Davao priest Fr. Paul Cunanan died of a heart failure at 3 p.m. of January 19, this year. He was 68. Fr. Cunanan was at the doctor for a check-up at the Mindanao Heart Center, where he was confined and scheduled for a heart operation, when he gave in after to a cardiac arrest.

Since 2004 until his death, he was the director-curator of the Archdiocesan Church Cultural Heritage Commission (ACCHC) at the San Pedro Cathedral Parish compound.

He was born third of the nine siblings to Ildefonsa Donayre and Blas Cunanan on June 3, 1939.

Fr. Cunanan was ordained priest on May 1, 1966. He would have celebrated his 42nd ordination anniversary this year, as one of the two most senior Davao clergy.

He spent the last 40 years of his life in the priesthood, working either as vicar or as parish priest in a nine parishes. Among his earliest assignments were the Sto. Rosario Parish in Malita in 1966-67; the Immaculate Conception Parish in Bansalan, 1967-68; and the Archdiocese of Davao, where he was the parish priest of St. Jude in 1974-76 and of San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in 1978-83.

In 1969, he founded Operation Build-Up (OBU), a movement which aims to develop Christian leadership and citizenship among young people. It was an off-shoot of his seven-year stint as the director of the Archdiocesan Social Action Center (ASAC) of Davao from 1967 to 1974.

He founded the 4L (Love Life Live Love) Mission Foundation, Inc., an advocacy that promotes family, life, community service and scholarship programs.

Since 1977, Fr. Paul was the chaplain of the Sta. Ana Multipurpose Cooperative and a member of the Board of Directors. In 1985, he founded the San Lorenzo Development Cooperative of Talomo.

He was a Datu Bago awardee in 1990 and a recipient of the San Lorenzo for Peace and Unity Awards in 1991.

In 1998, he was the Church delegate to the City Governments Peace & Order Council. He was also involved in the Philippine National Red Cross as board member since 1989. He was also involved in farmers and workers apostolate from 1967 to 1974 and a member of the Association of Voluntary Arbitrators in the Philippines for 10 years (1989-1999).

Fr. Paul holds a masters degree in Oriental Religion and a licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila. He showed his passion for interreligious dialogue and ecumenism when he was appointed director of the Archdiocesan Center for Ecumenical & Interreligious Dialogue (ACEID) from 1996-2000.

(Fr. Russell A. Bantiles Editor-in-Chief / Davao Catholic HERALD)

comments powered by Disqus