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By Cl. Paulo Miguel Calderon, SDB
Photo By Cl. James Aro, SDB

Canlubang, Calamba City, Laguna, the Philippines, 17 August 2020 --The Salesian Philippine North Province (FIN) celebrated the gift of life to the fullest of one of its confreres in the person of Fr Richard Varela, SDB.

At 2:00 PM, a number of Salesian Priests headed by the Provincial Superior, Fr. Gerardo N. Martin, SDB celebrated the Funeral Mass. A restricted number of representatives from the Salesian Family and the biological family of Fr Richard attended. Fr Richard’s remains reached Canlubang shortly after lunch after passing by St. John Bosco Parish in Sta. Rosa for the Parish Mass where he stayed for nine years.

Fr. Richard Varela, SDB was born on 27 August 1949. He professed as a Salesian on 29 June 1967, and was ordained a priest on 8 December 1975. After 45 years of Salesian Priestly life, Fr Richard succumbed to Community-Acquired Pneumonia on the eve of the solemnity of Mary’s Assumption, 14 August.

Fr. Ernie Cruz, SDB, his novitiate batchmate gave the homily. He spoke about Fr Richard’s impact of kindness towards all the people where he was assigned to. “He was not remembered about the positions he held but for his kindness,” Fr Ernie said in his homily.

After the interment, the Salesians were invited for some refreshments at the Refectory of the Prenovitiate Community.





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  • Fr. Danny Torres, SDB, 

    Rector of Tuloy sa Don Bosco Streetchildren Village in Muntinlupa pens this piece in memory of his priestly ordination batchmate Fr. Richard Varela, SDB, FIN-Richard Varela.png

    FIN-Richard Varela.png

    who passed away last August 14. The photo below was taken last May 24, Solemnity of Our Lord’s Ascension, when they had a concelebrated Mass. 

    Fr. Richard Varela was born on August 27, 1949, in Bago City, Negros Occidental, Philippines.  He had his basic education in Don Bosco Technical Institute, Victorias, Negros Occidental.  He entered the Society as a college student in Don Bosco Seminary College, Canlubang, Laguna, earning a degree in Bachelor in Industrial Education. In the same seminary college, he did his philosophical studies.  He made his novitiate in Sacred Heart Novitiate in Canlubang, Laguna, and made his first profession on June 6, 1967.

    He finished his theological studies at the University of Sto Tomas, Manila, earning the degree of Bachelors in Sacred Theology.  He was ordained a priest on December 8, 1975, in the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, Paranaque.

    As a Salesian priest of Don Bosco Fr. Richard rendered his services full-heartedly in the spirit of Don Bosco in the different Don Bosco Schools, institutions, and centers in the Philippines: Don Bosco Boys Town, Cebu, Don Bosco Technical Institute, Victorias, Don Bosco Technical College, Mandaluyong, Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati as principal then as an administrator, Salesiana Publisher, Makati as rector, National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians as parochial vicar and administrator, St. John Bosco Parish and Center for Young Workers, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, as parochial vicar and administrator.  This was his last assignment before he was placed in Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati to rest and recover from his lingering illness in the Zatti Clinic.

    One of the important roles and services given to him was to be the Spiritual Director of the National Federation of the Don Bosco Alumni Association of the FIN Province, a position and responsibility he held for many years.

    As a Salesian religious, he was a fervent and a very observant religious to his religious duties and commitments, totally and effectively dedicated to all the assignments and roles Divine Providence has committed to him.

    As a principal in different schools where he was assigned at different times he had a congenial rapport with the lay mission partners, teaching and non-teaching staff and a very exacting but reasonable disciplinarian of the students, elementary, high school, college and voc tech students.  As an administrator, he was very keen in providing everything that the school needs for its proper operation and very orderly and clean, seeing to it that everything is in its proper place and in good and efficient working conditions.

    As a member of the Salesian community, he sees to it that he was present in all important gatherings and activities, collaborative and an active agent for the unity and harmony among confreres, obediently subject to the rector to whom he always confers and consults for major concerns and decisions.  He had a special regard and care for the sick members of the community and to my mind particularly to Fr. Jose Bosch.

    He was good at giving the homily.  He had a deep and sound spirituality evidenced by his deep and principled faith sharing.  People simply loved him because he was kind, gentle, and generous to all.  He could associate with all types of people. For the boys committed to his care, he was all-out for them when their good and welfare is at stake.

    Fr. Richard and myself, Fr. Dahn, have been close to one another as confreres and have been working together for many years in the different Don Bosco settings each accomplishing our respective roles fired by the spirit of Don Bosco and in the love of our mission.  As friends and confreres, we were both open and sincere to one another even to the extent of frankly pointing out to each other our defects, failures, successes, and defeats.

    I have a deep admiration and appreciation for Fr. Richard as a friend, brother, and companion as co-journeyers in our Salesian life and mission.  And I am deeply thankful for everything that he gave me especially for helping and assisting me to be a good rector and father of youth in terms of love and collaboration in the one mission that the Lord has given us as Salesians of Don Bosco.

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