Pro-RH Bill crowd at Ateneo de Manila during the Anti-RH Bill prayer rally at EDSA

From Ateneo Guidon:

DESPITE THE heavy rains, students in favor of House Bill No. 4244, commonly known as the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, gathered at Gate 2.5 to participate in the Pro-RH Bill noise barrage and prayer vigil last Monday, August 6.

Students chanted “Pass that bill!” and “Reproductive Health Bill, oras na ipasa!” while prompting passing vehicles to honk their horns in support of the measure.

Moses Albiento, one of the organizers of the prayer vigil and noise barrage, said that the mobilization was a response to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) own prayer vigil….

Now this interesting: the Jesuits of Loyola House of Studies led by Fr. Quilongquilong and seminarians of San Jose Seminary who went to the Anti-RH Bill on Aug. 8 did not make it to the Guidon news.  Here is the note from the LHS website:

Loyola School of Theology, through the Social Involvement and Advocacy Committee of the LST Student Council, is inviting its students to attend the Prayer Power Rally Against the RH Bill this Saturday, 4 August 2012, 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the EDSA Shrine.

Religious communities and lay students joining the LST delegation are requested to bring their own vehicles. Assembly will be at 12:30 pm at the lobby of Loyola House of Studies. The delegation will depart in convoy for the EDSA Shrine at 1:00 pm. All participants are requested to wear red. Priests and seminarians should please bring also their soutane/habit. A Holy Mass will be offered at 5:00 pm.

I can’t see the overall extent of the crowd at Ateneo Gate 2.5, because the pictures are too close to the faces. My best guess is that it is about 20 people. In my estimate, the crowd in the EDSA Anti-RH Bill prayer rally is about 45,000-60,000.

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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). (catholic-hierarchy.org)

Fr. Victor Badillo, S.J.: There is a waterfall near the Jesuit San Jose Seminary

I

Last Thursday, I talked with Fr. Victor Badillo, S.J. in his room at the Jesuit residence infirmary.  I always visit him once or twice a week for a 15 minute chat.  He is 79 years old.  His scientific mind is still sharp, though his body has been weakened by several surgeries.  He asked me to buy him a flash disk to transfer his files in his computer at the Ionosphere building to his computer in his room.  He asked about the recent floods.  I told him that Katipunan Avenue was flooded weeks ago during Typhoon Ondoy.  A hapless car was sucked into a building construction pit and drowned.  Terrible.

“Have you seen the the creek near the Ionosphere Building?  What happened to it?” he asked.

“I don’t know, Father.  Is there a creek there?” I asked.

“The creek is between the Ionosphere building and the San Jose Seminary.  The creek leads to a pond, then to a waterfalls.”   His eyes twinkled.

“Is there a waterfalls there, Father?”  I asked.

“You should go to see it.  Go to San Jose Seminary.  Tell the porter that you want to see the waterfalls.  Tell them I sent you,”  he said.

I bade him goodbye and left.

II

I passed by the Church of Gesu to my left, then the college to my right.  I walked some more until I reached a forked road in front of the Observatory.  Straight ahead is a road towards the Blue Eagle Gym where the UAAP games are held.  To my left is the road to the Loyola House of Studies.  I turned left.

The road curves to the left.  To my left are the College Covered Courts and the Arrupe International Residence of the Jesuit seminarians and priests.  To my right are the forests that separate the road from the Manila Observatory.  I found the little creek.  The waters snaked its way among the dead leaves and old trees.  The falls should not be far, I thought.

I walked some more and took the right road to the the San Jose Seminary.  The seminary  is a white rectangular building.  Its windows are framed with a series of narrow arches.  At the entrance porch is a statue of St. Joseph the Worker against the background of the Marikina valley.  There is a narrow road to the left that leads to Marian grotto, with Mary in white and the grotto in blue.  My friend and I were here before.  Yes, we were here before.

I entered.  To my left is the seminary’s chapel.  It is a beautiful church.  Traditional. I went straight to the porter.

“I am Quirino Sugon from the Manila Observatory.  Fr. Badillo sent me here to check the creek and the waterfalls.  He wants to know what happened to it when flood came.”

The porter looked at me.  Then he called out to an old man with a student.

