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‘Father of Asian Theology,’ Father Catalino Arevalo, dies at 97

Prominent Filipino Jesuit priest Catalino Arevalo, dubbed the “Father of Asian Theology,” died early morning of Wednesday, January 18, three months before his 98th birthday.

“Our dear mentor and friend, Fr Catalino Arevalo, SJ, whom we fondly called “Fr Revs,” has passed on,” read a note posted on social media by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan.

“May this great teacher to whom we owe our love for theological learning and the spiritual discipline of discernment rest in the peace of God’s embrace,” said the prelate.

In 1998, Father Arevalo was named the “Father of Asian Theology” by the Ateneo de Manila University at a convocation commemorating the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

The university cited the priest’s more than 9,000 pages of theological writings “with an Asian emphasis” in the name of bishops’ conferences and other Church leaders.

The Jesuit was the first Asian on the Holy See’s International Theological Commission and the first convenor and founding member of the Theological Advisory Commission of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

After a 1970 trip to Latin America, Father Arevalo gave the first lectures on liberation theology in the Philippines. That same year he served as a “peritus” (expert) at an Asian bishops’ meeting that would evolve in 1974 into the FABC.

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