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Vidal’s work, humility, humor recalled

October 24,2017 - 11:11 PM

Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City North District) talks about the late Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal during his eulogy on Sunday at the Cardinal’s wake at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.


A funeral eulogy, a writer once said, is a belated plea for the defense delivered after all the evidence is in. Whoever wrote that must be a lawyer who had just lost a big case.

That cannot be said about his Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

The evidence submitted please (sic) exceedingly well of his work and his piety in the service of God.

Besides, he himself would not wish anyone arguing for him when he was made to account before the Lord. Pray for him, yes. He, a member of his flock, “I’ll pray for you.”

He deeply believed in prayer as currency.

Many people talk about his humility. I was a witness to that. Yes, as someone who admired him from afar, being a member of the Catholic Church, and up close, in the church social initiatives where I was given the change to help in his work.

He was not self-absorbed. He knew, or tried always to know and understand, “why people are hurting.” And he didn’t look around for the person or persons to find fault with or pin the blame on. He would even take “responsibility for his part in their grief.”

That was why, I think, he succeeded many times at mediating in conflict and brokering peace: a coup standoff, a labor dispute or a political verbal brawl.

It was his humility — and his empathy with those who fight for their respective causes — that calmed their anger and opened the arena of battle to reason.

And Cardinal Vidal was known for his sense of humor.

The story is told of someone defending him against a comment in a public forum, which criticized him in a boorish manner.

“Why was it rude?” the cardinal asked. His defender said, “He called you Ricardo, “no ‘archbishop,’ no ‘cardinal’ before your name.”

The cardinal said, “But I am Ricardo, I call myself Ricardo, that’s my Christian name — although I wouldn’t mind being called San Ricard.”

The story is probably apocryphal, but it tells he could poke fun at himself, and it shows a glimpse of what true humility can be: one who is humble does not demand obeisance from others; whatever comes, but it, gentle rain’s caress or storm’s whiplash, he accepts it in the same manner.

It’s not like the cardinal would say, “I call myself Ricardo, but you and others address me as ‘Cardinal Ricardo’ or ‘Your eminence.’”

However, others call him, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal was a gift to Cebu and the Cebuanos. And what a wonder, heartwarming, fullsome gift.

For 35 years or more than three decades, he was with us, serving Cebu as our spiritual leader and moral compass.

In my first reaction to the news of his death, I said his fall was like that of a giant tree. The sound is thunderous. The huge shelter is gone. One, the aching void, remains.

He would have none of that, of course. All throughout the term of his service, Cardinal Vidal had been telling us, “faith survives and compassion endures.”

Like the virtues he has espoused through the years when he was in our midst, the name Cardinal Ricardo Vidal will survive and endure in our minds — and in our hearts.

(This is the eulogy given by Cebu City North District Rep. Raul del Mar on Sunday at the cardinal’s wake – his tribute to Vidal.)

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TAGS: humility, humor, Vidal’s, work

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