Seminarian-favorite Fr. Federico Gregorio, OAR celebrates his 73rd birthday last September 2, 2019 and imparted nuggets of wisdom about gracefully growing old to the congregation during the 6:15 AM mass.
Fr. Gregorio — fondly called Fr. Greg by seminarians — is the seminary’s director of Human Formation Program, the one seminarians talked to about matters of the “heart.”
But during his homily, it was he who poured out his heart to the congregation as he reflected on what it means to have God at old age.
“Papunta pa lamang kayo,” he told the seminarians, “ngunit pabalik na ako. Subalit ang tanong: matatanggap mo kaya ako, Lord, kung ako’y babalik na sa Iyo?”
He said old age means “a slow journey back to You, Lord.” Hence, “each step I take is as precious as the thought that I am coming back to You,” adding that only those who have no faith in God experience depression or crisis at life’s end.
He exhorted the seminarians: “Wag kayong matakot sa buhay. You have so much to discover. Do your running towards where God prepares you for.”
Fr. Greg exhibited the joy of having God at old age when he said: “I am no longer as strong or as quick as before. So I just let the Lord carry me through. Indeed, it is a gift to be old, to walk slowly back to the Lord!”
And yet even at old age he still sees himself doing some important role, especially that he is assigned in the Order’s house of aspirancy and postulancy.
“Mas may halaga ang buhay ng matanda kung iukol ito sa pagtulong sa mga bata,” Fr. Greg said. “Ito ang pinakmagandang misyon bilang matanda — ang gabayan ang mga bata!”