The public bid retired Archbishop Fernando Capalla a final farewell on Monday as he was laid to rest in the southern city of Davao, nine days after he died at age 89.
Hundreds of faithful packed the Davao Cathedral for the funeral service in honor of “the bishop of peace and dialogue”.
His successor, Archbishop Romulo Valles, presided over the Mass, with Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, the archbishop emeritus of Cotabato, serving as the homilist.
In his homily, Quevedo said that peace and dialogue were the “hallmarks” of the life of Capalla, who served as Davao archbishop from November 1996 until his retirement in February 2012.
“The holiness of Archbishop Capalla is made up of Gospel values: mutual respect and understanding, friendships with peoples of other faith, respecting differences, and building convergence among different faiths,” he said.
Capalla served as CBCP president from November 1996 to February 2012, at which time he was on the central committee of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).
Aside from being an FABC central committee member from 2003 to 2005, he was a member of the FABC Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs (OEIA) from 2000 to 2005.
In 2006, he became the chairman of the FABC OEIA until 2012.
In the CBCP, before becoming its president, he chaired the Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue and Episcopal Commission on Ecumenical Affairs.
More notably, he was appointed a member of the Vatican Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue and served for many years.
In a message, Pope Francis lauded the archbishop’s “dedicated episcopal ministry, particularly his pastoral charity and commitment to promoting interreligious dialogue”.
Capalla is also known as co-founder of the Bishops-Ulama Conference, an interreligious organization aimed at fostering understanding between Muslims and Christians in Mindanao.
Several church leaders from different dioceses attended the service, including Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila and Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, who is also the president of the Episcopal Conference.
Some public figures were also seen at the cathedral, including former president Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
After the Mass, Capalla was laid to rest at the cathedral’s “Dormitium De San Pedro”.