diocese still reeling from the shock of Fr. Jose Eliseo Buenviaje’s sudden demise on Dec. 13 from a heart attack, Novaliches Bishop Antonio R. Tobias, DD encouraged the faithful to take the time to cope with the pastor’s passing.
“I know many of us in the diocese are coping … with the reality that Fr. Joel is not with us anymore,” said Tobias during the homily for Buenviaje’s funeral Mass held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Sta. Monica, Quezon City on Dec. 17, 2016.
“There are many ways of coping up. And so as we take the time,” said the prelate to the crowds of mourners who gathered at the shrine early Saturday morning to pay their last respects to the deceased priest, who passed away on Dec. 13, 2016, feast of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr.
The bishop recalled how the news reached him and his struggle to face the reality of what happened.
“When he died on Dec. 13, Tuesday, I was busy with my secretaries in the Chancery preparing the nine days of homilies for the Simbang Gabi with Powerpoint and I had to leave it promptly because Fr. Joel had a serious heart attack,” shared Tobias.
Prior to ending his homily, the bishop retold Buenviaje’s vocation story and asked the faithful present to clap in gratitude for the priest’s service to God and community.
According to Buenviaje’s life testimony read by Novaliches Chancellor Fr. Reynaldo Percival Flores during the same Mass, Buenviaje was ordained a priest on Sept. 23, 2011, the liturgical feast of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, and was immediately appointed vice-rector and parochial vicar of St. Peter Parish: Shrine of Leaders.
Life of service
He was later on appointed the first parish priest of Parroquia de la Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje on March 17, 2013, when it was declared a parish.
The deceased priest was appointed diocesan vocations director in 2011, a position he held until June 30, 2014.
Prior to his death, he was helping the Social Action Commission, also known as Caritas Novaliches, in its Disaster Relief and Recovery Management Ministry. He also celebrated Mass regularly at the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Healing Center in Libis, Quezon City. Buenviaje is survived by his mother, Florinda, and his siblings. (Minnie Agdeppa / CBCPNews)