Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fr. Harold Reusch, C.P.: The Priest for All Seasons

Inauguration Address - Dedication to Fr. Harry's Garden
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish
Sun Valley, Paranaque City

When I first learned that Fr. Harry was going to be the first Parish Priest of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, the first thought that came to my mind was the image of “DIRTY HARRY”, then a very popular Hollywood actor! His film depicted a character who would use all extra-legal means to accomplish his mission. No quarters given. Shoot first before asking questions! Force is the solution!

I was dead wrong, of course.

I recall that 2 to 3 weeks before he was installed, the late Fr. Quaranta brought Fr. Harry to our house. Ampy and I were then in our kitchen when Fr. Quaranta suddenly went straight to the kitchen, tagging along Fr. Harry. This started our “loving relationship” with Fr. Harry. Ampy and I immediately liked him. Even then he looked like a saint coming down to earth to be of further service to humanity. What with his saintly bearings and demeanor.

This time, I was proven right!

It was extraordinary bravery for Fr. Harry to accept a Parish – without a Church and a “convento”. No visible church volunteers to assist him in his work as Parish Priest. A first class missionary work!

He was thus installed almost literally in the street. Following the directive of Cardinal Sin – that he be installed soonest – even in the street! No place to stay since there was no convento. The Parishioners had to assign families to feed him. He had to stay in a place generously offered by a parishioner as his convento. Such humility!

Fr. Harry was not only a good planner but also a DOER. Immediately, he looked for a site of the future Church. It took a lot of effort and convincing the civil authorities and the Church hierarchy to have the Church built in this present sight. Of course, almost all parishioners of Sun Valley extended their full cooperation. The architectural design was accomplished in no time. And a fund raising drive for the Church construction was also started.

He was also able to organize at least four (4) mandated organizations. The KC, CWL, AP and Holy Crusaders to assist him in the Parish work. And a PPC too! In record time. Such DYNAMIC LEADERSHIP!

But as the saying goes, “all work and no pay, makes Juan a dull boy”. He loves to play tennis with the Sun Valley tennis enthusiasts. During one of those occasions, Fr. Harry rewarded to us: “This park is the lungs of Sun Valley.” Take care of it!

His Leadership was not only dynamic – but well BALANCED as well. He was concerned not only of the spiritual welfare of his parishioners – but also the physical and social interactions of his parishioners.

His love for the less fortunate parishioners was very evident. He always reminded is that the mandated organizations primary task was to help the poor. “As long as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me” – was his favorite homily.

In sum, if I were to put the epitaph in his grave – I will engrave the following:


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