Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Brother Robin and the Filipino Community

After the death of Brother Robert (Robin) Bernabe, our two journalism students this semester wrote profiles of Brother Robin's relationship with two different communities within the seminary.  Our first profile focuses on Brother Robin as a member of the Filipino community.

Brother Robin and the MAS Filipino Community
by Peter Lawongkerd

Brother Robin Barnabe, M.Sp.S., also known as Brother Robin, was one of the seminarians at Mount Angel Seminary.  He was also a member of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit and a member of the Filipino community.  On the afternoon of November 2, 2012, he was involved in a car accident and died on the scene.  His loss brought sadness to all of us and especially the Filipino community.  All of the Filipino seminarians were impressed by Brother Robin.

Zani Pacanza is one of the theology students who studies for the Archdiocese of Portland, and he is also the vice president of the Filipino community.  He shared how Brother Robin touched his life and what impressed him the most about Brother Robin.  He said, "When we first met at the beginning of the school year, Brother Robin was the first to approach me and introduce himself.  He didn't wait for me to approach him."

Brother Robin
He also explained that Brother Robin was a good person, especially every time there was a meeting of the Filipino community, particularly in the two weeks leading up to a special concert.  The Filipino community of the Archdiocese of Portland tried to raise money for the Filipino seminarians, and one way that they could raise the money was by having a concert. 

Brother Robin was always present for the meetings and participated in the rehearsals for the concert.  Many times Brother Robin would ask if there was anything he could do to help, such as helping with decorations, performing, and selling the tickets for the concert.  This showed how generous he was.  Sadly, Brother Robin died shortly before the concert was held.

The particular story that impressed Zani Pacanza was the moment when Brother Robin approached him and invited him for dinner at his religious house.  Brother Robin also told Zani that he would introduce him to his community so that they would get to know him.  He could always come back again to visit; the door would always be open. 

This happened three days before Brother Robin died.  Zani said, "In the short time of knowing him here in this school year, it has been a great blessing to have him in the community."  He explained that Brother Robin had a big heart because he wanted to reach him and to bond with him.

Ryan Francisco is a student who studies for the Diocese of Sacramento; he is also the president of the Filipino community.  He has been involved with all of the activities for the community and with the members of the community as well.  He knew Brother Robin from two years ago, and this year Ryan really got to know Brother Robin because Brother Robin was always present in the Filipino community. 

Ryan said, "Brother Robin is one of those guys who people encounter and say this person is a good person."  He explained that when he got to know Brother Robin, it was true he was a good person because he was humble.  Ryan said, "He always asked me if I needed help or if there was anything that he could do for the community."

He explained that Brother Robin was very active in the community and that during his absence in the previous year he was missed because of the pastoral year he had to do.  However, when he came back this year, he was always a huge supporter of the community.

Ryan also said that whenever he is walking down the hallways, he hears Brother Robin in the hallway.  He said "I am always hearing his voice greeting me" even though he knows he has passed away.

May the soul of Brother Robin rest in peace, and may he intercede for us.

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