Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ recounts his experiences on the Traditional Latin Mass

This afternoon I visited Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ at the Jesuit Infirmary in Ateneo de Manila University. It has been more than a month or two since I visited him. I usually give him updates about the Manila Observatory. At 86, he cannot anymore walk. He needs a nurse to drive his wheelchair.

“Hi, Father.” I said as I entered his room.

“Hi, Pope,” he said as he signaled to the nurse to bring me a chair. “I learned about your Latin Mass Society.”

“Yes, Father.” I said. “Fr. Tim Ofrasio is our priest. He is a professor of Liturgy so he knows the old and new rites well.”

“Where do you get your vestments?” asked Fr. Badillo.

“Our sacristan trainor is Bro. Dave of the Liturgical Commission of Cubao. He is still designing our vestments.”

“So do you know the Confiteor, the prayers at the foot of the altar?”

“A little bit, Father. I still have to memorize it.”

And he prayed the Confiteor and I followed him. I know this prayer because I always use my Baronius 1962 missal even when I attend Novus Ordo masses.

“Do you know how to sing?” he asked. And he began to intone the Kyrie, the Sanctus, the Gloria, and the Pater Noster. I joined him in the singing. He is singing the songs in Missa de Angelis which we always use in our Latin masses. I joined the choir before when they practiced these songs. We bought our chant book from Our Lady of Victories, an SSPX church in Cubao, which has excellent resources on the Traditional Latin Mass. (May they be finally reconciled with the Catholic Church soon.)

“When I was young, I was also a sacristan,” said Fr. Badillo. “Whenever there are masses outside the school, we Ateneans always volunteer to serve in the masses, because there are very few who knows how to serve. We have this group called “Sanctuario”. We take turns in serving masses for a priest. We woke up at 4 am, because the priest says mass during that time.”

“Four o’clock in the morning?” I asked.

“Yes, 4 o’clock,” said Fr. Badillo. “Before we were that hard when it comes to serving masses. Now people are becoming soft, lax.”

“In the seminary, we learned about the mass. We were trained in Latin. But when we graduated, we were ordained in Vatican II.”

“So your training was to no avail, Father?” I asked.

“Not really,” he said.

And our conversation drifted to other things: about the ionosphere and magnetosphere project, about NASA and Dr. Lagrosas trip to Palawan, about our friend Genie Lorenzo who is back from a vacation in US, about Dr. Kendra Gotangco Castillo–our Valedictorian and Summa cum Laude–who is back from Purdue University and who now heads Klima Climate Change Center, and about the International Space Weather Conference in Nigeria which I am attending this October.

“Many things are now happening in Manila Observatory, Father.”

“It started when you came,” Fr. Badillo said.

And we both laughed. The first time I went to the Manila Observatory was in 2008. Fr. Daniel McNamara, SJ asked me to stay in the Ionosphere Building, the building of Fr. Badillo, to write my dissertation. I lived a monastic life. But Fr. Badillo was not there when I came: he suffered several surgeries years before. The building was still dark and dusty then. Now, it is fully renovated and repainted. But I am still using his desk and his swivel chair.

Before I left, I took his hand to my forehead.

“Father, your skin is now soft unlike before.”

“Soft as woman’s skin.”

And we laughed again.

“How did that happen, Father?”

“Healthy diet. Just health diet.”

Finally, I said goodbye to Fr. Badillo. And he gave me his blessing.

Request for Prayers for Fr. Joseph A. Galdon, S.J.

Update: From the Friends of Fr. Joseph Galdon, S.J. Facebook Group:

Our dear Fr. G peacefully passed away at 5:30 am, Monday, March 15, 2010, Manila.

Kindly say a prayer for the eternal repose of his soul.

The remains of Fr. Galdon will lie in state at the College Chapel starting March 15. There will be a 8pm mass on March 15,16 & 17 and a 8am mass on March 18. His remains will then be brought to Sacred Heart Novitiate on March 18 for his burial.

Previous Request from Fr. Bill Kreutz:

We ask the Ateneo community to keep in their prayers, Fr. Joseph
Galdon, SJ, retired English professor and former dean of the college.
He is quite weak and is near death. He has pneumonia and is breathing
heavily. He has already been anointed. Pray that he may pass to the
Lord peacefully.

Thank you.

Fr. Bill, SJ
Rector, Jesuit Residence

William H Kreutz SJ
Jesuit Residence
Ateneo de Manila University
Katipunan Road Loyola Heights
1108 Quezon City Philippines
Telephone Number (63) (2) 426 5941
Fax Number (63) (2) 426 5987

Fr. Victor Badillo, S.J. on Bishop Francisco F. Claver: “He is an Igorot Jesuit bishop who build dikes”

Today is the 81st birthday of Fr. Badillo, so I visited him in the Jesuit Residence Infirmary. We were sitting as we customarily do, and chatted about many things: my talk on “Jesuits and Science” last Thursday at the School of Management building, my chat with Ambeth Ocampo and some faculty in the history department, Ambeth’s Secchi meteorograph, and Fr. Badillo’s missing articles on Jesuit scholastics and streets.

“Happy Birthday!” a voice shouted on the hallway outside the door of Fr. Badillo’s room. He was an old man with a four-cornered cane. Beside him is a male nurse helping him to walk.

