Pallbearers prepare to place Fr. Reuter's casket inside his tomb in the Sacred Heart Novitiate Cemetery in Novaliches, back in January 2013. 

MANILA – Opposite Kilometer Post No. 23 along Quirino Highway in Barangay Pasong Putik Proper in Novaliches, Quezon City, there is a privately-owned, two-lane road shaded by tall narra and other trees on both sides.

The narrow road leads to the 90-year-old Society of Jesus-owned Sacred Heart Novitiate, Retreat House and Seminar Center (SHNRHSC) for the formation of future Jesuit priests, scholars and scientists in the country.

A short walk from the SHNRHSC main building, there is a graveyard called the Jesuits cemetery.

According to the SHNRHSC website, the cemetery serves as the final resting place of several Filipino and American Jesuit priests, bishops, chaplains, scholars, scientists, and noted writers, among others.

As the name of the cemetery implies, it is used exclusively for religious personalities, and noted scientists, scholars, and writers, with the exception of 87 unnamed individuals who were interred there in two mass burials during the Second World War in 1945.

A marker on one side of the cemetery has this inscription: "Called to be with Jesus' friends: to work with Him as partners in His mission; like Jesus with priority for the marginalized poor. These men, gifted pastors, scholars, chaplains, scientists, workers in caring communities, martyrs, writers, bishops, spiritual guides, spent their lives with and for others."

At the compound of the cemetery, there are two unique tombs bearing markers with these inscriptions: "Here lie 57 men (1864-1927) and 30 men (1864-1936) unknown to men but known to God. In 1945, their remains were transferred from the war-torn church of San Ignacio in Manila."

Among the more than 300 prominent personalities buried there so far was Fr. James B. Reuters, the well-loved American priest and honorary Filipino citizen who died on Dec. 31, 2012 at the age of 96. He was also a noted Jesuit communicator, newspaper columnist, theater director and teacher.

Fr. Reuters spent almost 78 years of his life in the Philippines. Born on May 21, 1916 in New Jersey, USA, he came to Manila in 1938 and immediately went to the Jesuit College of Ateneo de Manila. He was taken later to the Sacred Heart Novitiate where young Filipino seminarians studied philosophy.

The other notable personalities now resting at the Jesuit cemetery include:

* Fr. Horacio de la Costa, who became the first Filipino provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines in 1964 and a recognized authority in Philippine and Asian culture and history. He died on March 20, 1977.

* Fr./Dr. Romeo Intengan, also known as Fr. Archie, provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines from 1998 t0 2004. He died on Oct. 10, 2017 at age 75.

* Fr. Pacifico A. Ortiz, SJ, the first Filipino president of the Ateneo de Manila University who died on Dec. 9, 1983.

* Bishop Francisco C. Claver, SJ, Emeritus Apostolic Vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe and former Bishop of Malaybalay, Bukidnon. He died on July 1, 2010.

* Fr. George J. Willmann, SJ, founder of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines and of the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc.

* Fr. Jose C. Blanco, who died on Aug. 19, 2006.

* Fr. Eduardo P. Hontiveros, who died on Jan. 15, 2008. (PNA)