Former Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi. Photo courtesy of CBCP News
MANILA - Caceres Archbishop Emeritus Leonardo Legaspi passed away on Friday morning after years of battling lung cancer, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said. He was 78.
Legaspi died at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Hospital at 5 a.m., a CBCP News report said.
Archdiocese of Caceres' Social Communications Director Fr. Louie Occiano said Legaspi succumbed to lung cancer.
"Known for his deep devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Bicolandia's patroness, Archbishop Legaspi spent hours before the miraculous icon praying he survive the disease until after the 300th anniversary celebration of the devotion in September 2010. He was found to be suffering from lung cancer in 2009," the report said.
Legaspi, a native of Meycauayan, Bulacan, was the first Filipino rector of the UST from 1971 to 1977.
He was appointed Archbishop of Caceres on October 20, 1983. He retired on September 8, 2012 at age 76.
Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr. described the late archbishop as "a giant among bishops -- a leader with vision and integrity and with huge achievements, especially initiating and leading the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines."
Legaspi was the one who led the country to Church renewal as president of the Second Plenary Council in 1991 when he served President of the CBCP from 1987 to 1991, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo added.
His remains lie in state at the UST Chapel until Monday, August 11, and at the Basilica of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City from Monday to Wednesday, August 13.
He will be buried at the Santuario de Santo Domingo after Mass at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Fund for Retired and Sick priests during the funeral wake in Naga City or The Fund for the Educational Assistance of the Seminarians of the Dominican Province of the Philippines during the funeral wake in Manila.
Legaspi's family and friends, as well as Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria-Tirona, and the Brothers of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, request prayers for his eternal rest.