Antipolo parishioners bade farewell to Bulacan priest Rev. Msgr. Sabino Vengco, Jr. who continued to hold Masses for 14 years in the cathedral in spite of his retirement.
The life of the beloved priest was remembered in a series of Requiem Masses held at the National Shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City, Wednesday morning (May 19).
He had served as a guest priest of the Antipolo church, celebrating the 6 p.m. anticipated Sunday Mass every Saturday.
The casket bearing the remains of Monsignor Vengco, 79, was carried by a group of priests led by Fr. Reynante Tolentino, the shrine rector, to the white funeral car which would bring him to Bulacan, his home province.
Fr. Tolentino told Manila Bulletin that it was the first time in recent history of the cathedral that nine Requiem Masses, from May 18 until May 19, were held in the Antipolo church for a priest who belonged to another diocese.
All of the Masses were aired live on the Facebook page of the Antipolensis, the Facebook page of the Diocese of Antipolo.
The rites were officiated by Vengco’s former students and co-theology professors, and attended by parishioners and priests coming from various dioceses.
Vengco, Jr. started celebrating Masses at the cathedral in 2007 following the request of his former student in the seminary, Monsignor Rigoberto de Guzman, who was then the shrine’s rector.
He officiated his last Mass at the shrine on the second Saturday of March, this year.
He was able to share his testimony as a pilgrim and a Marian devotee in a video on YouTube titled “Ang Kwentong Antipolo Pilgrimage ni Monsignor Sabino Vengco, Jr.”, which is about the testimonies of pilgrims of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.
In the video, Msgr. Vengco, a Mariologist and an excellent theologian as described by Fr. Tolentino, narrated how he came to know and started his devotion to the brown image of the Virgin Mary, who is referred to by pilgrims as the Virgin of Antipolo, through his research and studies about the Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of Mexico.
Vengco became popular among Antipolo parishioners and mass goers, including this reporter and his family, because of his homilies which he delivered in clear voice and mostly in Tagalog.
Fr. Tolentino said the monsignor will be remembered as a model who, in spite of his age and retirement, had chosen to be active in his ministry until his final days.
He was also active in the Kadiwa Sa Pagkapari Foundation, Incorporated, an organization that cares for the elderly and sick diocesan priests and professor in theology in several institutions.
He was a recipient of several awards because of his ministry, pastoral works, and his books and articles.
From the Antipolo Cathedral, Vengco’s wake will be held at the Malolos Cathedral from May 19 to May 21. The funeral Mass will be held at 1 p.m. at the National Shrine of Saint Anne in Hagonoy, Bulacan, his hometown; followed by his interment at the Libingan ng mga Paring Taga Hagonoy.
For those who would like to watch Monsignor Vengco speaking about his Marian devotion, the link to the YouTube video can be accessed here:https://youtu.be/mOR_UmRyFyg.