Friday, September 15, 2006

Prayer in Honor of Richard Michael R. Fernando, SJ

This year, we mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Richard Michael R. Fernando, SJ. Richie was a Jesuit scholastic assigned during his regency to work in Cambodia in a technical school for landmine victims. On October 17, 1996, Sarom, one of the students threatened to release a hand grenade after being asked to leave the school. Richie tried to save the students and grasped the angry student. When Sarom finally dropped the grenade, Richie fell over it to save him, dying while still grasping him tightly in his arms.

This is the prayer I composed in his honor, based on a letter he wrote four days before he offered his life, and incorporating the grace of the Three Companions whom we celebrate this Jesuit Jubilee Year:


“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt 6: 21)

Almighty God,
you called your servant,
Richard Michael R. Fernando, S.J.
to serve you in a foreign land,
to accompany a downtrodden people,
and to lay down his life in witness
to your Gospel of love and peace.

Instill in us the vision
to share in your unforgotten dream
of fullness of life for all people.

Enkindle in us the passion
to participate in your work with generosity
and to serve with gladness
where there is greatest need.

Grant us the compassion
to love you in our brethren
and to give our all
for the least and the last among us.

The heart of your servant remained always with Christ,
Place our hearts with your Son,
who laid down his life for his own in the world,
and allow us to dedicate our lives
in pursuit of the Kingdom
for your greater glory.

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.


"I know where my heart is. It is with Jesus Christ, who gave his all for the poor, the sick, the orphan... I am confident that God never forgets his people: our disabled brothers and sisters. And I am glad that God has been using me to make sure that our brothers and sisters know this fact. I am convinced that this is my vocation." -Richie Fernando to Totet Banaynal, four days before his death
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At 11:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always admired Bro. Richie, sj from the very moment i heard the news of his heroic self-giving. I consider him one of my personal heroes. I often times speak to him in prayer especially now that I am discerning my vocation. I am one of those looking forward to the day that the Church will recognize his heroic self-giving, his witnessing (martyrdom) to the faith. Do you have information whether the cause for his beatification and canonization has been initiated? Or at least do you know someone making a petition for a formal inquiry into his life and virtues? 10 years is already enough time to start his cause? I believe we need someone like Bro. Richie, sj to look up to... someone so contemporary... he has a lot to offer the Church: his example and power to intercede before God...

At 10:50 AM , Blogger Leo Martin Angelo R. Ocampo said...

The Catholic Church usually observes a 50-year ban before seriously considering a cause for sainthood to ensure that things are taken not so hastily and that the cause is not just ran by sheer impetus and enthusiasm. This ban has been lifted on some rare occasions, the most recently noted ones are for the causes of Saint Josemaria Escriva and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

I also hope his cause would prosper. At the local level, there had been several initiatives to promote awareness of his story. The Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus where Bro. Richie Fernando belonged is leading the efforts of course but there are others such as the Divine Mercy Shrine in Marilao, Bulacan.

Even with the already thick cloud of witnesses inspiring us to run this race, to use Saint Paul's description, we always need mmore and new witnesses to guide us by their example and to intercede for us before God's holy throne. Thank you and God bless.

At 12:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, bro. for those information. You've mentioned about a 50-year ban on initiating the cause. I read a release from the Vatican Information Service dated Sept. 12, 1997 stating only 5 years is necessary under the present norms. Let me quote: "To begin a cause it is necessary for at least 5 years to have passed since the death of the candidate. This is to allow greater balance and objectivity in evaluating the case and to let the emotions of the moment dissipate."

That said, ten years is already enough time to "let emotions... dissipate". I do believe it's time to at least initiate the cause at the diocesan level. We all know how the process can be long. How long exactly no one can tell. Plus the witnesses - his contemporaries, superiors, friends, etc. - are also getting old.

At 7:28 AM , Blogger Leo Martin Angelo R. Ocampo said...

I stand corrected then. Thanks for the update.

Yes. I guess they also considered that witnesses can soon die out. Its harder to deal with just tons and tons of archives.

The diocesan level usually starts soon enough. So much more if the holy person belongs to a religious community. We have first-class relics of Saint Maximilian Kolbe who died in a Nazi concentration camp simply because his brother friars started collecting his hair and beard whenever they could way back when he was still with them, already sensing his extraordinary sanctity.

At 9:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Bro. Richie, sj,'s birthday (birth to eternal life) today... May he continue to inspire us and many other especially the Filipino youth. May the Lord hasten the day when the Church will formally recognize his self-giving through the life he lived and his heroic death in Cambodia ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

At 11:36 AM , Anonymous Mervyn Perez said...

personally, I am a devotee of Kuya Ritchie, as I call him. His life is an inspiration for me to follow Christ. He is a contemporary example of discipleship. I feel close to him, as a filipino, as a man and as a kababayan here in Novaliches. Mary the Queen Parish in Novaliches, (near SM fairview) promotes devotion to him. His parents too live in the subdivision nearby (teresa Heights) and give stampitas. I visited his tomb twice in the Jesuit Novitiate,a nd even met his father. Oh I hope I can get contact with his family again. , thank you for the gift of Kuya Ritchie to the Church and to us, his Filipino brethren.

The Diocese of Malolos, through Msgr. Moises Andrade of Fatima Shrine in Valenzuela, approved the printing of stampitas asking the intercession of kuya ritchie.
Please join us in praying for kuya ritchie's immediate beatification.

Kuya Ritchie, pray for us.

At 1:53 PM , Anonymous Comedy Writer said...

Hi, I used your entry as a source for a blog i wrote for Richie.

if you want to check it out url is

At 9:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I would like to ask your help so that I can get prayer cards of Bro. Richie. I admire his simple life and total surrender to the will of God. He made me realize that holiness is not a luxury of the few but a call for everyone... One must not do extraordinary things to become extraordinary but by giving his heart joyfully and wholeheartedly...Please contact me via mobile phone 09053880277 or by email and God bless...

At 6:51 PM , Anonymous mervyn perez said...

hi bro! your prayer text is wonderful!

At 7:11 PM , Anonymous mervyn perez said...

in behalf of our group, "The Friends of Bro. Richie Fernando, SJ" ( I would like to thank you for this beautiful prayer text. may I seek your permission to have this printed and given away, so as to promote his cause? thank you

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