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The Villages
Friday, July 12, 2024

Father Peter Puntal

Father Pedro Peter Puntal
Father Peter Puntal

Father Peter Puntal was one of ten children, born in Mureia, Philippines to Cresenciana and Pedro Puntal, Sr. He attended elementary and secondary schools in Bacolod City. He did undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of St. Thomas Central Seminary in Manila and earned a Bachelor of Arts degrees in Philosophy and Theology, Licentiate degrees in Philosophy and Theology, a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, and a Doctorate in Biblical Theology. 

He was Ordained September 14, 1982, at Cebu Cathedral, Cebu, Philippines.

After Ordination Father Puntal served as a Professor and Spiritual Director of San Carlos Seminary College in Cebu, Philippines; Director of the Biblical Apostolate for the Archdiocese of Cebu; Professor at the Theological Seminary in Cebu; President of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome, and as Chair for the Commission on Christian Unity and Ecumenism in Cebu.  

Father Puntal arrived in central Florida in 1994. His first assignment upon arrival was to serve the parishioners of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Winter Park as Parochial Vicar. In 1998, he was appointed Parochial Vicar of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Kissimmee, serving God’s holy people. In 2005 he led the people of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Winter Haven, first as Parochial Administrator and then as Pastor. He served the people of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Wildwood as their pastor from 2013 through his retirement in 2023. Father Puntal served on the Presbyteral Council and as Dean of the Western Deanery. He was incardinated into the Diocese of Orlando on February 6, 2002. 

Always cognizant of the growing Filippino community in the Diocese of Orlando, Father Puntal began celebrating Mass monthly in the home language, held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Orlando. Father Puntal offered that it was a way to celebrate the heritage and music of the Philippines. 

In 2004 Bishop Wenski requested Father Puntal create a Filipino ministry in the diocese. That led to the first statewide pilgrimage honoring the Virgin of Antipolo held in 2005 in Orlando. Father Puntal exclaimed “it was an honor” for the Filipino people to be given this ministry by the bishop. Also, the longstanding Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi, the tradition of celebrating novena evening Masses in the days leading up to Christmas made its debut in the diocese and was coordinated by Father Puntal.  He participated in singing in concerts with fellow Filipino clergy in the diocese under the name, “AhMen.”

In 2005, when celebrating his first Mass as newly appointed pastor of St. Joseph in Winter Haven, Father Puntal stood before his parishioners and said, simply, “I’m Father Peter and I’ll be your servant for a long time.” He paused. “That’s what my life is all about.” While serving at St. Vincent de Paul, Wildwood a new church building was blessed in 2014 and a new Family Life Center and Eucharistic Adoration Chapel was built and blessed in 2021. On the day of its blessing Father Puntal expressed, “This is truly a joyous day, filled with promise. We pray that when we come together, a sense of community fills all who enter. It is in Christ that we find our true belonging. Our mission is to welcome everyone so they can experience the love of Christ, and each of us can be a beacon of hope. The family life center will allow us to gather outside of Mass, serve the Lord, and share our faith. We do all for the glory of God.”

Father Puntal retired in 2023. He lived as a humble servant of God and brought forth God’s love to His people. 

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, June 17, 10:00 a.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 5323 E. County Road 462, Wildwood. The interment will be held in the Philippines

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