Rev. Fr. Hernando Coja, OAR celebrated the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination in three cities in Cebu and Negros Occidental.
The said priest was ordained on July 15, 1973 in Marcilla, Navarra, Spain.
In all areas, a eucharistic celebration was led by Fr. Coja himself prior to a program and a humble meal. A music video for this particular celebration was also launched.
The first stop was done in Talisay City in Western Visayas on July 10. The mass was conducted at San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish – Recoletos, where the celebrant served for 3 years as the parish priest.
The homilist was Rev. Fr. Anthony Morillo, OAR. He shared that Fr. Coja made three requests namely: (1) to celebrate the mass at the said parish, (2) for Fr. Morillo to be the homilist, and (3) to do the homily in Hiligaynon. All three wishes of the celebrant was granted.
Afterwhich, a thanksgiving dinner was hosted at San Vicente Ferrer Complex located beside the church. It was attended by the surviving family members of Fr. Coja as well as OAR priests, friends, and parishioners.
The next stop was the Oratory of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, beside the University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos (UNO-R). The holy mass on July 11 was attended by UNO-R employees and OAR priests. The homilist was Rev. Fr. Leopoldo Estioko, OAR.
A day before the actual date of his anniversary, a eucharistic celebration was done in the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, The Clean One. It is located beside the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R). Rev. Fr. Emeterio Buñao gave the homily.
A tribute program was done at the USJ-R lobby after the mass. Priests and nuns from multiple Orders came to join the celebration. Friends and former colleagues were also invited.
Fr. Coja has served a combined 37 years of service in USJ-R as of 2023. His administration took the initiative to start the movement of making then Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos into a University. He was also the first elected president of the said educational institution.
Prior Provincial Rev. Fr. Bernard Amparado, OAR called Fr. Coja’s celebration “encouraging” because it sets an example for younger priests that one can last in the vocation if there is perseverance and strong spiritual life.
The three activities were presented by a core group from USJ-R in collaboration with the respective Recollect communities in the areas mentioned.
Written by Lorraine Mitzi Ambrad
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University of San Jose - Recoletos
Year Founded 1947