TARLAC Bishop Enrique Macaraeg, a UST Central Seminary alumnus, died in his hometown in Pangasinan on Monday, Oct. 23, after suffering “from an apparent cardiac arrest” while playing basketball. He was 67. 

His death was confirmed by the Diocesan Commission on Social Communication of the Diocese of Tarlac.

“The Diocese of Tarlac mourns the sudden death of our bishop,” it said in a Facebook post. “With grief and sadness in our hearts, we ask to continue to pray for his eternal repose.”

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas also relayed the news of his fellow bishop’s death to the news service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Macaraeg first served at the archdiocese when he was ordained priest in 1979.

Central Seminary alumnus Lloyd Pagulayan wrote in a Facebook post that the prelate “died doing what he loves most: playing his favorite sports.” Macaraeg had played in numerous basketball exhibition games.

Videos of Macaraeg collapsing at a basketball tournament in his hometown of Malasaqui, Pangasinan, circulated online following the announcement of his death, but the Diocese of Tarlac appealed to online users not to share them.

“In respect to the family and to Bishop Macaraeg, please refrain from sharing [the video],” it said in a Facebook post on Oct. 23. “Advise others also to just keep it private and not post it publicly on their walls.”

Macaraeg was only the third bishop of the Diocese of Tarlac since its establishment in 1963 after succeeding his fellow Thomasian, Bishop Emeritus Florentino Cinense, who served for 28 years. The late prelate had been in office since 2016.

He earned his bachelor’s in philosophy in 1974, licentiate in philosophy in 1976, and bachelor’s in theology in 1979 from the UST Central Seminary. In 2016, he finished his master’s in oriental studies at the UST Graduate School.

Born on Dec. 28, 1955, Macaraeg served three positions besides leading the Diocese of Tarlac: chair of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, and parish priest of St. Ildefonse Parish in Malasiqui, Pangasinan.

Throughout his four-decade priesthood, he was assigned to different capacities, including dean of San Pablo Seminary in Baguio City and parish priest at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Quezon City.

While in Pangasinan, he sat as school director of Santo Tomas School in Mangaldan, St. John Cathedral School in the City of Dagupan, the Catholic School of Malasiqui, and St. Charles Academy in the City of San Carlos. He also served as director of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Clergy, diocesan director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, and zonal vicar.

With Macaraeg’s death, seven dioceses in the country are now sede vacante, or a diocese without an appointed bishop, including Alaminos, Pangasinan; Baguio City; Gumaca, Quezon; Balanga, Bataan; Ipil, Zamboanga; and San Pablo City, Laguna.

His remains lie at San Sebastian Cathedral Parish in Tarlac. A requiem Mass will be offered on Oct. 25 and 26 at 5:30 p.m. Sheila May S. Balagan


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.