Vatican City (AsiaNews) Card Ricardo J. Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu (Philippines), was born on 6 February 1931 in Mogpoc.
He was ordained in 1956 and became bishop in 1971.He was named Archbishop of Lipa in Batangas in 1973 and elevated to the rank of cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of 1985, of the Title of Sts Peter and Paul in Via Ostiense.
He served as president of the Bishops' Commission for Vocations within the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines which he also chaired from 1985 to 1987.
In 1986 he advocated setting aside the first Sunday of Lent to workers forced to leave, i.e. migrants.
For this reason, he pushed the Filipino government to "recognise the sacrifices of all those who had to leave to improve the lives of those who stayed behind".
In 2001, on the Day of the Migrant he told 1,500 workers that "we cannot forget that God has plans for your lives. We should not be too preoccupied with money, lest we forget that it can undermine the family which must remain the basis of our efforts."
The Filipino press named him in 1991 the country's "Man of Peace" for his words and deeds in favour of peace and public order,
The Sun Star Daily, which awarded the prize, wrote that "in his quiet way of doing things the cardinal has really helped achieve democratic elections and allowed business interests, civil society and the military to live in peace".
This happened when the prelate got directly involved in a bloody clash between the armed forces and pro-Marcos rebels during a 1989 coup attemptwas instrumental in preventing the violent occupation of an air force base on Matan Island in north-eastern Philippines.
Cardinal Vidal is member of the congregations for the Evangelisation of Peoples and of Catholic Education. He is also a member of the Pontifical Councils of Health-Care Workers and the Family.
With 71 million faithful out of a population of 86 million, the Philippines are the most populous Catholic country in Asia. (VFP)