By Roy Lagarde
A Filipino Augustinian missionary in Spain has passed away due to complications from the coronavirus, CBCP News reported on May 2, 2020.
Father Gilbert Luis Centina III, an award-winning author, and poet died in the city of León in northwest Spain on May 1. He was 72.
Centina formerly belongs to the Spanish Augustinian Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines before he was assigned to different missions abroad.
In Spain, he first served in the Augustinians houses in Neguri and Loui from April 2013 until July 2019. He was last assigned at the Colegio de Nuestra Madre del Buen Consejo in León.
As a celebrated Catholic author and poet, among his accolades include his winning the Palanca Memorial Awards, the country’s highest literary honor, in English poetry in 1975. In 1983, he also received the Focus Magazine literary award in English poetry.
He was the author of five poetry collections: Getxo and Other Poems, Triptych and Collected Poems, Somewhen, Glass of Liquid Truths, and Our Hidden Galaxette.
His first novel, Wages of Sin, a roman a clef written under a nom de guerre, was published in Honolulu in 1988.
Fr. Centina also served in the Augustinian Vicariate in Iquitos, Peru from 1976 to 1978 and as pastor of the Holy Rosary Church in New York from 2007 to 2010.
The Augustinian friar was also the former school chaplain of Colegio San Agustin – Makati and pastor at San Jose Parish in Iloilo City.
In the presence of his Augustinian community, Fr. Centina was laid to rest on the same day he died at a public cemetery in León.
Last March, a 71-year-old Filipina Benedictine nun also succumbed to Covid-19 in Spain, the second worst-hit country in the world after the U.S.
Sr. Maria Gratia Balogot, who was superior of their community in India, contracted the virus while on a short visit to Spain to renew her visa.
As of May 2, Spain registered more than 215,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with around 24,800 deaths.
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