“Fr. Vic.  Somebody here from the Manila Observatory wants to look at the creek to assess the flood.”

“You want to see the Marikina river?  You can see it from the fifth floor.  I’ll accompany you in a moment.”  His name is Fr. Victor C. de Jesus, S.J., the rector of the seminary.  Many homes near the Marikina river were submerged in the flood.  Some homes were even swept away. The flood left thick layers of mud.

I explained to the porter that I do not wish to see the Marikina river.  I only wish to see the waterfalls near the pond.

“Fr. Vic,” he called out.  “He only wants to visit the pond and the waterfalls.  Can he go there?”

“Oh, I thought you wish to see the extent of the flood,” Fr. Vic spoke to me.  Then he turned to the porter.  “Just send a person to accompany him.”

III

The person who accompanied me was Jodie.  He and his friend were drinking coffee.  He offered me some.  “No, thank you,” I said.  It is customary for Filipinos to invite other people to join them for a meal or drink.  You are not obliged to accept.  A second offer means that the man is serious in inviting you.

“Are you a seminarian or a priest?” he asked.

“No,” I said.  “I only work at the Manila Observatory.  Fr. Badillo sent me to look at the creek and the waterfalls.”

“The creek should be just over there,” he said.

We walked through a narrow and winding trail.  It is easy to get lost there.  Forest, forest everywhere.  I felt like I was in the Fangorn Forest surrounded giant trees, talking and whispering to each other, wondering what strange new creature this hobbit is.

“These are made of adobe,” he said and pointed to the trail.  “A Jesuit priest wanted to make this a place for prayer and  retreat.  So he made that pond and made a trail of rough-hewn adobe around and leading to it.”

“This place has to be well-kept, lest it becomes overgrown with weeds and becomes a home of snakes.  Years ago, a large snake entered the rooms of the seminarians.  It was ten feet long.  Its body was as big as my two fists.  The snake was turned over to the Environmental Science Department, I think.”

I nodded.

“There is the waterfalls.” he said and pointed it with his finger.   I could not see it.  So we walked around the pond, and went closer.

Out from the pond is a small waterfalls, like a bucket of water continously poured.  There is a creek about ten feet below.  Wading through the creek is a little white heron.  It flapped its wings and left.  Marvelous.  It was my first time to see a real heron.

“That’s the “tagak,” he said.  “These birds can still be seen here.  The forest facing the Marikina valley is still untouched.”

I tried to see if there is a cave beneath the falls, but I can’t.  I remembered Ithilien, the Garden of Gondor.  Behind the falls is a cave of Faramir and his men.  And these lines of Faramir is what Monk’s Hobbit modified for its epigraph:

We look westward to Numenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome and will ever be. (Two Towers, p. 320)

We look westward to the West that was.  We look eastward to the Catholic Church that is.  We look downward in sadness.  We look upward in hope. (Monk’s Hobbit)

Jodie and I went back.  And I looked back.  And I remembered a poem I read in a student literary journal, the Heights magazine, when I was still in college at the Ateneo:

I may never see this sight again
And forget the caress of its waters.
But like a pebble fleeting over its surface
You’ve rippled it, found its mark and lain
And changed the river’s course forever.

Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, S.J.: “Colegio de San Jose (1601-2001): A Quick Survey of the Turbulent 400-year History of an Educational Institution”

COLEGIO DE SAN JOSE [1601 – 2001]
A Quick Survey of the Turbulent 400-year History of an Educational Institution
taken from the lecture delivered by
Fr. Miguel A. Bernard, S.J.

16th Century

September. The newly arrived Jesuits opened the Colegio de Manila, the first institution of higher learning in the Philippines and the predecessor of Colegio de San Jose. The support to build the College came from a donation by Captain Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa. Latin grammar and “cases of conscience” were taught to priest and candidates for the priesthood.

17th Century

1601. August. A Residential College. Because of the “morally unhealthy” climate in Manila, the Jesuits decided to build a separate residential college for the students of the Colegio de Manila. Fr. Pedro Chirino, rector of the Colegio de Manila, was tasked to organize the proposed Colegio de San Jose. After obtaining civil and ecclesiastical approbation for the new college, Fr. Pedro Chirino gathered an initial batch of thirteen young men to become the pioneering student-boarders. The Colegio de San Jose was opened on August 1st and formally inaugurated on the 25th of August 1601. Fr. Luis Gomes was the first rector.

