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Cardinal Sanchez’s remains to be reinterred at his home diocese


Eleven years after his death, the remains of Cardinal Jose Thomas Sanchez will be reinterred at his home diocese of Virac in the island province of Catanduanes. Sanchez’s remains will be reinterred from the crypt of the Novaliches Cathedral in Quezon City to the Virac Cathedral on March 17, his 103rd birthday.

Bishop Manolo de los Santos of Virac credited the late cardinal for being instrumental in fostering priestly vocations in the diocese through his scholarship foundation. The bishop, in a circular release March 10, intimated the diocese’s “fervent prayers” to have the late cardinal’s remains buried in the island of his birth.

BICOL BISHOPS’ MEETING The Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Caceres, which comprises the entire Bicol Region, gathered for their regular meeting on 06-07 March 2023. The Diocese of Masbate hosted the meeting at the Parish of St. Paschal Baylon in San Pascual, Burias, Masbate. From left to right: Daet Bishop Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, DD, Virac Bishop Manolo De Los Santos, DD, Masbate Bishop Jose Bantolo, DD, Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, Libmanan Bishop Jose Rojas Jr , DD, Sorsogon Bishop Jose Alan Dialogo DD and Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon, DD.

(Photo Credit: Diocese of Masbate - Office of Communications )

“After due coordination with Novaliches Bishop Roberto Gaa, the wish shall be finally realized,” the diocese said in a statement. Born in Pandan town where he attended elementary school, Sanchez was ordained priest for the Sorsogon diocese in 1946. As a priest, he carried out an intense pastoral activity in Sorsogon and Legazpi dioceses where for a period was vicar general. At 47, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Caceres on Feb. 5, 1968. He received episcopal ordination on May 12 of that year. On Dec. 12 1972, he was named coadjutor of the bishop of Lucena whom he succeeded on September 25, 1976.

In 1982, he became archbishop of Nueva Segovia and resigned in March 1986, while he was already secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, now known as the Dicastery for Evangelization with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as pro-prefect.

A few days after he was created a cardinal, he was named prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in July 1991, becoming the first Filipino to head a dicastery in the Vatican’s Roman Curia. Sanchez retired in 1996 but stayed in Rome until December 2010 when he returned to the Philippines and chose to live with the Dominican Daughters of the Immaculate Mother in Quezon City.

He died on March 9, 2012, almost a week before his 92nd birthday.


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