Msgr. Tantoco, ex-Caritas Manila director, dies at 75

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MANILA, May 23, 2014— Monsignor Francisco Tantoco, Jr., former Caritas Manila executive director, died on Friday after around a decade bout with Parkinson’s disease. He was 75.

Tantoco was rushed to San Juan De Dios Hospital in Pasay City at 9pm yesterday after his condition exacerbated. He passed away at 6:45am today.

The funeral service, led by Manila Archbishop Antonio Cardinal, was held within day of his death at a chapel inside the archbishop’s residence in Intramuros, Manila.

Cardinal Tagle said it has been the “request” of Msgr. Tantoco that he be buried “within 24 hours” after his death.

“We are respecting his will,” Cardinal Tagle said.

Although he was “quiet shy”, the cardinal described Msgr. Tantoco as an “achiever, diligent, and talented”.

“He has a lot of incomparable accomplishments,” said Cardinal Tagle in his homily.

“I thank his immediate family for sharing his life to the church and to the community,” he added.

Msgr. Tantoco was ordained priest for the Diocese of Borongan in Eastern Samar on December 27, 1969 at the Holy Redeemer Church in Quezon City.

In 1985, he was incardinated to the Archdiocese of Manila where he was appointed to head Caritas Manila until 2004.

As executive director, he expanded his work not only in feeding the poor but also in raising their dignity as children of God.

He worked for the collaborative efforts even of international agencies to beef up resources for the poor. It was during his stint that the agency was awarded Ora et Labora Award by the San Beda College in 2003.

Msgr. Tantoco was instrumental in the growth of Knights of Columbus, one the biggest Catholic organizations in the Philippines, where he served as the national secretary from 1968 to 1984.

He was quoted as saying: “I spent the best years of my priesthood with the Knights of Columbus.”

During his active years in the priesthood, the youth also has a special space in his heart and was never got tired of helping them.

For several years, he served as the National Chaplain of the Catholic Youth Organization in the Philippines.

Here are just some of the well-known church service positions that he has held in the past:

? He was the former National Youth Director of the Episcopal Commission on Lay Apostolate in 1982
? He was the President and Administrator of the La Loma Catholic Cemetery
? He was the Vicar General and the Moderator Curiae of the Arzobizpado de Manila
? He is the National Chaplain of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate
? He was the well-loved Executive Director of Caritas Manila, Inc. for many years.

Msgr. Tantoco was buried at the La Loma cemetery in Manila. (CBCPNews)

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