1604. An Endowment. Doña Juana, daughter of Captain Esteban Rodriguez, was lost at sea. The proviso in Figueroa’s will stated that should his heirs-his wife and daughter die-portions of his wealth should go to the Jesuit for a college. This legacy came to the Jesuits few years later, just in time to bolster the faltering finances of the Colegio de San Jose.

1623. Academic Degrees. There was a great desire on the part of the students, and of others was well, that their studies might be rewarded with academic degrees. Endorsed by the governor, a petition to this effect had been made to the King. On the other hand, it had been opposed by a very influential person, a Dominican bishop, Miguel de Benavides (founder of the University of Santo Tomas). However the Brief issued by Pope Gregory XV (dated July 9, 1622) officially gave Colegio de San Jose the permission to confer academic degrees.

1626. The Colegio de Manila conferred the doctorate for the first time on a scholar of the Colegio de San Jose Jose. San Pedro Tunasan estate was eventually acquired and used to support the Colegio de San Jose. Fr. Juan de Aguirre, SJ, rector at that time, directed the purchase.

1648. A Serious Threat. The Rector of Colegio de San Tomas petitioned the Audiencia to forbid the Jesuit College form granting academic degrees. After a series of compromises, King Philip IV reiterated the right of the Jesuits to grant degrees in Manila on March 12, 1653.

18th Century

1722. A Royal Institution. King Philip V, the King of Spain, conferred upon the Colegio de San Jose the title “royal” (real in Spanish); hence prided itself with the title “El Real Colegio de San Jose”.

1768. The Expulsion. In 1768, the royal orders arrived in Manila, issued the previous year by King Carlos III of Spain, ordering the expulsion of the Jesuits from all Spanish territories and confiscation of their possessions. The Colegio de San Jose continued to function under the secular clergy- many of whom were alumni of the Colegio.

19th Century

1875. The Medical Faculty. The Dominican procurator in Madrid presented a memorial to the King’s Council asking that the building and endowment of the Colegio de San Jose be applied to the University of Santo Tomas to be used by and to support the faculty of medicine and pharmacy. According to the terms of the contract, a certain number of boys were to be supported in their studies for the priesthood out of the Colegio de San Jose Estate.

1898. The San Jose Case. During the American Occupation, the United States inherited from the Spanish Crown all government assets in the islands, including the administration of the Colegio de San Jose estate. The Philippine Commission took up the question of the legal status of the Colegio de San Jose and ended its investigation by enacting a law granting original jurisdiction of the case to the Philippine Supreme Court.

20th Century

1907. Taft-Harty Agreement. In 1907, through the Taft-Harty Agreement, all the parties questioning the legal status of the Colegio de San Jose estate signed an agreement that the estate should fall entirely under church jurisdiction with no claims from the government. Since it was under the jurisdiction of that Holy See, the Supreme Court did not decide on the San Jose Case.

1910. The Holy See’s Decision. By virtue of a Brief of Pope Pius X dated May 3, 1910, to the Most Reverend Ambrose Agius, then Apostolic Delegate to the Philippines, the Colegio de San Jose is detached from the University of Santo Tomas and returned to the Jesuits to be used according to the terms of the original endowment.

1910-1915. Five – Year Turmoil. The announcement in May 1910 that the Pope had ordered the restoration of San Jose estate to the Jesuit caused an immediate violent reaction at Santo Tomas. It was not until five years later, in 1915, that the Colegio de San Jose was able to reopen under Jesuit administration. It had to be housed in borrowed quarters, in a large building owned by the Jesuit in Ermita-that building along Padre Faura Street.

1915. At Padre Faura. On June 15, the Colegio de San Jose once more opened as a seminary, an Escuela Apostolica, for the training of the secular clergy in the Philippines under the rectorship of Fr. Jose Alfonso, SJ. In 1928, of those23 boys who entered San Jose in 1915, five became priests: Rev. Frs. Felix David, Pedro Endoso, Jose Pe Benito, Antonio Radovan and Eulogio San Juan. San Jose remained in Padre Faura until 1932.

