Anywhere The Heart Goes – 1
At the Holy Rosary seminary in San Nicolas, Fr. Santiago Mendoza was assisting the victims of the fire which destroyed the 100 plus houses in barangay del Pilar, a resettlement area in San Nicolas.
Some of the victims were accommodated by the DSWD but some took shelter in the seminary. Aling Teresita dela Rosa works as a cook at the seminary and Father Santi immediately offered her and her family and some other neighbors a temporary shelter at the seminary.
“Maraming salamat po sa pagpapatuloy nyo sa amin dito. Pinapangako ko po, susuklian ko lahat ng kabutihan nyo sa amin.” A tearful Teresita dela Rosa was very thankful to Father Santi.
They lost everything and she was grateful to have saved her daughter Maya and nephew Simon from the fire which also killed three kids in the neighborhood. Good thing that the fire happened before she reported to work for she usually leaves Simon and Maya alone by themselves at their rented room.
“Aling Teresita welcome po kayong lahat dito sa amin. Ang alalahanin nyo na lang po ay ang mga bata. Pinapaayos ko na po kay Manang Fe yun mga bakanteng kwarto sa building A. Tamang tama bakasyon ng mga seminarista natin kaya maraming bakanteng kwarto na maaari nyong gamitin.”
Father Santi was a kindhearted middle-aged priest who’s the Director of Formation at the local seminary.
He was the parish priest before he was tapped to head the seminary because of his charisma, intelligence and people skills. It was when he took charge that the enrollees of the seminary increased and many seemed to appreciate priesthood again.
The parishioners of San Nicolas loved him as he always made them feel important and loved. He doesn’t only talk about the teachings of the church. He actually lives it and many people were inspired to also follow his lead. He was always the first to respond to the needs of the people of San Nicolas.
Today he again showed his selfless love by being the first to show up at the fire site to provide the immediate needs of the victims, be it food, clothes, shelter and words to calm them.
“Maraming salamat po Father Santi.” It was Aling Ibing, a neighbor of Aling Teresita and also a victim of the fire.
“Ambait nyo po talaga Father.” Aling Ginny too was profusely thanking the priest.
“Naku kayo talaga. Ang simbahan ay bukas para sa inyong lahat. Magtulong tulong na lang tayo upang ayusin yun mga kailangan nyo pa. Sasamahan kayo ni Lino.”
Lino was Father Santi’s funny assistant. On their way to the seminary, he made the victims feel good by talking to them and joking around. He always had his way of making things light.
As the parents were fixing the few belongings they salvaged from the fire and the supplies given by the dswd and the parish itself in their assigned rooms, the kids stayed in the seminary grounds where the soccer field, basketball court and garden was situated. Father Santi allowed them to play so the kids would at least momentarily forget the trauma they experienced in the fire.
Eight years old Maya and nine years old Simon were playing catch with the small rubber ball owned by Simon at the garden.
When Simon threw the ball at the direction where there are benches and tables under the trees, Maya scrambled to chase the ball and tripped. She turned pale as she saw her knee scarred and starting to bleed. Simon panicked and immediately rushed towards the area where Nanay Teresita was, leaving Maya by herself.
She was already crying when a bespectacled, bedimpled Chinese looking guy in a priest outfit, crouched so he could be eye level with her.
“Hey are you okay? Be careful. Here let me wipe the dirt from your knees.” He retrieved his hankie and gently wiped the little girl’s knee.
Maya just stared at him with her doe-shaped tearful eyes.
He immediately carried the little girl when he realized that her knees were bleeding. He rushed towards the direction of the clinic.
“Stop crying. We will take care of the wound. Gagamutin natin, okay?”
Little Maya just leaned her head on his shoulder as he carried her.
The were met by a very worried Nanay Teresita and Fr. Santi.
“Maya! Napano ka anak? Naku ang likot likot kasi. Pasensya na po Father. Naistorbo ka pa po ng mga bata.” She was addressing the priest carrying Maya.
“Deretso na po tayo dun sa clinic para malapatan ng first aid. Father Santi ako na po bahala dito.” Was the only reply she got from the guy carrying her daughter. He seemed serious, stern and upset thinking that she left the kids by themselves.
Father Santi, Aling Teresita and Simon were all trailing behind.
“Richard I don’t think Nurse Rafi is in the clinic now.” It was Father Santi.
“Ah opo, umalis sya kanina. I’ll take care of it. Madali lang naman to. I just have to clean it so it won’t get infected.”
Maya was comfortably leaning on his shoulder as she now stopped crying. She could see her mom following them.
Father Santi left them at the clinic for he still has to take care of the needs of the fire victims. He’s meeting with some of the volunteers of the parish.
“O hayan, okay na yun sugat. Mamaya lang hindi na yan masakit.” He was now smiling at the little girl who just stared at him the whole time he cleaned and dressed the wound.
“Nanay eto po, lagyan nyo na lang mamaya bago siya matulog.” He gave Aling Teresita antiseptics to be used.
“Maraming salamat po father.”
“Ah hindi pa po ako pari. I’m still a seminarian. I’m Richard Lim po.” He extended his hand to Aling Teresita who gladly accepted it.
“Ah ano po… Ako po si Teresita dela Rosa at eto naman ang anak kong si Maya at ang pinsan nyang si Simon. Maraming salamat po Brother Richard. Yan po ba ang tawag sa inyo?”
“Richard na lang po o kaya Ricky. Palayaw ko po.”
He ruffled Maya’s hair ang gently pinched her chubby cheeks. “Ah Maya pala ang pangalan mo. Masakit pa ba yun sugat?”
She shyly nodded.
“Mamaya hindi na yan masakit? Kaya mong maglakad or you want kuya Ricky to carry you?”
“Pakarga na lang po.” Was her reply.
“Hesusmaryosep wag na po! Ano ka ba naman Maya. Nakakahiya dito kay kuya Ricky mo. Nagbibiro lang po yan. Ako na lang po.”
“It’s okay Aling Teresita. Masakit pa atang ilakad yun paa nya.” Then he carried her again towards the area where the rooms for the fire victims were staying.
A/N : The last two chapters of CWSOA and final few chapters of LIAS Prequel and OFD will be posted after this. = )
I still use the same password for LIAS Prequel (the word before my name at this wp site.
Thanks for reading!