On Saturday, November 28, Capiz Archbishop Jose F. Advincula Jr. will officially be known as a cardinal. He is one of 13 from all over the world appointed by Pope Francis from the papal apartments of the Vatican in Rome last October 25.
The announcement, as many news bureaus reported, came as a shock to the low-profile archbishop, who assumed there had been a mistake—after all, three bishops in Panay are named Jose, he reasoned. Plus, he didn’t even think he was in the running.
“My initial reaction is the fear of that responsibility,” he said in an interview. “If there is that feeling of joy, it’s very small because my feelings focused on the responsibility that is given to me together with this appointment.” (Read: Pope Francis Names Archbishop From Capiz as New Filipino Cardinal)
Only the ninth Filipino cardinal in the history of the Catholic Church, the 68-year-old Advincula—Archbishop Joe to those close to him—is eligible to participate in a conclave, or the election of a pope, a privilege he shares with Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. The two other living cardinals—Gaudencio Rosales and Orlando Quevedo—are already in their 80s, the age of mandatory retirement.
So before he is elevated to cardinal status this Saturday, My Pope Philippines lists five fun facts about Capiz Archbishop Jose F. Advincula Jr.
#1: Cardinal Advincula Comes From a Family of Priests
Born on March 30, 1952 in Dumalag, Capiz, Cardinal-elect Advincula is one of 12 children—six boys and six girls—of the late Jose “Toting” Firmalino Advincula and Carmen “Inday” Falsis Fuerte.
Nicknamed “Teting,” he has two brothers who became priests: his older brother, the late Monsignor “Manong Ben” Advincula, and his younger brother, Rev. Fr. Neil Peter “Petbong” Advincula, parish priest of Cuartero, Capiz. A first cousin on his mother’s side is also a priest, Fr. Antonio Fuerte Arinquin of Dumarao, Capiz, as are two maternal uncles: his mother’s brother, the late Monsignor Siforiano Fuerte, and her first cousin, the late Monsignor Edmundo Fuerte.
#2: Cardinal Advincula Was Mentored by Cardinal Sin
The late Cardinal Jaime Sin (then Fr. Jaime Sin) was his Latin teacher at the St. Pius X Seminary in Roxas City. Before Pope Francis elevated him to cardinal status, Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of San Carlos in 2001, and Pope Benedict XVI named him Archbishop of Capiz in 2011. (Read: Pope John Paul II Rose Graces White House Rose Garden)
#3: Cardinal Advincula Is Physically Fit
A one-hour jog around the seminary grounds is part of the cardinal-elect’s daily routine, wrote Monsignor Regie A. Pamposa in his extensive profile of Archbishop Joe for The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila website. When in Manila, he will squeeze in a jog around the Rizal Park before meetings with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
#4: Cardinal Advincula Loves Nature
According to Monsignor Regie, Archbishop Joe can still identify the trees he planted in the college seminary grounds of Barangay Cagay, Roxas City. He also enjoys a good hike up mountains, hills, and trails, and often invites seminarians and priests to join him in his treks. Such hikes have exposed him not only to some of the poorest communities, but to communities hungry for the Word of God.
#5: Cardinal Advincula Has a Soft Spot for His Colleagues
In his younger years, Fr. Joe, as he was then called, taught Latin and philosophy in St. Pius Seminary. He also served as a spiritual director, providing comfort and a sympathetic ear to homesick high school and college seminarians. To further strengthen his role as an older brother or mentor to seminarians, he completed his Master’s in Education, major in Guidance Counseling at De La Salle University. (Read: Meet the Millennial Who Gave up Success to Become a Dominican Friar)
In recent years, the cardinal-elect established the Merciful Missionaries of St. Joseph, a group formed to look after ailing, elderly priests. He is also behind Lolek’s Home, a two-story retirement facility for senior priests located in the compound of St. John Paul II Parish, Roxas City. The initiative is named after his namesake and favorite saint, the humble, hardworking carpenter, St. Joseph.