Former philosophy dean Fr. Enrico Gonzales, 73

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FORMER Faculty of Philosophy dean Fr. Enrico Gonzales, O.P., a professor for over four decades whose students included the archbishop of Manila and the apostolic nuncio to Spain, died on Thursday, May 11. He was 73. 

He was confined in a Dagupan hospital on May 10 and “peacefully died in his sleep,” Fr. Felix Legaspi III, O.P., rector of the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag, told the Varsitarian.

“He was regular in his meals and had conversations with his caregiver and attending nurses. He even thanked the diocesan priest who anointed him before lunch on May 11. After lunch on that day, he had his afternoon nap and when the nurses tried to wake him up for his medicine, he did not [respond],” Legaspi said.

“Fr. Rico truly lived and died with a spirit imbued with an immense love for the preaching ministry of the Dominican Order,” he added. 

In a Facebook post, UST said: “We at the University of Santo Tomas pay tribute to the late Professor Emeritus fr. Enrico D. Gonzales, O.P., a beloved teacher and preacher whose lessons and reflections have touched so many over the decades.

Gonzales finished high school at the UST Education High School in 1966. His formation in preaching began at the Third Millennium Aquinas Graduate School in Missouri, United States. 

He began his teaching career by teaching metaphysics in 1978. In 2007, he was appointed dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and served for three years.

Gonzales was the provincial secretary of the Dominican Province of the Philippines from November 2000 to August 2003. He was also a conventual councilor of the Santo Domingo convent in Quezon City for 12 years, from 1978 to 1990. 

He served as the chaplain and first academic head of the College of Arts and Sciences of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Bataan in 2018.

Gonzales authored five books, including “Love Notes from the Seminary” in 2004 and “Siete Palabras: Misteryo ng Buhay” in 2006.

Former Varsitarian staff member Julian Galaura Jr. remembered Gonzales as an instructor of “wisdom and humor” who once taught Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula and Apostolic Nuncio to Spain Archbishop Bernardito Auza. 

Bernard Opinaldo, a brother from the Dominican Province of the Philippines, wrote in a Facebook post that Gonzales “befriended” death and sought it as an avenue for Jesus’s gift of eternal life.

“Alam niyang mamamatay din siya, kaya kinaibigan niya si Kamatayan,” Opinaldo said. “Para sa kaniya, si Kamatayan ay daan lamang tungo sa kanyang tunay na mahal na si Hesukristo na siyang magbibigay sa kaniya ng buhay na walang hanggan.”

The wake and vigil will be held from May 14 to 16 at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City. 

A funeral Mass will be celebrated on May 16 at 9:00 a.m. Gonzales will be interred at the Santuario de Santo Domingo in Quezon City. Ammiel B. Maestrado with reports from Justin Benedict T. Lim

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