A Tribute To Fr. Bebot (Homily Of Fr. Raymund Regua At Fr. Bebot's Wake, May 15, 2014, Santuario)
Date: May 31, 2014
It was Ma’am Myrna Añez of Adamson University who first broke the news to me through a text message that Fr. Bebot Carcellar has passed away. I knew that he was sick but did not expect it would be too soon. In my moments of solitude, I uttered a short prayer for him: “Lord, have mercy on him, eternal rest for his soul!” Since then, in all the masses that I have celebrated, I have included him in my intention.
My dear brothers and sisters, death serves as a wake-up call for most of us, it compels us to look deep in our faith and belief in life as well as in the life hereafter. A sudden, unexpected death can challenge our faith and our understanding of life in general. It’s a lot easier to trust that God is always there for us when everything in our life is okay and rosy, but the moment something drastic like death happens, we are easily disturbed and disheartened, to the point that we even question God’s ways and His love for us. The death of someone close to us like Fr. Bebot, forced us to review our relationship with God, that our faith must be more than mere words uttered by us. This conviction must come from the heart, knowing that in life and in death, the Lord will never forsake us. More than anything else, it is a test of faith and trust in God that our life does not end when our physical body ceased to live. The untimely death of Fr. Bebot is a timely reminder from him for all of us young and old confreres, that we all live in borrowed time, it’s just like him telling us: Be prepared my dear brothers, for you know not when the day or the hour the Lord will call us back to Him.
I have known Fr. Bebot since the late 70’s when I was a student of Adamson University taking up Chemical Engineering. He was then a young priest assigned in San Marcelino Church and enrolled at Adamson University as Industrial Engineering student. I used to serve in his Masses at 12:00 noon as a Lector. Since we were both Engineering students, he would request me to help him in his studies especially in Math subjects, particularly in Algebra. Because of his busy schedule as a priest, he would request me to copy my answers to the 100 problems required in our Algebra subject. I would even remind him to study the way I solved the problems so that it would be easy for him to pass the exams. In gratitude to this favor, he once invited me in his room at the Central House in San Marcelino and shared with me his journey as a priest over a bottle of wine and some “pulutan”. It was my first time to see a priest’s room adorned with all kinds of wines and liquors all over the place. It was also the start of our friendship that lasted this far. Whenever we have had time to talk either in Payatas before or even here at St. Vincent Seminary, he was always generous to share his journey here and abroad over a bottle of wine or liquor with pulutan sometime steak or salmon which he prepared himself. I was touched by his hospitality. More than the stories and drinks was the gift of himself to all of us. One way or the other, we have been beneficiaries of the gift of his person and his giftedness. We all have our own stories to tell of how Fr. Bebot had been a gift to us. If we, Vincentians are called Carthusians at home and apostles in the field, I consider him a generous host at home and an apostle in the field.
All his initiatives and endeavors at Payatas was geared towards the alleviation of the poor, which strengthen and awaken in us our own Identity and Mission as Vincentians: Love for the poor. In a way, I can say it has brought our hearts, hands and feet together to focus on the legacy of St. Vincent: Concern and love for the poor. It impelled us to make our own response to the plight of the poor in our own context wherever we are whether it be in the mission, parish, school or formation work. I consider him as calayst who gave direction to our Philippine Province.
Fr. Bebot, my friend, thank you. May you rest in peace…