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)
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