Fr. Francisco Guianan, SOLT, beloved Filipino priest, dies at 59

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Fr. Francisco Guianan, SOLT

Born: Sept. 10, 1956 on the Island of Rapu-Rapu, Albay, the Philippines

Ordained: Nov. 17, 1988 for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity

Professed Final Vows: Jan. 25, 1995

Service in the Diocese of Phoenix:

Parochial Vicar at Most Holy Trinity, Phoenix 2014-16

Died: March 6, 2016

In Remembrance

Funeral: 4 p.m. viewing, 6 p.m. Mass March 11 at Most Holy Trinity Parish, 8620 N. 7th St.

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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hether it was walking to the hospital to pray with an ill parishioner or leading the Rosary with the religious sisters on Monday mornings before Mass, Fr. Francisco Guianan, a Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity priest, seemed to find time for everyone. He served as the parochial vicar of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Phoenix until his untimely death March 6 at age 59.

“He was so faithful,” said Dcn. John Raphael Dalisay, one of Fr. Guianan’s closest friends, who happened to serve alongside him at the Sunnyslope parish. “I would see him in the mornings walking and praying his Rosary. He was so very happy and most happy when he concelebrated Mass with Pope Francis in Juárez, Mexico during the papal visit.”

“He was the type of person that would make you smile and feel at ease,” said Lizett Lopez, pastor’s assistant. “He would drop everything if he was needed at the hospital or if someone had an emergency.”

He was the adopted child of Dr. Esteban Hidalgo and Anita Lianko Hidalgo of the Philippines. Both preceded him in death. According to Fr. Francisco “Bing” Colasito of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Parish in Anthem, Fr. Guianan traveled home in October 2015 to bury his mother.

A younger brother, Fr. Rex Hidalgo, is also adopted and has been serving in priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres in the Philippines for 18 years.

“Most of the Filipino priests in the Valley called him Fr. Kitz,” said Fr. Colasito, another native Filipino.

Fr. Guianan served in his native Philippines plus a parish in Puerto Rico and Kansas City, Missouri, before his transfer to Most Holy Trinity in September 2014. When he and Dcn. Dalisay met, both were surprised to learn that they grew up in the same area of the Philippines and knew many of the same people.

“We spoke the same dialect so when we got together we would speak Filipino together,” said Dcn. Dalisay. “We had much in common and I am so sorry to lose my friend.”

Days off were often spent with Dcn. Dalisay scouring the neighborhood Goodwill store in search of items to send back home to Fr. Guianan’s nieces and nephews or visiting friends for dinner.

“I will miss his presence, but maybe we will see him again when we reach heaven. I hope he will be there to welcome me. He is my guardian angel looking over me now” the deacon said.

Popular with the parishioners, especially the Hispanic population, Lopez said that Fr. Guianan took his time with people, never rushing them. He didn’t know how to drive so she would take him to appointments and places that were too far to walk.

“He loved being a priest,” she said. “He confided in us one time that when he used to play pretend when he was little, he was always the priest. His friends told him to be the cop or the bad guy, but he always told them no because they needed a priest. He always knew he would be a priest.”

By Karen Mahoney, The Catholic Sun.

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