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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 June) – June 26, 1987. Thirty tree years ago today was a sad day for many of us who knew Bishop Bienvenido Tudtud (aka Benny, Tatay Bido), Bishop of the Prelature of Marawi. On that day, the plane he took from Manila to Baguio crashed and he perished along with the other passengers and crew.

While it seemed like another lifetime ago, it also seems like it was just yesterday. Those of us who knew him – respected and felt deep affection for him – as he was our mentor, friend and even “surrogate father,” miss him so much.

I guess each one of us still remember where we were on the day we heard the sad news. I was on a plane leaving Manila for Davao and I wept during that entire flight. And we all felt bad that his body was never recovered so we couldn’t formally say goodbye during a funeral rite.

Bishop Bienvenido Solon Tudtud, first Bishop of the Prelature of Marawi. Father of Interfaith Dialogue in Mindanao.

I can also recall the last time I met him and if only one knew that would have been the last time ….

We were all so privileged having known this really wonderful person, so gentle and funny, generous and affirming! He sang those witty songs, cracked jokes, but also challenged us to take our faith seriously especially in the area of inter-faith dialogue which he pioneered not just in Mindanao but perhaps throughout Asia.

As he was Chair of the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference (MSPC) Board and I was Executive Secretary, we traveled across the breadth and length of Mindanao on his Volkswagen, and there were always stops when he saw an eatery that served ice cream!

While driving, he would sing those standard songs that I had learned from my own father.

In death and in his own witnessing in his life, he remained true to his vision – to build solidarity links between Muslims and Christians.

If there is somebody in Mindanao who should be a candidate for sainthood, Tatay Bido is the one. And yet if ever someone would have suggested this in his presence, he would have quipped – Santo Santito, Corazon Maldito!

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar is a professor at St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SATMI) in Davao City and until recently, a professor of Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University. Gaspar is author of several books, including “Desperately Seeking God’s Saving Action: Yolanda Survivors’ Hope Beyond Heartbreaking Lamentations,” two books on Davao history, and “Ordinary Lives, Lived Extraordinarily – Mindanawon Profiles” launched in February 2019. He writes two columns for MindaNews, one in English (A Sojourner’s Views) and the other in Binisaya (Panaw-Lantaw).]


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