THE parish priest of the historic San Agustin Church in Manila’s Intramuros district has died from Covid-19 on Sunday.

Augustinian Fr. Arnold Sta. Maria Cañoza succumbed to coronavirus at the age of 45, according to his religious order.

According to his congregation, Cañoza had been a professed religious in the Order for 14 years.

He first professed his vows in June 2006 and made his solemn profession in February 2011.

Due to the nature of Cañoza’s death, the entire convent community will be on indefinite lockdown starting today.

“Access to the church and convent will be restricted, and operations at the parish office will also be suspended until further notice,” the parish said.

“We ask for your understanding and prayers,” it said

Meanwhile, Good Shepherd Sr. Fidelis Atienza, the ‘mastermind’ behind the city of Baguio’s famous ube jam, died on Saturday, her congregation said.

Sr. Atienza passed away at the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) Community in Quezon City after 66 years of religious life.

She was 102.

It was in the 1960s when the nun started the Marian Bakery and made use of the host cuttings for the “crispies”, the forerunner of the “angel cookies” of today.

Later in 1976, she introduced the ube jam (purple yam), now one of the convent’s best sellers.

“She was the original mastermind behind the ube jam, enabling the congregation to send thousands of youths to school,” the RGS said.

It was in 1951 when Sr. Atienza entered the Noviciate of the Good Shepherd in Los Angeles, California. She made her first profession in 1954, and her final profession in 1957.

Aside from Baguio, her various ministries included dozens of community apostolate in Cebu, Quezon City, Hong Kong, France, Rome, and Tagaytay.

During her long life, she spent most in Maryridge in Tagaytay, accompanying in prayer and counselling the thousands of people who come to the retreat house.

In 2020, few months after her 100th birthday, she was transferred to the Good Shepherd Community in Quezon City.

“She dedicated each moment of her day praying for the needs of the Church and the Congregation,” the RGS said.

“She would ask her caregivers to bring her to the oratory day in and day out, spending most of her hours in quiet communion with the Good Shepherd whom she adored all her life.”

“The children in the compound were very fond of their oldest playmate; she was a delight and a source of joy to everyone whom she met,” it said.

Sr. Atienza, her congregation added, never considered herself ill or infirmed towards the last years of her life.

“Her hands were never weary, she would be seen cutting and collecting plastic wastes and turning them into eco-bricks until her shoulders ache from using scissors,” the RGS also said.

Her cremains will be at the chapel of Good Shepherd Convent along Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City. Wake and services are in private.

Inurnment will be at Good Shepherd Columbary, also in Quezon City, to be announced on a later date.

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