Oblate priest Prospero Gacis dies
COTABATO CITY – Father Prospero Gacis, one of the early Filipino members of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in the Philippines, died in his sleep Thursday morning, a day after he quietly celebrated his 91st natal day at the Oblates Buldoc Home in Fairview, Quezon City.
Fr. Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, OMI, who has been writing about the life of his Oblate colleagues, said Fr. Gacis, more known among Oblates as “Fr. Pros,” died at 6:10 a.m.
Bro. Noel Garcia, OMI said the remains of Fr. Gacis will be flown Saturday to Tamontaka in Datu Odin, Maguindanao to be buried in the Oblate Cemetery.
Interment will be announced later, he said.
Fr. Gacis had been in the Buldoc Home in Fairview, Quezon City, the OMI’s retirement home for elderly missionaries, since June 1, 2008 after serving most of his life in difficult oblate missions.
He was the third Oblate to have died this year or in the last three months. Fr. Elino Isip and Fr. Manny Mina died on August 6 and August 30, respectively.
Born on October 11, 1926, Fr. Gacis took the road to priesthood in 1949. He was the 9th Filipino to become OMI priest and was ordained in Rome in December 21, 1957.
Fr. Mercado said it was during his second year in high school that Gacis began to experience the religious call. He said Fr. Gacis found the Oblates “very human, warm, outgoing, happy and full of humor.” And he was attracted to the Oblate Cross and the Cincture.
Fr. Gacis’s desire to become an Oblate missionary was inspired by Fr. Gerard Mongeau, the chief of mission of pioneer Oblates (Magnificent 7) arriving in the Philippines in 1939.
Fr. Gacis is the brother of former Defense Undersecretary Feliciano Gacis who served during President Fidel Ramos’ administration.
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