Msgr. Jose C. Abriol was born February 4, 1918 , ordained to the priesthood on May 14, 1942 , and became Rector of the Manila Cathedral from 1962 to 1975 concurrent with his appointment as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Manila.
In his 60 years as a priest, Msgr. Abriol contributed almost incomparably to the propagation of the Catholic faith in the Philippines. He wrote or translated to the Filipino language over a hundred books and novenas, including the first-ever Tagalog translation of the complete books of the Roman Catholic Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Ordinary of the Vatican II Missal, the Sacramentary and the Lectionary. Msgr. Abriol had a mastery of at least eight languages: Spanish, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Italian, English, and Filipino. In fact, he translated the Holy Bible direct from its Hebrew and Greek versions. He worked on the project while he was Rector of the Manila Cathedral.
In February 2003, four months before he died, Msgr. Abriol was recognized by the England-based International Biographical Centre (IBC) as one of the 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21 st Century, the first and only Filipino ever to have attained such level of intellectual honor. IBC is a leading publisher of works of biographical reference and lists among its well-known publications Dictionary of International Biography, Who’s Who in the Pacific Nations, and more recently, 2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21 st Century and 2000 Outstanding Scholars of the 21 st Century. Msgr. Abriol’s name and biography have been entered in the 2003 edition of the 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21 st Century, now being circulated worldwide and housed in numerous libraries and research institutions.
Earlier, Msgr. Abriol had been conferred three awards locally: the Bukas Palad Award 1999 by the Ateneo de Manila University, the Outstanding Manilan Award 2000 by the City of Manila, and the Gawad Pagkilala 2000 by the National Language Institute (now Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino), all of which in appreciation of his rare intellectualism and prolific scholarship, particularly noting his simplicity, humility, and quiet effectiveness in fulfilling diverse and numerous tasks as a faithful presbyter of the Church and an authentic man of God.
Aside from the rectorship of the Manila Cathedral and the Chancellor’s post of the Archdiocese of Manila, Msgr. Abriol’s service assignments, in their respective tenure, included positions as: Parish Priest, St. Michael the Archangel, Jala-Jala, Rizal, 1947-1951; Parish Priest, San Rafael, Balut, Tondo, 1951-1962; Chancellor, Archdiocese of Manila, 1962-1975; Parish Priest, Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Quiapo, 1976-1993; and his membership in the Manila Archdiocesan Commission for the Conservation of the Patrimony of the Art and History of the Church, 1993-1999. His longest assignment was that of being the Vicar General of the Archdiocese from 1965 until he died in July 2003 at the age of 85.