Fr. James Reuter, SJ dies at 96

By Ivy Jean Vibar, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Dec 31 2012 02:38 PM | Updated as of Jan 03 2013 05:10 PM

Fr. James Reuter, SJ.

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Fr. James Bertram Reuter Jr., SJ died Monday afternoon. He was 96 years old.

According to CBCP News, Reuter reportedly had a mild stroke four days ago. He passed away on Monday at 12:51 p.m. at the Our Lady of Peace Hospital in Paranaque City.

Gabe Mercado, a friend of Reuter, said in an interview on ANC that the funeral mass will be held for the priest on Saturday morning at the Church of the Gesu in Ateneo de Manila University.

On Twitter, he said that the wake for Reuter will be held at St. Paul's College in Manila, from January 1 until January 2 in the evening. His remains will then be brought to the Church of the Gesu on Thursday morning.

The Ateneo de Manila University expressed its sorrow on Twitter, saying, “The University mourns the passing of Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J., who joined our Creator at 12:51pm today, at the age of 96.”

Malacanang also expressed its sorrow at Reuter’s passing, and said in a statement that “his love of the Philippines and Filipinos was legendary; so much so it earned him a stature and affection beyond the measure of the many awards, both national and sectoral, that he received throughout his long life.”

“We join the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, the generations of alumni of the Ateneo de Manila University, and men and women of media, arts, and letters, who mourn the loss of this man of faith, good cheer, and eloquence.”

Reuter was known for using mass media to educate citizens and spread the teachings of the Catholic Church.

He received numerous citations for his work, including an award from the late Pope John Paul II for “Outstanding Service to the Catholic Church in the field of Mass Media”.

He was also given the 1989 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts.

According to the citation for Reuter at the presentation ceremonies of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards, Reuter, an American, was initially assigned to the Philippines when he was a young religious scholastic.

In 1941, he directed his first stage play and wrote scripts for a Catholic radio program. After his ordination in 1946, he returned to the Philippines and taught in Ateneo de Naga and Ateneo de Manila.

Recognizing the importance of mass media, he helped set up Radio Veritas and struggled to keep Catholic radio stations alive during the Martial Law.

Aside from being a renowned playwright, educator, and media man, he once served as executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media.

He was named an honorary citizen of the Philippines in 1984 by the Batasang Pambansa for his work in the country training artists and leaders in the country.

Reuter hosted “Family Rosary Crusade," a show which was aired on ABS-CBN.