HomeDiocesan ReportsBishop Lunas ‘knew his death was coming’

Bishop Lunas ‘knew his death was coming’

Bishop Ronald “Bong” Lunas’ sudden death shocked the Church, but a prelate close to him revealed that he seemed to have anticipated it.

The Pagadian bishop passed away yesterday while recovering from a heart bypass operation at a private hospital in the city of Davao.

His diocese said the prelate died of complications after his surgery. He was 57.

Speaking at a requiem Mass, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao opened up about Luna’s death, revealing “that it seems he knew death was coming”.

“They told me he prepared for his funeral Mass… he prepared his vestment for that Mass,” Valles said in his homily at the chapel of St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary (REMASE) in Davao City on Tuesday evening.

The archbishop also said that Lunas even had a preferred portrait for his wake and funeral.

“He was prepared for it,” Valles asserted.

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Gifted teacher, formator

The former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines expressed how “painful” it was for them to lose “a brother who gave us such an extraordinary example of gentleness, compassion and patience”.

He also described Lunas as “a very gifted teacher and formator”, who shared his “deep teachings” in a way that “made it easy for us to love the Gospel”.

After his further theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1996, Lunas was assigned for several years as professor and dean at REMASE.

“We take this sadness with faith and Bishop Bong would like it to be that way,” Valles added. “With this pain and sorrow, the best we can do is to pray.”

‘Young and promising bishop’

Messages of grief and sympathy poured in from various dioceses, and even bishops from outside the country expressed their condolences after Luna’s death was announced.

The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) said that the death of “a young and promising bishop” is a loss not only for the Church in the Philippines “but also for the Church in Asia”.

“Sad news as a new year begins,” said Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon and president of FABC in a letter to the CBCP.

“The FABC has informed all of the FABC members and has requested prayers and Masses for him,” he said.

As chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), Lunas was among the local Church’s delegates at the FABC general conference in Bangkok in 2022.

The bishop’s funeral Mass is scheduled for Jan. 11 at the Sto. Niño Cathedral in Pagadian City, where he will be buried beside the church.

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