Two former UST officials, former rector Fr. Norberto Castillo, O.P. (left) and former Central Seminary rector Fr. Honorato Castigador, O.P. (right), mark their 50th ordination anniversary with a Mass at Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City on Friday, Sept. 8. (Photo by Valere Jane R. Callorena/ The Varsitarian)

LINGAYEN-DAGUPAN Archbishop Socrates Villegas lauded two Dominican clerics celebrating their 50th ordination anniversary for standing firm in their faith amid times when “God seemed to be so quiet.” 

Villegas said former UST rector Fr. Norberto Castillo, O.P. and UST Central Seminary rector Fr. Honorato Castigador, O.P. faced numerous challenges in their mission to proclaim God’s word.

“For the past 50 years, Fr. Atong and Fr. Norbert have literally risked their lives in every mission entrusted to them,” he said in his homily during Mass for the priests’ golden jubilees at Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City on Friday, Sept. 8. “In every community they lived in, to every strange nationality they had to live with, it was risky, but the Lord was always there to defend them.”

Castillo, a chemist by training, was an awardee of the prestigious Pro Ecclesiae et Pontifice, a papal award conferred on lay people and clergymen for distinguished service to the Church.

Castigador is a canon lawyer who became prior provincial of the Dominican Order of the Philippines (DPP) from 1988 to 1992.

Villegas said both clerics were exposed to vulnerabilities that reinforced the mystery of priesthood.

“There comes a point in our lives when we seem to be risking ourselves and yet we are exposed to calumny. We are exposed to suspicion. We are exposed to lies. We are exposed to gossip. We are exposed to greater risks,” he said. 

That mystery, he said, gave the biggest lesson in their priesthood.

“[I]n the darkness of prayers, we learned how to love. We learned how to be a disciple. We learned how to be a true Dominican,” Villegas said.

“Not all questions have been answered, not all prayers have been replied to, and not all the risks have been removed. But you have stood firm and faithful,” he added. 

Castillo, a former managing editor of the Varsitarian, obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, licentiate in sacred theology, and doctorate in philosophy from the University.

He held multiple administrative posts at UST, including rector for two consecutive terms from 1982 to 1990, director and principal of Angelicum College in Quezon City from 1978 to 1982, dean of the Faculty of Philosophy for two terms from 1994 to 1996 and 2008 to 2012, and vice rector for religious affairs in 2010.

Castillo, 78, also served as vice president and dean of the Dominican-run Colegio de San Juan de Letran from 1976 to 1980. During that period, he was socius or assistant to the prior provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines from 1977 to 1980.

Castigador earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and licentiate in canon law at UST in 1968 and 1975, respectively.

Castigador, 78, is the director of Angelicum School in Iloilo. He has held the position since 2021.

He served as rector of the UST Central Seminary from 2000 to 2005 and Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba from 2005 to 2017.

Their jubilees coincided with the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. S.M.S. Balagan


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