by Joel V. Ocampo
“Kapag dumarating tayo, nagiging parang ilaw ba tayo na nagbibigay tuwa sa iba o parang brownout na nagbibigay lungkot?” +Bishop Victor C. Ocampo (02/02/20)
We include in our prayers the eternal repose of His Excellency, Most Rev. Victor C. Ocampo, D.D., Bishop of Gumaca, who died from a heart attack at 5:58 p.m. today (March 16, 2023).
Early Life of Bishop Vic
According to his sister, Bishop Ocampo was born on March 6, 1952, in Angeles City, Pampanga. His parents were Salvador Ocampo and Benjamina Dela Cruz. He studied elementary at Holy Family Academy, and served as an altar boy in Holy Rosary Parish, both in Angeles City.
His seminary life started at the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary where the Most Rev. Paciano B. Aniceto, D.D. Archbishop-Emeritus of San Fernando became one of his professors. Archbishop Aniceto described him as “a very jolly student, with good fraternal relationship with fellow seminarians.” Archbishop Aniceto also remarked that this quality of Bishop Vic will manifest in his pastoral ministry. Bishop Vic studied Philosophy and Theology at San José Seminary in the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City where he was described as “a very dedicated seminarian who submits reflection papers and thesis before the deadline, spends time often in the library, and able to discern what is right despite the many ‘voices’ around the campus.”
Priestly Ministry of Bishop Vic
He was ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Balanga on November 5, 1977. After his ordination, he served in various pastoral and diocesan roles as:
chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Balanga;
parish priest of St. Dominic de Guzman Parish in Abucay, Balanga;
director of the Biblical Apostolate;
director of the Commission on the Family and Life;
member of the College of Consultors; and
diocesan administrator of Balanga Diocese in the absence of the bishop.
His Excellency, Most Rev. Ruperto C. Santos, D.D., Bishop of Balanga described Ocampo as “very dedicated and devoted to his priestly duties.” According to Rev. Fr. Josue Enero, Vicar General of the Diocese of Balanga, Bishop Vic’s legacy in Bataan is his “simplicity of life as a priest, a life that is offered for other people and not for himself, not to be famous, but a simple lifestyle as an individual, manifested in his service to the community.”
His parishioners in Bataan also noted, “Napaka-loving niya sa mga parishioners. Hindi pwedeng hindi ka niya batiin, kahit na nasa daan, sa paaralan, kinakawayan niya kami. Sa kanyang pagiging masayahin, napapalapit siya lalo sa mga tao; at ang mga tao ay napapalapit din sa kanya.” Some parishioners also shared that Bishop Vic plays basketball with the youth in the barangay community.
Episcopal Ministry of Bishop Vic
In June 2015, Pope Francis appointed the then Monsignor Victor as the new bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gumaca in the Quezon Province. In various interviews after his appointment, Bishop Ocampo kept on saying, “Like what Pope Francis said after his election, pray for me. St. Paul said that to be a bishop is good but not everybody is capable of becoming one. So, this is a grace given to me so I have to accept it.”
Bishop Vic was consecrated as bishop on August 29, 2015, at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Balanga City, Bataan, by His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, the then Archbishop of Manila. He was then installed as Bishop of Gumaca on September 3, 2015 at St. Diego de Alcala Cathedral, Quezon, Province.
As a bishop, he served in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines as officer of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, and Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate. He is also one of those who supported the Clergy and Bishop of the Prelature of Infanta in their call to action: “No to Kaliwa Dam, Yes to Alternative Sources of Water”.
The Angels in our Midst
Finally, in his homily on October 2, 2022 at Holy Rosary Parish during the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, Bishop Vic said, “Ang ating mga magulang ay mga anghel de la guardia natin. Ang mga angels ay bumubulong din sa kanila upang tayo ay alagaan, ihatid tayo sa ating pag-unlad sa buhay. Ganoon din ang mga guro sa ating mga paaralan: tumatayo din sila bilang mga kasangkapan ng Diyos. Sa pagbubulong din ng mga anghel sa kanila, tinuturo ang mabuti sa atin.”
So we pray…
May the angels lead you into paradise;
may the martyrs come to welcome you
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.
May choirs of angels welcome you
and lead you to the bosom of Abraham;
and where Lazarus is poor no longer
may you find eternal rest.
Lord God, to Your mercy we owe our forgiveness and salvation. Grant that Your servant, Most Rev. Victor C. Ocampo, who has departed from this life, may be admitted into everlasting happiness. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Your Saints. Amen.
V. Eternal rest grant unto him Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon him.
V. May he rest in peace.
V. May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.