Homily of Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ at the funeral mass for Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ

Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ

Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ

Fr Vic was always trying to make sense of the world around us. God blessed him with three senses to do that. He had a sense of wonder, a sense of humor, and a sense of faith.

The first was a sense of wonder. We all have common expressions in the way we speak. For Fr Vic, one of these was “sya nga?” Bukambibig niya iyon. Sya nga? Is that so? Fr Vic, did you know that you can search using google? Sya nga? (That was when google was just being invented in late 1998). Fr Vic, we can do a little planetarium using a simple lcd projector and a domed surface. Sya nga?

Sya nga is the expression of someone who’s always learning, always wondering and asking. Never the expression of someone who knows it all, who has answers to every puzzle or problem. Sya nga is more an expression of openness than it is of doubt. Perhaps that is what science does: it disciplines us and trains us to wonder and to ask until it makes us humble, until it makes us small.

Fr Pedro Walpole SJ had it right when he said the other night that Fr Vic had the best nightlife among all of us Jesuits. At the observatory, he had the best job: he was in charge of watching heavenly bodies. And so he took care of the telescopes. Since I knew he could make telescopes, I once told him, Fr Vic, let’s build telescopes, grind the lenses and mirrors, and teach others to make them. His reply, sya nga? But why spend time making them when we can start looking at the stars right away with the scopes we had or could get anyway. I guess, when you spend your nights with the stars, you gain perspective and wonder, your priorities change, and you see the things that matter.

One asteroid is named after him, the 4866 Badillo. Fr Vic, you are now literally a starlike heavenly body! Sya nga? He knew better than to let his head swell with the honor. There are actually more than a million of those space rocks in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter. A sense of wonder (not to mention astronomy) leads to humility.

He was a collector. He gathered data on the ionosphere, on lightning, the weather, on whatever fascinated him. He collected ideas, compiled ideas of others and shared them on the internet. He was always making lists. Lists of Jesuits who entered, who were ordained, those who died. He was always asking others to help him update his little databases and check the spelling. His last act of scholarship was a research article published in the Philippine Studies journal a few months ago on the American Jesuits in the country during World War II.

Fr Vic never stopped learning. You want an icon of lifelong learning? Fr Vic personified lifelong learning, lifelong wonder. And he shared what he was always learning and discovering. That was how he showed his generosity, his love for the Lord and for others. He showed largeness of heart in the little things that fascinated him, which he collected and shared with others.

Read more at Jump!–A homily delivered by Fr. Jett Villarin SJ at the funeral mass for Fr. Victor Badillo SJ, October 29, 2014.

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About ateneophysicsnews
Physics News and Features from Ateneo de Manila University

2 Responses to Homily of Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ at the funeral mass for Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ

  1. Lucia M. Lucas-Chavez says:

    “Stargazer in the glittering night,
    Light soul adrift with the Universe
    Humble and gentle
    Silent and Serene

    Natutulog habang nagmimisa”

    -Percival C. Chavez

  2. Pingback: Eulogy for Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ by Genie Lorenzo | ATENEO PHYSICS NEWS

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