1932 – Present. Four Locations. In August 1932, the Ateneo in Intramuros burned down. San Jose Seminary was temporarily housed in the Mission House at Intramuros, adjacent to San Ignacio Church. There, it remained for four years until its new building was erected. It was at this time that the name Colegio de San Jose was dropped, and the institution became known as San Jose Seminary.

At Balintawak. In 1936, the Seminary moved to its new building- a fine large and well-equipped structure, built on a parcel of land bought in a newly opened housing subdivision at Balintawak. The seminary remained there for five years, until the outbreak of war in 1941 when the entire seminary community moved into the Ateneo compound on Padre Faura Street, where classes in theology were resumed.

In 1943, the Japanese authorities insisted on the evacuation of the Padre Faura site. The Paules fathers accommodated both Josefinos and Jesuit Scholastics San Marcelino.

At Santa Ana. During the Liberation period from 1945 to about 1950, the seminary reopened at Santa Ana in several rented houses beside the grounds of La Ignaciana.

At Highway 54. In 1951, the seminary moved to its new location on what then officially called MacArthur Boulevard but popularly known as Highway 54, now renamed EDSA. It was a much large building but poorly constructed. It was there that in 1957 the first Filipino rector was appointed, Fr. Antonio Leetai, SJ succeeding the last American rector, Fr. Gaston Duchesneau, SJ.

At Loyola Heights. In 1964, Father Leetai was succeeded by Father Jesus Diaz, SJ who, the following year, presided over the transfer to Loyola Heights. With the creation of Loyola House of Studies and School of Theology and Philosophy in 1965, San Jose Seminary was divided into two separate colleges, each with its own rector. The minor seminary remained at Highway 54 and later moved to Novaliches and was finally dissolved. The Major seminary moved of the Loyola House of Studies building, until the present seminary building was completed. With this relocation to Loyola Heights, San Jose Seminary has reverted to the Original status of the Colegio de San Jose in Intramuros under the Jesuits. It has once again become a residential college where the seminarians live a community life and undergo spiritual and pastoral formation, but they attend classes at the Ateneo de Manila or at the Loyola School of Theology.

As for the Colegio de San Jose as an institution, established in 1601 four hundred years ago, it exists today as San Jose Seminary, celebrating the four hundred anniversary since its foundation.

That in brief is the history of the Colegio de San Jose.

Source: San Jose Seminary website

Fr. Danny Huang, S.J. on the Death of Fr. Thomas H. Green, S.J. (1932-2009)

Remembering Tom Green
(March 19, 1932 – March 13, 2009)

When I woke up this morning, I was shocked to discover—from Facebook updates, of all things—that Fr. Tom Green had passed away. I had known, of course, that he was sick; but the suddenness of his passing away still came as a sad surprise.

Soon after I had texted my condolences, the present Rector of San Jose Seminary, Vic de Jesus, kindly called me up long distance to inform me of the details of Tom’s passing: how Tom had come home from the hospital last night; how one of the seminarians had peeked into his room this morning and found him sitting in his chair, with his pipe on his chest. He went very quickly, which is a real mercy.

I first met Tom Green thirty years ago. In my senior year at the Ateneo, school year 1979-80, I was in Fr. Green’s philosophy of language class. It was a wonderful course, and thirty years later, the fact that I can still remember so much—of the logical positivists, of Wittgenstein, that language is inescapably metaphorical, that some concepts are essentially contested—is surely testimony to the outstanding clarity and excellence of Fr. Green’s teaching.

My second encounter with Fr. Green was through his books. Opening to God, which I read twice—once as a college student, and more seriously, as a novice in the Society—was a deeply influential book in my life. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that it taught me how to pray. I read all his other books too, but my personal favorite, the book which I think is his best and wisest, is When the Wells Run Dry.

Two key insights from that book have remained with me through the decades. The first insight: that darkness happens, not just in prayer, but in life, to move us, in his words, from “loving to truly loving.” I still recall, more or less accurately, a sentence from the book, in which he reflects on a married couple’s promise to love each other “for better or worse”: “The better, the good times are there to teach us the joy of loving; the worse happens to teach us to love truly.”

