Toward the end of the 70s, we had a procession going towards Fuente Osmeña after participating in a Mass at the Redemptorist Church. Rev. Fr. Abdon Josol and Rev. Fr. Rudy Romano were leading the procession.
At the corner near Robinson two men in uniform raised firearms and accosted the priests.
They proceeded to arrest them and led them towards the F. Ramos police precinct. The people would also not let them go and followed them to the precinct.
They stayed until the police personnel let go of the priests.
Why would a whole group of people do this?
Why did their loyalty to these people of God be a challenge to the authorities then?
Because they have a record of “withness” and were deeply immersed among the people.
Reading the moving essay, “Fr. Rudy Romano, Missing but Still Alive…” by Ma. Lourdes A. Alorro, I found out what a joyful inspiring presence Fr. Rudy Romano had been to parishioners, student leaders, community workers, workers, organizers, and many others.
Sr. Vincent Borromeo, RGS actually lived among the Alay Kapwa folk and had a time of living in Carbon market.
When I asked her why she did not stay in the Good Shepherd Convent or in their residence, she informed me that it was actually Fr. Rudy Romano who advised her to do this.
Among Fr. Rudy’s involvements what struck me was his support for workers in their effort to be educated and organized.
In our highly developed megacity the formation of genuine workers’ unions can be quite a challenge because this meant confronting powerful forces.
He realized that religious involvement would make the difference.
It did, but the price was his disappearance.
I will always remember that he was generous enough to be the recollection speaker of one graduating class of UP High School.
Apart from being the speaker, he offered the use of a room at the St. Alphonsus Seminary for the recollection.
Then, he said the graduation Mass for the class. I cannot recall his homily but will forever remember his great magnanimity.
I loved it that he was actually an intense but quite serene person.
I miss his warmth, but I rejoice in the thought that I share his hope that Christians will actually be a powerful force in the liberation of our nation.
To remember Fr. Rudy, here’s the poem by Maria Lourdes Alfaro Alorro.
We have grown to become what we want to be
Many of us have seen the days of torture
Many of us demur from a continuing
Cycle of dictatorship
That many of us have died
Have been believed to die
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