Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In Loving Memory of Our Dear Friend and Classmate, Fr. Efren

It was past 7 pm last Monday and I was on my way home from the office when my cell phone rang. It was Mendy who broke the very sad news that our dear classmate has passed away. It was very sketchy then, she didn't have the details yet and just promised to call again as soon as she gets the other information.
I became the bearer of the sad news as I texted some of our classmates. Now, in loving memory of our dear friend, I have assembled some photos from our gallery and am posting them here to remind us always of the happy times with Fr. Efren.

Farewell, dear classmate and be happy in the company of our Lord. -

Toti Grageda

Fr. Efren died of massive heart attack. His remains lie in state at St. Joseph Church, the church where we had our reunion's thanksgiving mass in Gahonon. Let's pray for his eternal repose. We'll be sending a wreath on behalf of our class. I've contacted our classmates here and hopefully we'll all be able to attend the wake tonight. I also informed Boy Rios, Linda Ferrer, Bella Adica and Wilma Quintela. Like us, they too felt surprised and sad.

Mendy Balon-Ching and also relayed by Boboy Ong.

Tess Cereno-Solis also sent her condolences.

Dear classmates,

I didn’t know if it was the Monday blues, or some sort of a premonition.

I felt heavy and sluggish yesterday in the office, not sure whether hungry or tired.
Feeling exhausted for no reason. Then in the evening I got the sad news,
From Toti, then from Mendy and later, from Ted.
So I said to myself, “that must have been it, there was something amiss”..!

It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that suddenly – as of right now - our beloved Fr. Efren is just a fond memory.

In the many years I’ve known him, he doesn’t seem to be the ‘preachy’ type. But he’d rather show you in action what most likely he would’ve wanted to preach. In his simplicity and humility, his warmth and graciousness whenever you meet him - whether just after a fortnight, or after a long absence..

Despite the years, he’s always like a curious child, exactly like what Rudy said – with that ‘quaint smile and query look’ eager to hear what you have to update him about your life, family, career, about anything. Yet, ready to oblige if his advice you would seek..

He and Rudy were very close during those school years.

As Toti pointed out in the old pictures, they were always beside each other since Elementary days.

In his earlier years in priesthood, he used to visit us in our rented house then at Bacood, Sta. Mesa. We used to gather at the basement where we had a small office, and he’d carry my eldest son, Rap, in his arms, who was about two years old then.

He always had his “barkada” priests with him, from J Panganiban, Larap, Talisay.

I used to tour them around. He was vibrant and eager to be visiting his classmate in

Those were the old days –must have been twenty years ago-for my eldest son is now 22.
Then afterwards he sort of ‘turned quiet’ and we missed his visit for many years.

The next time I would see him was during our 07 Ruby reunion.
I remember his words during his homily.. Something like.. “the fact that we are all gathered
here, together after 40 years, is a miracle.. We have to be thankful to God for these miracles..!”

Indeed he was our loving, kind-hearted classmate and big brother.
A humble servant gone back to the Divine Master.
He was Class-67’s main spiritual pillar.
And we will surely miss him.

Classmates, indeed let’s join hands in showering him with all our prayers.


Bert Padrigon

Dear Classmates,

I just received text messages of Boboy and Mendy the sad news of the untimely death of Fr. Efren Sanchez. I saw him last when Evelyn and I had a dinner together with some of our classmates in Daet last "undas". I sat beside him that night as we reminisced the old days.
I remember him today as that nice person who occasionally gives you that quaint smile and query look as he listens to you intensely. I remember him today as a man of God, a "kababata", a classmate and a FRIEND.

I grieve and I cry for the loss of a friend. I love you Fr. Efren and youwill always be remembered.

Rudy Surla

This is such a shocking news. I just got off the phone with Fr. Efren's sister, Issy. I forgot what name she went by before, but she is one of the younger girls. She was tearful because this was unexpected for them as well. Apparently, Father was supposed to be assigned in New Guinea (did I spell that right), and it was in his physical exam that they discovered a heart problem, which was why they kept him in the Philippines.

Unfortunately, Issy has just undergone knee surgery last month, and was not allowed by the doctor to travel, so she is devastated. Her younger sister, who came from the Phil to help her in her recovery, went home last Dec 6 and has not even seen Fr. Efren yet. The greatest comfort they have is the thought that he did not suffer at all. Issey was told that after father said mass, he was jokong around with some parishioners when he all of a sudden collapsed. They never got him back despite all efforts at the hospital across the cathedral.

We all know he has gone back home with our Father. He will be missed so much. Please give our condolences to the family.

Marybeth Regalario-Bautista

Very sorry to read Mendy's text last night regarding Fr. Efren's untimely death. Again, I experienced the feeling of pain, shock and sadness in a span of five days. Bien's mother died last December 5 at 9 pm. Although she is just my mother-in-law, I have loved her as if she were my true mother. I've learned so many things in life from her (all the basics of cooking, ironing and washing clothes including taking care of my twins). Anyway, that's life and one thing permanent or sure to happen is DEATH. So, we must always be prepared that one day, we are going to face our Creator!