The second insight: at the end of the book, Fr. Green uses the image of floating (as contrasted with swimming) as a metaphor for the mature life of faith. You give up control over your life (“swimming”); you remain active (otherwise you would sink), but you allow yourself to be led; you let go and entrust yourself to the unpredictable flow of the sea of love that surrounds you, and you let it take you where it wills.

My third and most lasting encounter with Tom Green happened in the eight years, from 1996 to 2004, when we lived together in the same community and worked on the same formation team in San Jose Seminary. At that time, we were also co-faculty members of Loyola School of Theology. From 2000 to 2004, the years I served as Rector of San Jose, Fr. Green was my Vice-Rector. He had the room right above mine in those years.

For eight years, we shared meals and attended many staff meetings together. With the rest of the Jesuit team, we processed hundreds of applications to the Seminary; sat through hours of semestral and yearly evaluations of seminarians; discussed and occasionally argued over Seminary policies. Almost every Monday evening, for eight years, we had common prayer together in the BVM chapel on the third floor of San Jose, and after prayer, shared a special meal in the Jesuit community recreation room.

When you live that long with another Jesuit, you get to know him quite well. I got to know about Tom Green’s legendary regularity of life. He followed the same schedule or cycles almost every day, every week, every year. If it was 130 PM, he could invariably be found in his rocking chair on the fifth floor reading the papers. If it was the third (I forget which, actually) Sunday of the month, he would have Mass in Balara or for the L’Arche community. If it was summer vacation, then he would be giving a retreat somewhere in the United States. And woe to you, if you moved that rocking chair, as one unwitting minister did!

I remember pleasant and witty Jesuit banter from those rec-room meals involving Tom Green. Once, Roque Ferriols was talking about Jesuit Bishop Honesto “Onie” Pacana, but kept on referring to him as “Honey Pacana.” The rest of us—Art Borja was there, I remember—corrected Fr. Roque and told him that the bishop’s nickname was pronounced “Onie” not “Honey.” When Roque said that he had always thought the bishop’s nickname was “Honey,” Tom Green quipped in a deadpan way: “Oh, I thought you were just close.” That brought the house down.

Tom was not perfect, I discovered. (His devoted lay friends, “the Golden Girls,” who took such good care of him, also knew that.) He tended to want things his way. He got cross and cranky when things did not go the way he wanted them to. He could express his opinions a bit too dogmatically. He did not admit his mistakes easily.

And yet, I appreciated his presence in the community and on the Seminary formation team. He was a very generous (he had so many directees!) and wise spiritual director. He was a man of very good and balanced judgment where persons were concerned, and I always valued his perceptions of applicants or seminarians. When I consulted him as Vice-Rector on issues of the Seminary, I usually received very sensible counsel.

By the time I got to San Jose, Tom was a grandfather figure to the seminarians, and his cheerful and easy manner of dealing with them, and the personal witness he gave of a man who had grown old—and happily so—in the priesthood was something, I think, of inestimable value for San Jose. Having been part of San Jose for over three decades, he had become for generations of Josefinos, an icon, a living link between the past and the present, a symbol of their happy years in the Seminary. With Tom’s passing away, an era in the history of San Jose comes to an end, a presence that cannot be replaced has been lost forever…

In all my years as Rector and as Provincial, Tom always told me that he hoped he could die in San Jose. He got his wish. I am glad for him. Now, I trust that he is in the presence of the One whom he wrote about, spoke about and served so faithfully and generously for so many years. Now, I trust the darkness has become light for him, and, with a joy no words can describe, he can let go and, at last, float.

FR. THOMAS H. GREEN, S. J. died on Friday morning, March 13, at San Jose Seminary. Fr. Tom would have been 77 on Thursday. He entered the Society on 7 September 1949 and was ordained a priest on 19 June 1963. Requiescat in pace.

Wake:
San Jose Seminary Chapel
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Q.C.
Daily wake Masses will be celebrated at 8:00 p.m.

Funeral Mass:
Thursday, 19 March at 8:00 a.m.
University Church of the Gesù, Ateneo de Manila University

Interment:
Sacred Heart Novitiate Cemetery
Novaliches, Quezon City
immediately after the Funeral Mass

Source: The Philippine Jesuits

Fr. Danny Huang, S.J. on the Death of Fr. Miguel Bernad, S.J. (1917-2009)

I woke up this morning to the sad news of yet another senior Jesuit of legendary stature passing away. Fr. Miguel Bernad died today in Cagayan de Oro at the age of 91.

