[Blueboard] Death of Fr. Vitaliano "George" R. Gorospe, S.J.

President's Office aseus at admu.edu.ph
Tue Jan 29 13:38:11 PHT 2002


                                                                                                                    29 January 2002

Memo to:    The University Community
       From:    The President
   Subject:    Death of Fr. Vitaliano "George" R. Gorospe, S.J.



IN YOUR PRAYERS, please remember

Fr. Vitaliano "George" R. Gorospe, S.J.
Professor, former Chairman, Department of Theology
Father of "Theology of Liberation" at the Ateneo de Manila University

        Fr. Gorospe passed away at 3:20 p.m., Monday, 28 January 2002 at the Jesuit Residence of the Ateneo de Manila University. He was 76 years old. Fr. George entered the Society of Jesus on 30 July 1942 and was ordained a priest on 16 June 1956.

        Fr. George will be waked at the College Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Gonzaga Hall, Loyola Schools until Thursday, 31 January.

        Regular Mass schedule at the Immaculate Conception Chapel: 
                                    Tuesday/Thursday – 6:55 am, 12 noon and 5:15 pm
                                    Wednesday – 6:55 am, 11:30 am and 12:30 pm

        The body will be transferred to the Oratory of Saint Ignatius, Loyola House of Studies after the 6:55 am Mass on Thursday, 31 January at the College Chapel. Daily concelebrated wake Masses will be held at 8:00 pm both at the College Chapel and at the Loyola House.

        The funeral Mass has been scheduled for 8:00 am, Friday, 1 February 2002 at the Oratory of Saint Ignatius. Interment follows immediately at Sacred Heart Novitiate Cemetery, Novaliches, Quezon City.

        Fr. George is survived by his sister, Sr. Mary Vitalis Gorospe, R.G.S. and brothers Bienvenido (AA'49 LLB'53) & Ernesto (AB'53).

        Below, please find:
                1) Theology brief on Fr. Gorospe (16 January 2000)
                2) Write-up by Dr. Ma. Christina A. Astorga (28 January 2002)

                                                                                                                      BIENVENIDO F. NEBRES, S.J.


        Fr. Gorospe obtained his Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Woodstock College and his doctorate degree in Philosophy from St. Louis University, Missouri. He also studied ethics at Harvard University in Boston. His distinguished 37 years of service in the Ateneo de Manila University covers a broad span of his academic endeavors. He worked in the general areas of Moral Philosophy and Theology, then on the more focused area of Social Justice and Liberation Theology. He is also involved in the areas of Religious Education , Spirituality, and Popular Religiosity.

        His first book, Catechism on the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, was published while he was still a scholastic. When the Theology of Liberation was born in South America with the publication of Gustavo Gutierrez' pioneer and world-famous book on Liberation Theology, Fr. Gorospe, as the Chairperson of the Theology Department at that time, introduced the Theology of Liberation course. This course was voted the most relevant Theology course in a survey by a generation of graduating seniors and became the inspiration and motivation of the Immersion Program of seniors, which was the beginning of the Jesuit Volunteers of the Philippines. He has been involved in exposing students and others to the Filipino religiosity which is the religion and spirituality of majority of Filipinos, and is currently doing research in Environmental Spirituality. One can only marvel at the range of his involvement which had institutional impact on the University.

        Fr. Gorospe, together with Fr. Nebres, then College Dean, Fr. Hontiveros, and Fr. Kreutz spent a whole month of direct immersion among the poor farmers in Laguna. The exposure laid the foundations of the Office of Social Concern and Involvement, the principal implementing arm of the Ateneo Immersion Program. Fr. Gorospe recently published the first and only Social Theology College Textbook, entitled Forming The Filipino Social Conscience which is about to go into its third edition. This book is one among his many writings. He has a huge volume of publications from 1954 to 1998, evidence of his prolific writings which have reached a wide reading audience. He has, as of this date, 113 publications, ranging from books and articles in journals, both local and international, and in other media. He is a well known writer, whose books and writings have contributed to the Christian formation and education of generations of Filipinos, truly a distinguished service in the Philippine Church.

        Fr. George's impact on his students in the past many decades is shown in the warm friendship and affection of many of his former students. for him. He is one Jesuit who is able to draw huge alumni support for any project or undertaking he engages in. In June 1993, he was honored with the creation of the Gorospe Professorial Chair in Theology. In the past many years, he has committed himself to raising funds for the Theology Faculty Formation and Development. When the alumni look back to their years in the Ateneo, Fr. Gorospe as their teacher is one of their most cherished memories. He is remembered as the grinning, bouncing, vivacious teacher, author, priest, Jesuit, who has given himself to all his students, fellow teachers, and companions so unselfishly and irrepressibly.

        He is a beloved wisdom figure in the University, one who is a witness to the unfolding of its history, its lights and shadows, its joys and pains. He gives life to the Jesuit Catholic Tradition that has shaped the spirit of the University, as he continues to teach the young with a vigor and stamina unusual of a man who is now in his sunset years. He stands as one of the University's endearing and enduring pillars.


        When alumni look back to their years in the Ateneo, having Fr. Gorospe as their teacher is one of their most cherished memories. A grinning, joking, laughing Fr. George, as he is fondly called, fills their remembering. Beneath his jovial and vivacious demeanor, however, is a teacher's seriousness and purposefulness in inspiring and challenging them to be men and women of faith, justice, and compassion.

        His 40 years of distinguished service cover the broad span of his academic endeavors in Moral Philosophy, Liberation Theology, Religious Education, Spirituality, and Popular Religiosity. The sheer volume of his publications is astounding, evidence of his prolific writings which have reached a wide reading audience. His works have contributed to the Christian formation and education of many generations of Filipinos--a distinguished service for the Church in the Philippines.

        He is a beloved wisdom figure in the Ateneo University, a witness to the unfolding of its history, its lights and shadows, its joys and pains. As the University moves to the future, he will be remembered as one of its most endearing and enduring pillars. In his generous and happy gift of himself as a priest, teacher, and friend, his memory shall live on in many hearts.

        He who is God's faithful servant and priest had lived a life as full as his laughter was rich, and as his love was deep. To have known and loved him is our special grace.

                                                                                                            Dr. Ma. Christina A. Astorga 
                                                                                                            Theology Department
                                                                                                            January 28, 2002
                                                                                                            Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

Notes of condolence may be sent to Fr. George's sister, Sr. Mary Vitalis Gorospe, R.G.S. [Good Shepherd Provincialate, 1043 Aurora Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City] or brothers, Atty. Bien R. Gorospe [Rm. 471, 1169 Marlet St., San Francisco, CA 94103-1527] and Mr. Ernesto R. Gorospe [1551 Southgate Ave., #355 Daly City, CA 94015-2219].
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