Fr. Diola on mother’s passing: She died a ‘holy death’

Posted on October 29, 2012


THE Oct. 21 canonization of Pedro Calungsod was bittersweet for visiting Cebu priest Fr. Carmelo Diola who was in Rome when word reached him that his mother had passed away.

Elena Ouano Diola, 79, died of a heart attack an hour after the canonization ceremony in St. Peter’s Square started, he said, or about 7 p.m. in Cebu.

With this special timing, he said he considers her passing a “holy death”.

“I suspect my mother had a very special escort,” he told CDN, referring to the teenage martyr, Saint Pedro Calungsod.

Elena Diola was a former regional director of the Department of Science and Technology and a Gawad Ina Awardee in 1997. She was also a key supporter of the Dilaab Foundation, the anti-corruption movement which Fr. Diola leads as chief steward.

Her funeral Mass is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the Redemptorist Church followed by burial at Cebu Memorial Park in Banilad, Cebu City.

She raised eight children with Enrique Yuzon Diola, who died on March 31, 2011.

Fr. Diola, the eldest of eight siblings, said his mother had been bedridden for nearly a year and was staying with his brother Ronald “Raddy” Diola, former chief of the Cebu City Nutrition Council.

Because he didn’t have a cellphone, Fr. Diola said he only learned of her passing later on Oct. 22 during the 8 a.m. thanksgiving Mass in Rome officiated by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

A friend, Nonoy Espeleta, finally reached him and said family members had been trying to contact him about his mother’s death.

“It was very painful but I was at peace because I was assured by God that my mother died a very holy death,” said the diocesan priest.

“During the morning of Sunday, she woke up on that time which was unusual”. He said he believed “Pedro Calungsod and St. Helena were there.”

A younger brother, Neil, based in Florida, USA, was in Rome with his family and confirmed the news of their mom’s passing.

Fr. Diola said he and his brother were talking after the thanksgiving Mass and happened to end up in front of the statue of St. Helena. Their mother was named after St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the first Roman emperor who converted to Christianity.

Even with a large family, Elena “continued teaching in different schools” said the priest who described her as a “supermom” who eventually became a “saintly mom.” “She went through many trials together with my father,” he said.

Cardinal Vidal and Archbishop Jose Palma would have wanted to officiate the requiem mass, but since they can’t return from Rome yet, Fr. Diola said he was considering officiating the funeral mass tomorrow.

The vigil wake is being held at the St. Peter’s Mega Chapel in New Imus Street, Cebu City./Correspondent Tweeny Malinao

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