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Remembering Msgr. Onie

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Bienvinido P. Cortes



By Bienvinido P. Cortes



Long before the Most Rev. Onesimo C. Gordoncillo, D.D., then 3rd Bishop of the Diocese of Tagbilaran City, Bohol, was assigned in Msgr. Onesimo Gordoncillo, D.D.Capiz in 1986, I had the occasion of knowing him through his Chancellor-conomus Msgr. Eddie H. Fernandez, of the Diocese of Tagbilaran in July of 1986.


It was the late Most. Rev. Antonio F. Frondosa, D. D., When we interviewed him together with SK Rene Aguilar during his retirement at the  Bishop’s Residence at Brgy. Lawa-an, Roxas City.

When we learned that the Most Rev. Antonio F. Frondosa, D. D., is retiring as the first Archbishop of Capiz, I TOGETHER WITH SK Rene Aguilar , interviewed him at the Bishop’s residence in Brgy.Lawaan Roxas City, in April of 1986. We asked him as to who will replace him and he answered us negatively. He said,” I don’t know but I heard somebody from Bohol.” What particular place in Bohol, we said. He said “Tagbilaran”. He showed to us the Directory of all Bishop’s in the Philippines and thru it, we know the name of Bishop Onesimo C. Gordoncillo.

I ask the good archbishop if he knows any background under the other information about the life of Msgr. Gordoncillo. “It’s there in the directory however the info is nil. He suggested to us to write the chancery of Tagbilaran City to know more of the personal profile of the archbishop-designate for Capiz.

We thanked him and that is what I did carrying the name of The Capiz Times.

Here is the text of my letter to the Most Rev. Onesimo C. Gordoncillo, Archbishop’s residence, Tagbilaran, Bohol, dated June 24, 1986, “Most Reverned Sir,We have learned from reliable sources that His Holiness, Pope John Paul II have appointed your humble self as archbishop elect of the archdiocese of Capiz vise the Most Rev. Antonio F. Frondosa who retied at age 77. Congratulations.

We from The Capiz Times would like to play up on your forthcoming investiture as archbishop of Capiz. May we request that you furnished us with your bio-data, your accomplishments as archbishop of Tagbilaran and your 2” x 2” black and white ID picture. May we also know when will be your installation date. Thank you very much. Very truly yours, The Capiz Times, Inc. by Bienvenido P. Cortes, staffmember.”

Here is their reply-letter dated July 21 1986: “Mr. Bienvenido P. Cortes, Staff member, The Capiz Times, Inc., Zamora St., Roxas City, Philippines.

Dear Mr. Cortes, Greetings, This is in response to your letter dated June 24, 1986 requesting for the bio-data and pictures of Archbishop elect Onesimo C. Gordoncillo, D. D. which you are planning to publish in The Capiz Times, Inc.

Enclosed then are the bio-data and photos of our Bishop including the explanation of the Coat of Arms of the Archbishop-Elect. He is too humble of enumerating his accomplishments in our Diocese. This I can say of Him.” Msgr. Onie

“I am saddened by his departure; he is a loss to us but a gain for Capiz. He is a very fine ordinary, understanding, kind supportive, and sensitive to the needs of people. He will surely miss him. On the other hand, we are happy for him. The Church has acknowledge his untiring efforts and hard work in the ministry in this portion of the Lord’s Vineyard. He greatly deserves the promotion as the 2nd Archbishop of Capiz. The Boholonos wish him more success in the ministry. With every best wish and sentiments of high respects, I remain, Sincerely yours in the Lord, (Signed) Rt. Rev. Msgr. Eddie H. Fernandez, H.P.,Chanceller-Economus.”

As promised, we published in The Capiz Times, as headline, “Gordoncillo to be installed Aug. 27,” issue of August 4-10, 1986, by-lined by this writer. I gave him a copy of The Capiz Times and during his Birthday in 1994 I warmly thru a letter dated Feb. 15, 1994, greeted enclosing other clippings I wrote about him I was invited during the launching of his book “ God’s Shepherd Speaks”, a “must” reading for the faithful in the archdiocese of Capiz.

In a letter he sent to me dated February 20, 1994, He wrote, “ Dear Bro. B. Cortes: Thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful birthday greetings and the warm reminder of my talking position of the Archdiocese in 1986 through your article and clipping. God bless you and keep you in His loving heart.”

“Rest assured of my prayers that Jesus always keep you in His love.Msgr. Onesimo Gordoncillo, D.D.

Warm regards to your loving folks at home. God loves you always. “(Signed),

“In the love of the Lord, Mons Onie.”

As member of the knights of Columbus and whenever we went to see him for important matters in his office at the Chancery of the Metropolitan Cathedral he would always welcome us smilingly warm and say, “Fire”, what is it I can do for you.” Maybe, many kapiznons do not know that Msgr. Onie is a Fourth Degree members of the Knights of Columbus since 1965 with /membership No. 0847656, and has served as Faithful Friar in the Archbishop Antonio Frondosa Assembly. ACN 1796, Ferdinand Magellan Province.


Late last year a friend of mine who are slating to get married approached me requesting to help him invite Msgr. Onie to be their main celebrant in their wedding day. I accompanied them to the place of Msgr. Onie near the Bishop’s Residence at Lawa-an, Roxas City It was unfortunate. The security guard said he just left for Bohol. In as much that I was able to secure his cellphone number I text a message to him in Tagbilaran informing him of my friends’ desired to invite him to say the nuptial mass. He said “ Im sorry I cannot be in Roxas City because I will be having a mass at the Tagbilaran Cathedral on the date set for the wedding. “Tell your friends to look for other priests for their wedding he text me. That’s how understanding and humble Msgr. Onie is.

When I learned that he was confined in the Hospital in Manila during the past Months I sent him a text message conveying my prayers for his fast recovery. He said “Imo key, thank you, Ben.” It saddens me that you upon his return to Roxas City I learned a wake of Brother Knight the heunexpectedly passed away in the afternoon of November 9, 2013 where his remains lie in estate at the Carmelite Monastery in Brgy. Lawa-an, Roxas City till his internment at the Immaculate Concepcion Metropolitan Cathedral on November 21, 2013.

As a brother Knignt, I wish to convey my personal condolences to the bereaved family, relatives, friends, the Capiz clergy,. Benefactors of the late Most Rev. Msgr. Onesimo Cadiz Gordoncillo., who is gene to his Maker.


This article was published in TCT Issue #3, November 4 - 10, 2013.

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