Sacerdos in Aeternum by Rev. Fr. Rommel M. Arcilla:

My Papa

He was my idol, he was my best friend, he was my kakampi, he was my inspiration, especially when it comes to his optimistic outlook in life, he was always there for me especially during my adventurous years in motorbikes and races, and never did he let me down… for he was the best FATHER in the world.

He did not want me to enter the seminary and he openly told me his opposition to my plan when I passed the entrance exam for the minor seminary in Tabaco City (St. Gregory the Great Seminary). He told me that he would rather want me choose another career and marry and raise a family in the future, so that his name will be propagated in history. I didn’t understand why it was a big deal for him but I did not bother to ask because I know he’s got his reasons.

He cried when finally I entered the minor seminary. In silent protest, I purposely did not spend my vacation in Virac for three consecutive months just to avoid his “sermons” and other uninspiring words which are real and positive words towards killing a still struggling vocation. But I can never forget the moment when he embraced me so tight upon seeing me after three months of no nothing. I never saw him cry in my entire life except that moment when he seemed to have missed his first-born and only son so much. He cried harder when I sang to him one of my favorite songs, I’m Coming Home (by Birtles and Goble).

He was a very simple father, who would strive hard to make both ends meet for his family. He had a lot of friends from all over the province, and I was so overwhelmed when I saw how great his circle of friends was during the last trip for him, in his funeral procession. The long line of those who bade him farewell would be forever carved in my mind and I’m sure I will never be able to beat that achievement.

Sometimes I would ask myself, “kisay daw ako nag-lubos?” I asked me this question because of the simple fact that my life and temperaments were the exact opposite of that of my Papa. He lived a very simple life while I seem to want a life filled with so much complexity. He was so kind and I just can’t imitate and do it, hardly even to animals. He had an unlimited patience over things and persons who did not treat him well, and here I am, having inherited only a pinch of his patience.

One thing I regret is the fact that I never told him how much I love him. I’m sure he felt that love, but the act of telling him was one of the things I never did. I don’t know but I was made to believe in this crazy manly world that real men do not say “I love you” to another man. Now, this failure is just an added vitamin to my already strong and constant insomnia attacks. I love him so very much and I know that, being a FATHER to us, his children, he dearly loved us as his precious jewels even if at times we simply just couldn’t behave the way we should as obedient children of a sacrificing, loving and a very caring set of parents in the persons of +RODULFO and +MURITA of a happy memory.

Today, the whole world is celebrating Fathers’ Day. I really envy those of you who still have a living father to greet on this very special day. Instead, I would like to greet “Happy Father’s Day” those persons who acted as a father to me, especially when my Papa died in 1996, particularly the Most Rev. Manolo de los Santos and my brother priests of the Diocese of Virac. Those of you who continuously give me inspiring advices, and those of you who are always there to fill up the seeming abyss left by my Father’s early death, I assure you of my constant prayers and I do wish you and your families to have a real Christian family just like the Holy Family of Nazareth because this is the primordial calling to every Christian in this world.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all fathers in the world. My prayers are for you and please continue what you had begun. Be loving Fathers to your family because this is what your heart is made for… to love your family because you are a Father, just like God the Father, who loved all of us His children. Be man enough to fight and stand up for your wife and children. Protect them from all forms of attacks that are so cunning as the snakes sometimes. I hope and pray you will be real models of what a Christian Father should be.

To all Priests like me, whom people address as FATHER, the same greeting goes out for you because you have chosen a more wonderful and holistic way of being a Father… Happy Father’s Day to you Fathers!

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