HOMILY AT THE FUNERAL OF BR. NELSON I. MALAN, CM
Funeral Mass of Br. Nelson I. Malan, CM
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal National Shrine Parish
Sucat, Muntinlupa City
September 20, 2017
In life, we cannot always be number one. There is always room to be number two. And there is nothing wrong with it.
For instance, “in a play or film, there is a supporting actor who performs a role below that of the leading actor(s), and above that of a bit part… These range from minor roles to principal players and are often pivotal or vital to the story as in a best friend, love interest, sidekick (such as Robin in the Batman series), or antagonist
(such as the villain). They are sometimes but not necessarily character roles…A supporting actor should usually not upstage the starring or main actor or actress. In recognition of the important nature of this work, the theater and film industries give separate awards to the best supporting actors and actresses.” (Wikipedia)
Our community is composed of brothers and priests; each has a different role and function. We share the same dignity and are all full members of the Congregation. St. Vincent, in talking about the lay brothers in our community says they have the vocation of “Martha”. You will recall that Martha was the sister of Mary; both were friends of Jesus. While Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to listen to him and keep him company, Martha took charge of the domestic chores. Our lay brothers, St. Vincent further remarked, assist the priests in the performance of their ministry through their “tears, mortifications and the good example of their lives” and “share in its success”. He even likened them to a person who “pumps the bellows in order for the organ to play.”St. Vincent never hesitated to praise good brothers as “treasures” of the community. (SVP, Conference of 13 Dec. 1658). By doing their work quietly and devotedly, they complement the ministry of priests and contribute to its effectiveness. (Cfr. Miguel Flores, The Brother in the CM, Vincentian Heritage Journal, Vol. 10, 1).
If there are best supporting actors and actresses who excel in their roles, there are also brothers who are outstanding by their fidelity, service and abilities. One such lay brother was Bro. Nelson Malan.
1990-1991 - Marian Center& Miraculous Medal Apostolate (Central House, Manila)
1991-1994 - St. Vincent Seminary (TandangSora Avenue, Quezon City)
1994-2001 - Thailand Missions
2001-2003 - San Roque Parish (Subangdaku, Mandaue City, Cebu)
2003-2004 - St. Vincent Seminary (TandangSora Avenue, Quezon City)
2004-2006 - De Paul College (Jaro, Iloilo City)
2006-2007 - Thailand Missions
2007-2008 - Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal National Shrine Parish (Muntinlupa)
2008-2009 - Thailand Missions
2009-2013 - Vincentian Mission Center (Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur)
2013-2017 - Vincentian Hills Seminary (Angono, Rizal)
Brother was a quiet man who loved the community,prayed with his confreres, and enjoyed cooking and decorating. As a missionary in Thailand, he became quite proficient in the Thai language and could even read the newspaper in Thai characters. He took care of the parish kindergarten and learned Thai folk dancing.
On 8 July 2017, Bro. Nelson was admitted at San Juan de Dios Hospital for acute pain in his stomach. After surgery he was transferred to the Critical Care Unit where he spent more than two months. Those who visited him in the hospital saw how much he suffered but he kept his spirits high and struggled until the end. His condition deteriorated until he joined his creator in the evening ofSeptember 15, 2017, Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.
In the First Reading, we heard St. Paul likenedhis imprisonment and sufferings to being poured out like an libation or an offering and that his death was near. He felt he competed well; finished the race and kept the faith. Now the crown of righteousness awaited him. Bro. Nelson’s condition and suffering in the hospital werelike an offering to God. He lived his consecrated life well; he finished the race; he kept the faith. Now the crown of righteousness awaits him.
In the Gospel Jesus praises the faithful and prudent steward whom the master puts in charge of his household to give them their food allowance at the proper time. He is even more blessed if he stays awake to wait for the arrival of his master. Bro. Nelson was a faithful and prudent steward who provided well for our communities during his lifetime. Jesus our Master awaits him now to honor him with an eternal reward.