Fr. Badillo waved his hand and said, “Thank you!”

When the old man turned to leave, Fr. Badillo cried out “Bishop! Bishop!” The old man stopped.

“Bishop,” Fr. Badillo said. “I want you to meet the Pope.”

I went to the old man and said, “Father, my name is Pope.” We shook hands.

Bishop Claver spoke nothing and turned a quizzical look at Fr. Badillo, as if saying, “Victor, you are joking again.” I went back to my chair.

“That was Bishop Claver,” Fr. Badillo said. “So you see that he has three legs. No, six legs.”

We laughed.

“Was he the one who built the pond near falls at the San Jose Seminary, Father? I asked. “I heard he made it as a place for retreats for the Jesuit seminarians.”

“Yes, he was the one,” Fr. Badillo said.  “He knew how to build the dikes because he is an Igorot.  The Igorots are really good at making dikes like those of the famous Rice Terraces in Ifugao.  They build dikes without cement.  What they do is that they carve the stones so that they snugly fit.”

“Just like the Incas of Peru,” I replied.  I listened to the talk of Dr. Enzo de la Fuente yesterday at the Manila Observatory on cloud forests.  He showed us some pictures of Inca ruins made of  huge, irregularly carved rocks stacked on top of each other without cement.  He also showed a picture of a llama behind him.

“You know, Bishop Claver’s father is the first Igorot with a surname of Claver.  Igorots don’t have surnames.  When Claver’s father became a convert to the Catholic Faith, he adopted the surname Claver.

“Bishop Claver was a Jesuit before he became a bishop. He also has a sister who became a founder of a religious congregation.”

“What congregation was it, Father?” I asked.

“I forgot the name,” Fr. Badillo said.

Bishop Claver was from the Bontoc Province, Philippines.  He was ordained priest of the Society of Jesus in 1961 at the age of 32.4.  He became a Prelate of Malaybalay (1969), a titular bishop of Nationa (1969), a bishop of Malaybalay (1962-1964), and the Vicar Apostolic of Bontoc (1995-2004). (

A visit to Fr. Victor Badillo S.J.: RAM, Facebook, and the cyst surgery

Yesterday I visited Fr. Badillo in the Jesuit Residence.  He stays at the infirmary there.  The porter already knows my name and the nurses’ faces are becoming familiar.  I usually visit him every Thursday, between 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.  I don’t know if there is a significance to this.  But Thursday is the day for priests and 2:00-3:00 is the last hour of Jesus’s agony on the cross.  I was not able to visit him for two weeks because of it was the first weeks of the semester: i have to prepare for my classes among other things.  I tried to visit him last Thursday, but the porter said he is asleep.

I dragged a chair from the nurses’ station and walked towards Fr. Badillo’s room.  The comfort room is immediately at the right side of the door.  Straight ahead is Fr. Badillo sitting on a chair.  He wears a white T-shirt and pajamas.

“You’re done with your snacks, Father?” I asked.

“Yes, I idid,” he said.  “I did not left anything for you.”  And he laughed.  His usual snacks are two slices of wheat bread and one glass of milk.

“My condolence, Father, for your sister.”

“Yes, please pray for her.  She passed at the age of 86.”  Fr. Badillo is 79 years old.

. . .

“I don’t know why is my computer slow.  Do I need more RAM?   Can you check my computer?”

I looked at the computer and paused.  I am not a computer geek.  Where do I find the RAM?  The ram caught its horns among the thorns and Abraham sacrificed it in place of his son Isaac.

“Turn the little switch on,”  Fr. Badillo said.

It was a little metal stick shaped like an exclamation mark.  It was hidden at the back part of one the computer table posts.  I turned it on.  The computer is still black.

“Turn the other switch on,” he said.  It was the power supply.  I turned it on and and the computer.

I do not anymore remember what I did.  I think I looked at the properties of his computer.

“The RAM is 240 MB, Father.”  I said.

“That is weird,” Fr. Badillo said.   “The number should be 64 MB, 128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB.  The 512 MB is now the standard.”

When I was still teach back in Bacolod about seven years ago, the RAM in our computer was 16 MB.

“Do you have a Facebook account?” Fr. Badillo asked.

“Yes, Father.”

“There is something there that says ‘What’s on your mind?’  What do I do with it?”

“I think you just type whatever you feel like writing and all your friends can read it, Father.”

“I don’t know why I don’t receive anything.  I have all these questions: Please confirm if you and such and such are friends.  What do I do with it?”

“Just click confirm, Father.  And you will receive news about them.”

. . ..

“Genie said that she wants to visit you, Father.”

“Genie who?”

“Genie Lorenzo.  She wants to come with me today but no one responded in her room when I phoned there.”  Genie is a friend of mine at the Observatory.  She works on Air Quality.  She worked at the Observatory longer than I.  She knows Fr. Badillo.

“Ah, Genie,” he said.  “Please tell Genie that I will have a cyst operation next Wednesday.”

“You have a cyst, Father?”

” I have a cyst here,” Fr. Badillo said and pointed to his left abdomen.  “If Genie comes, it must be on the day before that.”

. . .

“I am sorry, Father.  I think I shall cough.”

“You have cold?”

“Yes, Father.”

“You have to stay awy,” he said.

“I’ll go now, Father.”

“Ok.   Thank you for praying for my sister.”