A Lasting Brotherhood

A few months back, I wrote about a miracle I had witnessed. It was the story of Lambert. Now his story moves on and this time, another fellow seminarian from our common past enters the picture and becomes  a heartwarming part of the story.

Ed with his lovely wife Lyn

Ed Mendoza and I went together to San Carlos where he was two years my senior. I remembered him very well because he was the favorite student of everybody’s favorite Philosophy professor then, Fr. Gerald Decaesteker or Descartes as he was fondly called. He left the seminary after his college studies and we lost touched with each other. When we moved to the US, I was able to renew my contact with him. The Karlistas in the Bay Area have a very lively brotherhood that is kept alive by our regular get-togethers. Ed was a regular at such gatherings. Sadly, he passed away last March 4, 2018 after a long bout with cancer. He faced his illness with great equanimity and admirable clear-headedness. He was lucid and in full control of his faculties and himself till the very end.


Lambert with his patented smil

Lambert also studied in San Carlos Seminary; but he entered after Ed had left. He also finished his college studies and then left. He pursued a career in teaching, then moved on to be a marketing man where he made his mark. He rose to the highest echelons of corporate leadership in the organizations he worked with. He married the beautiful Vilma, with whom he has three children all of whom are now professionals in their own chosen field. Both Lambert and Vilma were active members of Couples for Christ and were involved in various apostolates with various groups and in their parish. Alas, Vilma also succumbed to cancer of the colon in 2007. Since then, Lambert has been living the life of a celibate as a widower.

There is something about studying in the seminary. Something happens to a person that seems to be indelible and becomes part of his personhood, never to be erased. I guess when priests are told on their ordination day, “Tu es sacerdos in aeternum.”, the indelible imprint starts being seared into a man’s character as early as his seminary formation. Ed and Lambert may have left the seminary; but the seminary never left their hearts.
I guess this was especially true of Lambert who has maintained a healthy relationships with people he was in the seminary with. I was in regular contact with my own classmates and close friends and he would often join us when we got together. The picture below is on such occasion. This picture was taken some fourteen years ago during the episcopal ordination of Bishop Francis de Leon. And this photo has a prophetic ring to it.

With Lambert at the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Francis de Leon

Even then, Lambert would say in jest that should he become a widower, he would probably go back to the seminary to try, finish his priestly formation and get himself ordained a priest. And what do you know, soon after Vilma’s demise, Lambert went into a serious discernment about being a priest. To make a long period of prayers and consultations, Lambert went to finish his theological studies and scouted around for a Bishop who would be willing to ordain him, given his unique and unusual circumstances. And guess who that Bishop is – this same Bishop Francis de Leon. Lambert is now a Deacon and he is scheduled to be ordained a priest on June 1, 2018.
Ed also never quite forgot his life in the seminary. On his death bed, Ed wanted to leave as among his legacy a mass chalice that some deserving priest can use in his ministry. This is a common practice among member of the Knights of Columbus. Ed wanted someone he knew to donate his memorial chalice to. I told him about Lambert. And the two of them got in contact: Lambert in the Philippines and Ed in Texas, USA. And this is the chalice that Ed gifted to Lambert for his ordination to the priesthood.

Mass chalice, Paten and Carrying Case for Rev. Lambert Ramos from Grand Knight Ed Mendoza
This is the ‘Thank You’ note that the very grateful Rev. Lambert wrote to the grieving but at peace widow of Ed, Lynn Mendoza. All the pain, sacrifices and sufferings, all the hopes, dreams and aspirations, all the loving, caring and sharing, all the faith, the hope and the joys of a lasting brotherhood, finally come together and are distilled in this one letter.

The Widow, the Widower and the Chalice

Back in the seminary we called this Vinculum Caritatis.
This entry was posted in Friendship, Relationships, The Good News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Lasting Brotherhood

  1. Jose Raoul Dizon says:

    Moving story. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Aurelio Joaquin says:

    chance aligning with design.
    hoping your reflections would attract more responses.

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