The First Bishop of Pasig dies at 79

bishop san diego

 By: Conrad Alvez

St. Andrew was the one who introduced his brother Peter to Jesus. He became a disciple of the great St. John the Baptist but when John pointed to Jesus, Andrew understood and at once left John to follow the Divine Master.  In the Bible, they are called Jesus’ disciples until the Lord’s ascension into heaven, then they are referred to as apostles. An apostle was one of Jesus Christ‘s 12 closest disciples, chosen by him early in his ministry to spread the gospel after his death and resurrection.  Peter and Andrew were both fishermen. The Lord called them to stay with him to make them fishers of men.

The same calling was received by our beloved His Excellency, Most Reverend Francisco Capiral San Diego, Bishop Emeritus of Pasig.  Bishop San Diego is also an apostle like Peter and Andrew.  By virtue of his Sacerdotal and Episcopal Ordination, he was commissioned and sent to preach the gospel and do evangelistic work.

Pasig City (October 10, 1935-August 26, 2015).  “Cause of death of Bp San Diego at 4:49am today is cardiac arrest while in his sleep.  Died in Cardinal Santos Hospital at the age of 79…,” recounts Bishop Mylo Vergara. D.D., Bishop of Pasig.

Francisco Capiral San Diego was born on October 10, 1935 at Lawa, Obando, Bulacan. He spent his elementary years at Obando Elementary School, and was a high school salutatorian at Western Colleges in Naic, Cavite. As a response to the call to priesthood, he underwent Special Latin Course at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary, then proceeded to San Carlos Seminary for his philosophical and theological studies. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 21, 1963 by the late Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, Most Rev. Hernando Antiporda.

San Diego was appointed the following year as parochial vicar of the present-day Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, after which in 1971, he succeeded as parish priest. He worked for the Metropolitan Matrimonial Tribunal of Manila from 1964 to 1983. He entered UST to study CANON LAW in June 1976to fulfill the wish of Cardianl Santos.  It was Cardinal Sin who sent him to study.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1977, got his Licenttieature in 1978 and Doctorate Degree in 1979. From 1977 to 1979, he was vicar forane of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Vicariate. He obtained his Licentiate in Canon Law, cum laude, in 1979 from the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, with his thesis entitled Those Who Practice Psychosexual Anomaly Cannot Contract A Valid Marriage. He spent some years teaching at San Carlos Seminary in Makati City and Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Novaliches, Quezon City, and was appointed Episcopal Vicar of the Ecclesiastical District of Makati. Fr. San Diego was named parish priest of San Felipe Neri Parish in Mandaluyong City in 1981. That same year, he was named Monsignor with the dignity of Honorary Prelate by the late Pope John Paul II.

On August 10, 1983, he was consecrated bishop by the late Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Bruno Torpigliani. He served as Coadjutor Apostolic Vicar of Palawan from 1983 to 1987, and apostolic vicar from 1987 to 1995. He had fixed clergy matters especially renumeration in Palawan. He ordered that Seminarians must undergo pre-diaconal program.  From 1983 to 1985, he served as pastor of St. JosephParish in Narra, Palawan. He too served as rector of Seminario de San Jose in Puerto Princesa City from 1985 to 1988.

He succeeded Most Rev. Pedro Bantigue of Laguna in 1995, becoming the second bishop of the Diocese of San Pablo. While serving the local church of Laguna, he built a new Bishop’s Residence and Chancery Office in San Pablo City.

Pope John Paul II appointed San Diego as first bishop of Pasig in August 21, 2003.  He facilitated the construction of the Bishop’s residence, improvement & expansion of the Diocese of Pasig Cemetery, created funds for the retirement plans for the Clergy of The Diocese of Pasig.

On December 21, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI finally accepted San Diego’s retirement as Bishop of Pasig, in compliance with Canon 401, Paragraph 1 of the Code of Canon Law requiring bishops to submit their resignation upon reaching the mandatory age of 75. Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, concurrently Archbishop of Manila, was named Apostolic Administrator of the diocese. On April 20, 2011, the Pope named Most Rev. Mylo Hubert Claudio Vergara, bishop of San Jose in Nueva Ecija and a native of Pasig, as new bishop of Pasig.

Today, August 26, 2015 at around 4:30 in the afternoon, Bishop Mylo officiated the welcome Rite of Reception for +His Excellency Most Reverend Francisco C. San Diego, D. D, Bishop Emeritus of  Pasig saying,  “ Indeed Bishop San Diego received the victory of God… he entered his Cathedral not as a corpse but as a soul welcomed by God to eternal life.”