Father Eduardo Hontiveros passed away yesterday, 15 January 2008.
Fr. Honti was the well-loved great grand uncle of my nephews Gio and Pepi, lolo pari to my sister-in-law Dana, tito to Tita Ivi Avellana-Cosio, and younger brother to National Artist Daisy Hontiveros Avellana.
He was also my Theology 131 teacher in the Ateneo in 1988.
He was born in Molo, Iloilo City, one of eight siblings, to Jose Hontiveros and Vicenta Pardo. He studied at the Capiz Elementary School and transferred at the Ateneo de Manila High Schoo, graduating in 1939. He entered the San Jose Seminary from 1939 to 1945, and entered the Society of Jesus in 1945; he made his first vows as a novice in 1947. He studied theology in the United States in 1951, and was ordained by Cardinal Francis Spellman in 1954.
With the Vatican II mandate of localization of the Holy Mass, Fr. Honti began to write liturgical hymns in the 1960's, where the mission of his first hymn was to provide a song that local people could easily learn and sing at worship, for the Jesuit-oversight parish at Barangka in Marikina. This brought about the tradition of religious music in the country which would later come to be known simply as "Jesuit Music".
His works include "Papuri sa Diyos", "Magnificat", "Maria, Bukang-Liwayway", "Pananagutan", among many others. His works have been published and sung in many parishes in the Philippines and in other countries as well; his "Papuri sa Diyos" has been sung at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.Fr. Hontiveros suffered a stroke in 1991, affecting his mobility and his ability to communicate. He suffered another stroke in early January 2008 and died on January 15, 2008, aged 84.
When Fr. Eddie Hontiveros wrote his first liturgical hymn in the 60's, all he wanted to do was to come up with a song that people could easily learn and sing at worship. He had no idea that in writing that first song and in teaching it to a group of young boys and girls in Barangka, Marikina, he was actually starting a whole tradition of religious and liturgical music in the country--which would later come to be known simply as "Jesuit Music." Today, thirty years after Father Honti's first composition, his songs--as well as those of other Jesuit musicians that he has inspired--are sung in churches all over the country, as well as in other parts of the world, wherever Filipinos gather in worship and prayer.
Father Honti brought so many of us together in Masses all over the world where his hymns were sung. And Father Honti brought so many of us closer to God through his prayerful music.
Tayong lahat ay tinipon ng Diyos na kapiling niya.
Thank you, Father Honti.