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Unwed mother accepts apology of Fr. Obach

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Marian Z. Codilla, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag July 10,2014 - 09:16 AM

The 17-year-old unwed mother who was insulted by Fr. Romeo Obach during her child’s baptism rites play with her newly born baby (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

It took a handwritten letter, tears and a public apology but in the end, Redemptorist priest Romeo Obach was forgiven.

The 17-year-old unwed mother whom he scolded for bringing her newborn son to baptism said she has accepted his apology and wants to move on.

“Mu-eskwela nako next sem. Dili ko ganahan na mahasol ko sa akong pag eskwela. Napasaylo na nako siya. Okay nako na. Pareha mi nakat-on sa nahitabo,” said the young mother who was cradling her newborn son in the small tin-roof house where her family lives in Mandaue City.

(I’ll go back to school next semester. I don’t want this to burden my studies. I’ve forgiven him. I’m OK with this. We’ve both learned something from what happened.)

The two have yet to meet in person after the scathing sermon Fr. Obach gave in last Sunday’s baptismal rites at the Sacred Heart chapel where he is the chaplain.

The teenager yesterday read his handwritten letter in Cebuano, where the priest pleaded for forgiveness for the pain caused to the girl and her family.

The priest didn’t say why he used “cruel” words to drive home his point about the value of marriage. He offered no excuse and asked to meet her so he could tell her himself that he was sorry.


The path for reconciliation was made easier by a private meeting the day before when the girl’s mother looked for the priest at the Redemptorist church in Cebu City about 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

In a room in the nearby seminary, the two embraced and talked in the presence of his superior Fr. Cruzito Manding and the woman’s companion.

She said the 59-year-old priest held her tightly for several minutes and sobbed while asking for forgiveness.

The grandmother, a 37-year-old barangay tanod, said she, too, asked for forgiveness for posting online the video of his tirade against her daughter.

The priest, who is under investigation by his congregation for “unacceptable conduct” during the baptism, is not allowed to celebrate Mass or perform other church-related functions in the meantime.

“Father, sorry kon akong na-upload ang video. Dili nako tuyo nga dauton ka ug ang simbahan,” she recalled telling him. (Father, I’m sorry for uploading the video. It was not my intention to destroy you or the church.)

“Makapasaylo man ko. Wala man ko maglagot nimo pero nasakitan ug naulaw lang ko sa nahitabo.”

(I can forgive you. I don’t hate you but I was hurt and humiliated by what you did.”

“Wala ko mag huna-huna ug balos kay isip kristyano, ang Ginoo na maoy bahala niya kung nakasala ba siya or wala,” she added.

(I wasn’t thinking of getting even with him because as a Christian, I believe it’s up to God to judge whether he has sinned.)

The matron said she quickly posted the video on her Facebook account to apprise friends and relatives about their humiliating ordeal. She said she didn’t realize the video would circulate widely and go viral.

The grandmother said she felt the priest’s sincerity and remorse in her conversation with Fr. Obach.

When she went home, a copy of Fr. Obach’s and the Cebu Redemptorist Community’s public apologies were delivered by another priest.

The family has three other children aged 11 to 16. The father is an ambulance driver.

After the encounter with Fr. Obach, the parents spoke with their teenage daughter and advised her to forgive and forget for her peace of mind.

“Mas mulu-ag ang atong kasingkasing og panghuna huna kung makapasaylo ta,” said the 37-year-old matriarch.

(Our hearts and minds will be lighter if we forgive.)

The meeting with Fr. Obach took place at about the same hour a Redemptorist spokesman faced the media and released the written public apologies of the priest and the entire congregation on Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, Fr. Obach’s handwritten letter was delivered by a family friend.

This time it was addressed to the 17-year-old mother whose baby he baptized last Sunday.

“Allow me to express my deep regret for the painful action I’ve done to all of you and those who witnessed it. I had no intention of saying that in front of all of you. I deeply regret this and I beg you to forgive me for what I did last July 6, 2014 in the chapel of the Sacred Heart,” the priest wrote in Cebuano.

Fr. Obach said he was ready to meet the girl at a time and place of her choice so he could apologize in person.

Two investigators from the Commission on Human Rights visited the family’s house in Mandaue City yesterday offering assistance in case they decide to take legal action against the priest for child abuse.

Both mother and daughter said they were not interested in filing a case.

But they were concerned about tracking down the boyfriend who left the 17 year old after learning she was pregnant.

CHR investigator Lilybeth Llona encouraged them to go to the CHR-7 office.

“This is a separate situation. The baby’s father should support the child,” she said.

The infant’s 22-year-old father hails from Tabogon town in north Cebu and hasn’t visited or stayed in touch.

Related Stories:

Video shows priest humiliating unwed mother in baptism

Priest apologizes for ‘cruel’ words to unwed mother; 17-year-old mom wants to hear it in person 

Emotional dialogue between priest, mother of unwed teen mother 


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TAGS: Jagobiao, priest, unwed mother

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