STA. ANA, Cagayan, March 9, 2016 – A Filipino priest based in Northern Luzon considers the passing of his friend and confrere, Fr. Giovanni Piva, a poignant end of an “era” in the history of the Franciscans in the Philippines, one dominated by Franciscan missionaries from Italy.
“His death closes a chapter in the history of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and of the Franciscan mission as well. Fr. Giovanni belonged to the last wave of the OFM-Franciscan Missionaries from Italy,” noted Fr. Alvin Paras, regional vicar of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) in Cagayan Valley, in a statement.
While the whole Franciscan Province of San Pedro Bautista mourns the Italian’s demise, Paras called on those who knew Piva personally to remember his charity and the love he had for the poor and the needy.
Friend of the poor
“He was a very charitable person, a philanthropist who helped poor parishioners send their children to school. Some of them are already professionals now and have stable jobs,” he said.
Piva was born Aug. 14, 1938 in Italy. Ordained in November 1970, he has been priest for 46 years and spent his last assignment in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.
According to Paras, the Italian missionary loved the sea and had a passion for fishing, especially in his prime.
“As a priest, he served in all five parishes in the vicariate of Santa Ana in the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. As a Franciscan brother, he was very welcoming and enjoyed long conversations. He was a sociable and gracious,” he added.
46 years a priest
Piva died Sunday, March 6, at around 4:40 a.m. in Cagayan. He was 77.
Citing the reports of attending physician Dr. Gerado Pagaddu Jr., Br. Angel Ace Cortez shared the Piva’s death was caused by cardiogenic shock.
His interment is scheduled on March 18, Friday, 9 a.m., at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Sta. Ana, Cagayan.
Cortez said a sibling of Piva is expected to fly in from Italy to attend his burial. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)