“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news ¨
This biblical text describes perfectly the life and mission of our dear confrere, Fr. Everaldo dos Santos, SX (Fr. Aldo). He was a man of prayer and joy in all the places and moments with people he worked.
Since the first moment of his arrival in this beautiful country, Fr. Aldo brought good news to our community of theology. I remember the first song he prepared for us, “Magdalena.” It was the way he chose to bring the good news.
Rivers, mountains or distances are not obstacles for a Xaverian to deliver the message that “salvation is in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Fr. Aldo’s apostolic zeal brought him to walk distances, to travel by motorbike, habal-habal, car and airplane. All this was done with simplicity and joy. Thus, his smile still remains in the minds and hearts of all those who lived with him as a brother among brothers.
We are celebrating the first anniversary of the departure of this great missionary and we are still looking for an answer that could explain his early return to the house of the Father. He still seems to come to our Sama-sama meetings or to lead the liturgical celebrations in all the places he accompanied. However, we open our eyes and entrust him to the mercy and compassion of the One who called him and called every Xaverian to participate in the plan of Salvation.
Fr. Aldo fulfilled the mission entrusted to him as a Xaverian and like the apostles has returned with joy to the house of God. Fr. Aldo is now in the company of Fr. Peter preparing for the celebration that never ends, singing Purihin ang Panginoon, Diyos ay Pag-ibig because indeed, “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news.”
Fr. Javier F. Mexicano, sx
“My last experience with him revealed to me two main characters of father Aldo. First, everybody agrees that he is a joyful person. Being a joyful person, that was manifested in his daily life with us. He used to tell funny stories during our meals, community meetings, formative dialogue, informal conversations, in his homilies and encounter with the parishioners. There was always a message behind his stories, especially for our students. He told us in a very creative way.
Besides from the meaningful, funny story that characterized his joyful person, there is also his talent of playing guitar and singing. Every time we have a birthday celebration or a feast in the parish, he always played a joyful song. When he took the guitar, the Brazilian song “Maria tcha tcha tcha” and Filipino song “Inihaw,” would be sung by him… talking about joy, I recalled what he said in our formative dialogue during my pastoral immersion in Marikina. He said, “Adrian, when you encounter suffering, let it happen to you. Don’t complain, accept it, and give a meaning for it. You will be happy.” He continued, “The joy is not only when you are happy, but also when you are in suffering.” What I understood from his words was the invitation for me to enter into the joy of the Lord (Matthew 25: 21).
The second character that I would point out is the virtue of fortitude. When he said, “No one dies because of pain,” was indeed the spirit of Aldo, the spirit of resilience. He was struggling to remain strong until his last moment. When he was very weak, he strived to go down from his room to be with us in the dining room. When I go back to those moments, they bring tears to the eyes. I have to say that it is not only fortitude, but it was also his love for us, as a rector, father, and friend. This total love for each one of us is unforgettable. His fortitude has shown me what I have learnt from Loyola School of Theology about how Christian faith looks at suffering and death. It says, “Our suffering and death, joined to the suffering and death of Christ, represent not dissolution, but growth, not punishment but fulfillment, not sadness but joy. God allows suffering and death to enable us to live with Christ now and forever.”
By Adrian Bria
“… As a rector, he allowed us to know that he could also make mistakes like any other person; he always shared with us not only his qualities, but his mistakes as well. By telling his mistakes, he wanted us to understand that all of us are sinners, no matter what title or authority we have. He taught me that holiness does not mean perfection, rather the ability to acknowledge ourselves as sinners and yet beloved by God and call to communion with Him.”
By Ulrich Saa.
Today, first anniversary of his death, we pray for the peaceful repose of his soul and remember him. We thank God for his kindness to him, at the same time, we invoke His mercy on Fr. Aldo. Although he believed in God, loved Him and his neighbors till the end of his life, he was also imperfect like all of us.
We continue showing our affection by praying for him so that any stain of sin be washed away, that all wounds be healed, and that he may be purified from all that is not Christ.
Fr. Aldo, rest in peace and intercede for each one of us. Amen.