Homily by Fr. Ro Atilano, SJ for the Mass on the Day of Mourning for Fr. Salty de la Rama, SJ

March 25, 2021
Fr. Ro Atilano, SJ

(This is the homily delivered by Fr. Ro Atilano, SJ during the Mass on the Day of Mourning for Fr. Salty de la Rama, SJ by the Ateneo Grade School community.)

by Fr. Ro Atilano, SJ

Today as we remember the visit of the Archangel to Our Blessed Virgin Mary to proclaim God’s plan of salvation, we mourn the sudden death of our beloved Headmaster, Fr. Salty dela Rama, SJ.

Our hearts are broken and no words can capture the feeling of loss we have right now.

We will surely miss Fr. Salty.

Before the lockdown, whenever Fr. Salty would do his rounds in the Ateneo grade school campus, students would run to give him their little big hugs. There were even times when teachers had to warn Father Salty not to walk near a classroom during exams. Otherwise, imagine students runnning out of their exam rooms to greet and hug Fr. Salty.

Who would forget Fr. Salty as lector, commentator, and lay minister of Radyo Katipunan’s daily masses during this time of the pandemic? Our daily masses here at this station will never be the same again.

We will surely miss Fr. Salty. I already do.

Fr. Salty is a good friend of mine. We became closer to each other during this pandemic. Whenever he sees me, he sings, “Row, row, row your boat.” I will miss that. Whenever I preside over my masses here at Radyo Katipunan, he sings with me as I give my final blessing, “May the blessing of Almighty God be upon you, the blessing of the Father and the Son, and may the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Love be with you all your days.” I will miss that too.

Perhaps that’s what angels do. They come at the right time to bring good news especially during dark times. Then, they go away when their mission is accomplished.

Surely Fr. Salty was not perfect, far from being a real angel. We all are anyway. Some of us know his flaws and weaknesses. But somehow despite his imperfections, he managed to bring joy to many especially his beloved students at the Ateneo Grade School and the massgoers of our online daily masses. In his own ways, he has touched many lives and brought others closer to God.

And for that, he is an angel in his own imperfect ways. A big one! He is like BayMax in Disney’s Big Hero 6, or Po of Kung Fu Panda, or Gru of Despicable Me. Not perfect but lovable… and cuddly.

And now his mission is accomplished. In God’s eyes, he did well.

We are grateful to God for sending Fr. Salty to visit us. Just like Angel Gabriel visiting Mary to announce the Good News of God, Fr. Salty also came to visit us to bring cheers and hope during these difficult times. Now it’s time for Fr. Salty to go back to God. He has done the job enstrusted to him by God.

And God will continue to send angels to visit us when we need them the most. In fact, God has sent each one of us to be angels to someone during these difficult times.

Fr. Salty, you shall always be remembered. Pray for us. Whisper our prayers to God. Fly now with all the angels in heaven. Surely God has given you stronger and mightier wings to carry your heavy weight. Someday, we will see each other again and we will fly together.