St. Peter Calls

Response of Ricardo J. Romulo at the funeral mass celebrated by Jaime Cardinal Sin, December 19, 1985

Your Emminence, Excellencies, and Friends:

The secret of his longevity, according to my father, is that he answers “absent” whenever St. Peter calls the rolls. Considering what is transpiring on planet earth, St. Peter must have need of my father’s boundless optimism and unshakable faith in man’s perfectibility because this time Dad’s request for a furlough was denied.

Today my brothers and I are truly orphaned. It is difficult enough to lose a father; it is twice as difficult when he has been an extraordinary one. I was often asked how it is to be the son of a famous man. In jest, and perhaps in irritation, I frequently replied: “It sure beats being the son of a horse thief.” Actually, it was less taxing than you might imagine.

My father never made us feel that we had to compete or equal his accomplishments. He always recognized that we had our own unique personalities and talents. But more than that, he made us an integral part of his life. We never felt shut out. We shared his victories and his defeats, his dreams and frustrations, his hopes and disappointments. No major decision affecting our family was ever made by him without first consulting us. He showed such great concern for our welfare. As soon as he learns that I have caught a cold, he is on the phone urging me to rest. He used to nag Greg and Bobby constantly about their smoking. When the moratorium was declared in 1983, he worried endlessly about how our individual businesses were coming along. And yet, remarkably, my father never worried about money matters during his long life. His finances were simply something my late mother and then Beth had to sort out. He established another tradition in the family. Each grandchild was entitled to a dinner at the best restaurant of his or her choice on his or her birthday hosted by their grandfather.

My father died as he lived: indomitable, at peace with God, and in the bosom of his family. Nevertheless, his death has left us disconsolate. He was so much a part of us, and he left us with such memories, however, that as long as we live, he will be with us. Moreover, we are consoled by the teachings of our ancient faith that death is but the beginning of eternal life; and we take heart in the beatitude so applicable to my father “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

On behalf of Beth and the rest of the family, allow me to express our deep gratitude for the sympathy, kindnesses, and concern that all of you have shown us during our moment of sorrow, and may I add a special word of appreciation to Cardinal Sin for celebrating this funeral mass and for his generous tribute to my father.

I would be remiss in my duty as a son if I did not also specially thank all the doctors who were unsparing in their care of dad and who labored mightily to save his life.

My last words are addressed to Beth. For the love, devotion, care, and companionship which you gave our father, we shall be forever in your debt. “May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

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