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Albay priests mark Bishop Sorra’s death anniversary

By Rhaydz Barcia

Bishop Joel “Bong” Z. Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi and clergy members commemorated the 1st death anniversary of Bishop Emeritus Jose “Mamo Ping” C. Sorra by giving bread to persons deprived of liberty” (PDL) in the province of Albay.

Baylon blessed the bread during the memorial mass intended for the PDL as they remember and pay tribute to Sorra who loved to be with the poor, specifically the prisoners.

Baylon remembered Mamo Ping as a charismatic and prolific writer. “He was a prolific writer gifted with words and love for the poor.”

He mentioned the books written by the late Legazpi bishop specifically the “Feed My Lambs, Tend My Sheep” (2016), the sixth in the Crumbs Book Series of Sorra.

“We continue to reap the fruits of his labor as a shepherd in his lifetime. In his old age and in his death, we learn from him the secret of living. Let us then fondly and prayerfully remember our dear Mamo Ping in our prayers,” he said.

“Living for others is the rule of nature. And therein lies the secret of living. The life of Bishop Jose C. Sorra is a life, wisely spent, lovingly shared, and generously given as a priest and bishop. Let us continue remembering Mamo Ping in our prayers. May he enjoy God’s loving embrace in heaven. Eternal rest, grant unto Mamo Ping, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace,” Baylon added.

BREAD Members of the Albay clergy distributed breads to prisoners or persons deprived of liberty (PDL) in Albay jails to mark the 1st death anniversary of Bishop Jose C. Sorra.

After the memorial mass, Fr. JC Socrates “Totip” Vita ll, spiritual director of diocesan prison ministry and Fr. Don Cervito, assistant prison ministry along with lay people, turned over thousands of breads to over 1,000 PDL in Legazpi City jail, Albay provincial jail, Tabaco, Polangui, and Camalig municipal jails.

“From beads to bread, we remember the 1st death anniversary of the Most Rev. Jose C. Sorra, DD, staunch apostle of our PDLs,” the church officials said.

The late bishop emeritus Jose C. Sorra D.D., was a native of Malinao, Albay, He died on Jan. 21, 2021 at the Tanchuling Hospital in Legazpi City.

He was 92. He served as vice rector and principal, literary moderator of St. Gregory, The Great Minor Seminary in Tabaco, Albay from 1961-1968.

He became parochial vicar of Holy Innocents Parish in Bayonne, New Jersey, USA from 1969-1971. From 1972-74, he became national director of the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines and secretary general of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

He was appointed first Bishop of Virac in Catanduanes province on May 27,1974. He served the diocese for 13 years. From 1974-1986, he was chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth.

On March 1,1993, he was appointed the 4th Bishop of the Legazpi. From 1992 to 1996, he was a member of the CBCP Permanent Council and from 1996 to 2022, he was a member of the NASSA Board, the social action arm of the CBCP, National Secretariat of Social Action, Justice and Peace.

On April 1, 2005, Sorra retired as the prelate of Legazpi and stayed at Bethlehem, a retreat house center located at Barangay Sogod in Bacacay town in Albay.

But even after his retirement, Sorra never stopped pursuing his plans and programs for the least, the lost, the poor and persons deprived of liberty.

During his incumbency as bishop of Legazpi, he organized a welfare plan for the clergy and built the Bethlehem Pastoral and Retreat Center for the continuing formation of the lay and the clergy.

He published books entitled “Crumbs,” a series of reflections on his pastoral life and ministry wherein the proceeds of the book financed the needs of indigent seminarians and out-of-school youth in an effort to provide educational grants and baccalaureate degrees.

Bishop Sorra was laid to rest at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Virac, Catanduanes a year ago.

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