A tribute to the late Fr Leonardo Polinar

AT THE WAKE … The late Fr Leonardo Polinar (inset) was laid in state at PACEM Lay Missionary house where Masses were offered every day until the day of his funeral on 4 October

KUCHING — Emmaus Servant Community of Blessed Sacrament Parish recently mourned the loss of their founder and spiritual father, Fr Leonardo Polinar who passed away in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, 25 September.

The Head Servant, Pauline Lim and two other members of the Pastoral Team (the leaders of the Community) flew over to Manila to pay their last respects to the late Fr Polinar, on behalf of the Community and the parish. Fr Lawrence, who knew Fr Polinar well, paid tribute to him during the Mass offered for the repose of his soul. Fr Polinar, through Emmaus Community had made significant contributions to the spiritual life and growth of both Holy Trinity and Blessed Sacrament Parishes.

The charismatic evangeliser and founder breathed his last at the age of 82, after serving the Church for 54 years as a priest of the Diocese of Tagbilaran. As a price for fighting against injustices, he was imprisoned three times during the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos.

Fr Polinar was a renowned speaker. He had been to different parts of the Philippines, other Asian countries (including Malaysia), USA, Europe and Australia for speaking engagements. With the help of his followers and collaborators, he formed more than 300 “servant communities” in the Philippines and abroad. Emmaus Servant Community in Kuching is one of them.

Above all, Fr Polinar, also founded a community of priests, professed brothers and seminarians called ‘PACEM Missionaries’. ‘Pacem’ is the Latin word ‘pax’, which means ‘peace’. It is also the acronym for ‘Pastoral Assistance and Community Education Mission’.

Sometime in 2006, on the prodding of the then Bishop of Tagbilaran, Msgr Leonardo Medroso, PACEM began the arduous preparations of pertinent documents, all in view of its canonical erection as a society of apostolic life of diocesan right. On 9 October 2014, representatives of PACEM went to the Vatican to present their request together with three bishops: Msgr Medroso, Msgr Tumulak and Msgr Antonieto Cabajog.

Finally, on 26 September, the Congresso of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life gave its assent: PACEM is erected as a society of apostolic life of diocesan right. This was the day after Fr Polinar passed away, leaving a legacy of 34 ordained PACEM priests and servant communities all over the world.

By doing so, the Church affirms the authenticity of the charismatic gift received by Fr Polinar for the building of the Church. As people who had worked closely with him, it was a time of deep mourning as he was greatly loved by all those who knew him.

He was a man of great simplicity and humility, a man who truly “walked the talk”!

Emmaus Servant Community

Today’s Catholic Vol.30 No.


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