A Catholic priest in the central Philippine city of Cebu received the highest award by the local government of Cebu on Sunday, June 12.
The city council has moved to confer the Order of Rajah Humabon Award on Msgr. Rodolfo “Rudy” Villanueva for his music and literary achievements.
The award “is only given to individuals, regardless of nationalities, who have done gratuitous acts of extreme magnitude to the general citizenry,” said a report on CBCP News.
Msgr. Villanueva was conferred the Order of Rajah Humabon Award in a ceremony at the San Carlos Seminary.
Ordained priest in 1963, Msgr. Villanueva is known as an award-winning literary writer, fictionist, and playwright.
He received literary distinctions such as the Don Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature, particularly for his short collection, “Southern Harvest,” and the 2003 Umpil Gawad Alagad ni Balagtas.
Aside from being a prolific literary writer under the pseudonym Renato Madrid, he is also a composer, pianist, and icon of liturgical music.
The 81-year-old priest is the composer of several collections of Church music widely used in Visayas and Mindanao, such as “Cancionero Cebuano,” “Twenty-Four Masses,” “Salterio Cebuano,” and the three-volume, “Festive Series.”
He also wrote novels that combine sociology and religion such as “Devil Wings” and “Mass for the Death of an Enemy,” published in 1997 and 2000, respectively, by the Ateneo de Manila University Press.
In 2021, the priest was nominated for the National Artist Award for literature and theater.