MAKATI City, Nov. 15, 2011?Even as they gather in excitement for the celebration of the National Youth Day 2011, delegates also mourned the sudden death of San Fernando, La Union Bishop Artemio Rillera, SVD.
NYD delegates offered some moments of prayerful silence as a sign of respect to the deceased bishop.
CBCPNews reported that the bishop complained of asthma attacks after celebrating Sunday Mass at the Sacred Heart Seminary of San Fernando City, La Union. He was immediately rushed to the hospital for treatment but it was reported that he was dead-on-arrival (DOA) at 10:40 that morning of November 13.
“The death of Bishop Rillera is a great loss for the Church because he [was] a bishop of the young. He [was] a true Jesus for the young and to his flock in La Union,” Rene Paguirigan diocesan youth leader of Laoag stressed.
Jetrix Tenebro, the regional youth coordinator of Northern Luzon also expressed shock on the sudden death of the bishop.
“Knowing how he relates with people, I had always felt that there was a personal touch on his approach to people. He has always emphasized the importance of the mission and many have been inspired [by] his life as a missionary. He [was] a simple man,” Tenebro said.
Aside from his advocacy against illegal drugs, Bishop Rillera was also known as active supporter of the youth. At the recent Sub-Region Youth Ministers Conference, the bishop opened his diocese for the young people of Ilocandia Sub-Region which composed of the dioceses of Bangued, Laoag, and San Fernando, and the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia.
Because of his achievements, the La Union provincial government has awarded him the Saranay Award in 2009, the highest award given to a resident of La Union. (Mark Vertido/YPNews)