I had the privilege of living with Fr. Mike when I was regent in Xavier University, from 1983 to 85. I know he had his flaws, as we all do; but he was always kind to me, and always, very thoughtfully, sent me his annual Christmas card and new issues of Kinaadman, the journal he had founded at Xavier U.

In his honor, I share this speech I gave in December 2007, at Xavier University, on the occasion of the conferment on Fr. Bernad of an honorary doctorate.

I hope you will not mind if I speak somewhat personally. I am proud to say that I was a student of Fr. Bernad. Twenty five years ago, when I was a Jesuit junior, I asked for and was granted permission to enroll in a Shakespeare course Fr. Bernad was teaching at the Ateneo de Manila. This was the first time I got to know Fr. Bernad “up close and personal,” as they say. He was a marvelous teacher, leading us to depth of insight, and helping us appreciate the greatness of Shakespeare’s poetry by his own dramatic readings of excerpts from the plays. Dr. Edna Manlapaz used to ask me, “How was last night’s performance?” –referring to those famous dramatic readings of Fr. Bernad! I also came to realize that Fr. Bernad is a man of excellent judgment, because, at the end of the semester, he gave me an “A”!

From that time on, Fr. Bernad has continued to influence me. Let me just mention three points of influence. First, as a scholastic, I tried to read any book of Fr. Bernad that I came across, first of all because of the beauty of his writing. Whether reading The Lights of Broadway and other Essays, or Tradition and Discontinuity, I found myself in constant admiration of what I can best describe as Fr. Bernad’s “chaste prose”. This was writing that was deceptively simple, even spare, without a single superfluous word, but utterly clear and always elegant, graceful, persuasive.

Second, in 1988, during my first year as a priest and on my first assignment as assistant parish priest in Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur, I read Fr. Bernad’s slim volume entited Rizal and Spain. That book’s discussion of Rizal’s life and activities in Dapitan during his time of exile there helped “save my life” that first difficult year of priesthood. I was a Manila boy, and had never been assigned to as rural, as lonely and culturally unfamiliar a place as Ipil. Reading Fr. Bernad’s descriptions of how Rizal redeemed his time of exile in Dapitan with many and varied projects in the service of the people of Mindanao inspired and challenged me to overcome my self-absorption and to aspire to imitate the spirit, if not the achievement, of Rizal.

Finally, in 2001, when I was Rector of San Jose Seminary as the seminary was preparing to celebrate its 400th year of existence, I invited Fr. Bernad to give a lecture on the history of San Jose. His lecture was a model of impeccable historical research. But in the space of an hour or so, Fr. Bernad also captured the color and drama of 400 years. He opened our imaginations, expanded our vision, helped us glimpse past identity and future possibility. For many of us, Fr. Bernad’s lecture was the highlight of our quadricentennial celebration.

I have taxed your patience with my personal testimony of Fr. Bernad’s influence in my life as a way of making more concrete my sense of the fittingness of this historic honor being bestowed on him. When Fr. Samson first broached the idea at the Board meeting of the Ateneo de Davao, and when his initial idea was enthusiastically received and amplified by the Presidents of the Ateneo de Zamboanga and Xavier University, I also gave my full support. At that time, it seemed to me a most appropriate way of honoring an eminent Jesuit scholar.

Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, S. J. died on15 March, around midday in Maria Reyna Hospital, Cagayan de Oro City. He started feeling unwell in late morning, and was brought to the hospital with low blood pressure. The heart was just too weak and he went home to the Lord at about 1:00 p.m. Fr. Bernad, 91, entered the Society 7 June 1932 and was ordained a priest 24 March 1946. Requiescat in pace.

Wake:
Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Xavier University
Cagayan de Oro City
Mass will be celebrated each evening at 8:00 p.m.

Funeral Mass:
Wednesday, 18 March at 9:00 a.m.
Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Xavier University

Interment:
Manresa Jesuit Cemetery
immediately after the Funeral Mass

Source: The Philippine Jesuits