Wednesday, June 08, 2005


By Orly Punzalan
Rodel's note: I was searching the web for a picture of our tatang orly when i stumbled upon this article from kerygma. I hope you like it. It was written by Tatang himself.

The Year 2000. The Great Jubilee Year. For the Catholic Church, it is a time of great blessing, a time for "abundant remission and pardon of sin," a time of forgiveness.

And indeed, countless accounts on forgiveness have been going around, some of them used by our priest-friends during their homilies. A favorite recount was that of Fr. Basilio David, the Rector of the Our Lady of Counsel Seminary in Apalit, Pampanga. Fr. David was a personal friend. I first met him when I entered this seminary way back in 1954, and for the three years I was with him, he has taught us the real essence of forgiveness. This man was known to breathe, walk, and eat forgiveness.

Three years ago, Fr. David was asked to go to the United States in order to solicit funds for the seminary. While there, he was assigned as Parish priest of the St. Bonaventure Parish in Ohio. One evening, as he was closing the church doors up, a black man came and pointed a gun at him, demanding that he hand over all of the church's money.

"But I don't have money in here," Fr. David said, as he tried to keep a straight face despite the danger. With that remark, the hijacker got upset. Sensing that the robber had been agitated, Fr. David prayed not for personal protection but for the Lord to forgive his marauder.

As the kind priest was praying, the thief staunchly aimed his weapon on the seemingly helpless Fr. David and pulled the trigger. Click! He pulled the trigger a second time. Click! On his third try, the gun still wouldn't go off. The man just stood there perplexed. Suddenly, he found himself handing his gun over to Fr. David, and between uncontrollable sobs, the would-be perpetrator ended up asking for forgiveness and telling Fr. David his problems.

Recognizing sincere remorse on the part of the black man, Fr. David offered to pray for the thief. After that, he called 911, and handed the man over to the authorities, appealing to them not to book the man, but rather assist him so he would stay off the streets.

This story may not have happened during the time of the Great Jubilee. But then again, should forgiveness be conferred only every fifty years?