With the departure of Cardinal Tagle going to Rome last Sunday night, a lot of Filipino Catholics took pride in his new assignment in Rome. Though he is not the first Filipino to be assigned as a top ranking official in the Roman Curia, that honor of being first belongs to the late José Tomás Cardinal Sánchez, who seems to be unknown to many.
Sanchez was a native of Catanduanes and a clergy of the Diocese of Sorsogon. He served as Auxiliary Bishop of Nueva Caceres, Bishop of Lucena, and Archbishop of Nueva Segovia before his appointment to the Roman Curia.
In 1985 he was appointed as Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (where Cardinal Tagle will now serve as Prefect). Then in 1991 he was elevated by Saint John Paul II to the College of Cardinals (the fifth Filipino) and was also appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See until 1996.
Cardinal Sánchez died on March 9, 2012, at the age of 91 (making him the oldest to live among the Filipino Cardinals). He is buried at the crypt of the Cathedral-Shrine of the Good Shepherd in the Diocese of Novaliches.
(From facebook of Xavier Naldoza Apostol).