I have talked to Mendy right after her text message and asked for the details. Thanks Kuya for giving us updates although last night you did not answer my call on your cell. I was so depressed because Fr. Efren is one of our classmates that I wanted so much to see and meet again. The last time we met was on August 25, 1980 when he officiated the Burial Mass of my father in Batobalani and burial in Paracale cemetery. "Sayang malapit na sana ang reunion in Feb 2008".

I will be praying for the eternal repose of his soul.

Ingat always,

Marynat - Ma. Natividad Dasco-del Rosario

So sorry and so sad to hear about the untimely death of our very dear friend and classmate, Fr. Efren. He will surely be missed. Please extend our deepest and sincerest sympathy - my heart and prayers goes out to the Suzara-Sanchez Families.

Men - Myrna Venida-Abot

It is with great sadness to hear the untimely demise of our very own Fr. Efren. Please furnish us postal or e-mail address of any member of his family to whom we can convey our condolences. We will be looking forward for more updates about this sad event that befell not only Fr. Efren's family but also the members of DPS CLASS '67.

Danny de la Fuente

My family and I would like to extend our condolence to the family ofFr. Efren.May his soul rest in peace.

Joe Sales

My knees are still trembling! Oh, oh, oh…. I am with you on our grief for Fr Efren’s untimely death. It shows us how temporary we all are here. May the Almighty take Fr. Efren (for me he is still only Efren) in His eternal repose and rest. Requiem est pace. Lots of huggggssssss….

Ed Canela

I was informed by the Sisters here. We shall offer masses for his intention. Regards to our classmates. Thank you and God bless us all. - Sister Terry Azanes

I first heard the news from Mendy's text at 6:37 am yesterday. I misunderstood my husband when he told me Father Efren Sanchez passed away. I thought it was his father that died and was shocked to learn it was indeed our classmate when I read Toti's breaking news. Our heartfelt sympathy and condolence to the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this untimely passing of Rev. Fr. Efren Sanchez. Marynat, hang in there girl. Truth will prevail and you will be vindicated from this malicious insinuation. Toti, thanks for being the tie that binds us all together specially at times like this. Please inform me if there's any collection going on for our dear Father Sanchez.

Ningning (Violeta Fermo-Heraldo)

Sorry to hear the passing of our dear classmate Father Efren. I feltso sad because he's one of our classmates that i really wanted tosee. Please extend my deepest sympathy to the family. We will bepraying for their family.

Take care,

Lyn, Marcy, and Family (Erlinda de Guzman-Lumucso)

I was terribly shaken hearing the sad news of Fr. Efren's passing. He always made me feel great as being instrumental in his first visit to U.S. He requested a letter of invitation from BACNA (Bay Area Cam. Norte Assoc.) of which I was the president then. He said that that is how he got approved to travel to SF. Whether it was the letter or it was because he was a priest with trustworthy character, one thing for sure, he himself made it happen. There were many occasions too in our family (here and in Daet) where his presence we graced and always enjoyed. He always has that smile you will not easily forget. I will surely miss him. Altho I envy him now since he is with our Maker where there is endless peace and comfort.

The Alarcon family had been very close to Fr. Efren. In his honor we will be having a special mass this week.

To the Sanchez-Suzara family esp. to Icy (younger sister of Fr.) who I have not had contact for quite a long time, my deepest sympathy. May you be strenghten with the thoughts that you are surrounded with caring friends and family.

May he rest in peace. Amen.

Fechie (Fe Alarcon)

My family and I would like to extend our condolences to the family of Fr. Efren Sanchez.May he rest in peace.

Rori Serra

I'm saddened by the ultimate demise of Fr. Efren. He's not only a classmate and friend but a brother to me. My mother and my auntie loved him so dearly. He's always present in our family gatherings. The last time i saw him was last June when he concelebrated mass when my auntie and my mother died. He was really a good pastor, kind hearted, caring and accomodating.

Goodbye Fr. Efren we love you and we will miss you.

To the family of Fr.. Efren our deepest sympathy.

Alot (Margarita Barbin-Arcilla)

In Daet, Mendy has related that among those who have attended the wake are Remo Balce, Ramona de Jesus-Luzarraga, Dra. Yoly Hernandez-Reyes, Maning Abogado, Alito and Jose Yadao, Teodoro Ong, and Elizabeth Perez (yes, she's here in the Philippines). Others who have called to express their sympathies to the Sanchez and Suzara families are Edmundo Rios, Elmer Auro, Dra. Erlinda Ferrer-Ty, Anabella Abano-Adica, and Wilma Quintela.

No comments:

Sor Victorina de la Providencia, Mother Superior of Daet Parochial School

HS Solo Graduation Pictures

DPS Class67 HS Graduates, 40 Years After

This Day in History

Today's Birthday