Church officials mourn demise of Fr. Reuter

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MANILA, Dec. 31, 2012—Catholic Church officials expressed deep sadness over the death of Jesuit priest Fr. James Reuter.

“I am very sorry to hear of his death. He was a very pious and exemplary Jesuit priest who was always wearing his sotana, the habit of Jesuits,” said Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon.

“He was a great communicator of the Good News of Jesus, using modern media, even musicals, plays and movies,” the bishop said.

Though an American, Bastes said, Reuter loved the Philippines and considered himself a Filipino.

“We Pinoys will surely miss Fr. James Reuter. He will continue to direct plays and musicals in heaven,” added Bastes.

For his part, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said: “We lost a very upright person, a real servant of God, a faithful and truthful media person. We will miss him who is surely with God.”

The most familiar face and voice on radio, television and stage over the past decades has “signed off” Monday at Our Lady of Peace Hospital, a hospital he built to serve the poor in the area, in Paranaque City. He was 96.

Rural Mimeo Press

CBCP Media Office director Msgr. Pedro Quitorio described Reuter as a “communicator par excellence.”

Quitorio also recalled Reuter’s role in utilizing the media even during the Martial Law.

“He will be remembered for initiating the Rural Mimeo Press during the Martial Law and, later, in facilitating the establishment of radio stations in many dioceses throughout the country,” he said.

Reuter served the longest as executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media (ECSCMM).  He also chaired the National Office of Mass Media for decades.

His close associate Cherry Aquino said Reuter had a stroke last December 27.

Renowned playwright, educator, and media man

Former CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said among Reuter’s unforgettable talents was being a stage director.

“As a young priest, I presented some of Fr. Reuter’s one-act plays to the joy of seminarian-actors,” Lagdameo said.

“He was an actor-director, a preacher and retreat master,” he said.

Asked of his condition last Dec. 29, Aquino said Reuter has not responded verbally though his vital signs were still good.

She added the “Reuter Babies” were praying the Holy Rosary for his recovery every 3 and 6 p.m.

Fr. Francis Lucas, current ECSCMM executive secretary said Reuter was “kind and gentle” and “quite dedicated to his work.”

“The only time we can rest is when we die,” Lucas recalled Reuter’s work ethic.

The late missionary also fought for the truth, especially on matters about faith, Lucas added.   (Melo M. Acuna/CBCPNews)

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