Farewell, Fr. Ray
Farewell, Fr. Ray
Jose Rene D. Banzon, GS 1974, HS 1978, BSBM 1982
10 June 2016
I was on my way to Singapore to attend my daughter’s Little League Asia Pacific Softball tournament when I was informed about the sudden demise of my old friend, mentor, and confidant Fr. Raymond T. Holscher SJ. I was at first shocked about the sad news as we were just texting each other a few weeks ago and he didn’t show any sign that he was going anytime soon. The shock eventually turned into deep sadness as I was unable to to say my proper goodbyes, much less pay my last respects to him, as I am still currently out of the country and won’t be back until next week.
Fr. Ray, as he is fondly called, and I go a long, long way. He was my guidance counsellor when I was in first year high school and I would be in his office on a regular basis with my good friend Ting Feliciano. Aside from his ecouragement for us to do well in school, we would often talk about sports, basketball in particular, and about things that young people like us went through at that time. Eventually our friendship grew deeper and he became a friend of my family. He would say weekly Masses at home and would take an active part in our family reunions. His ties with my family expaned further and he eventually became part of my extended family, saying Masses during the Delgado Christmas parties and all other special occasions.
He played a major role in my sports career at the Ateneo. I will never forget this one time when he showed his exceptional generosity. There was a class party which my parents refused to allow me to attend. Being class president, I felt the need to be there. They felt otherwise, as it was the eve before a very important game vs La Salle and they didn’t want me to stay up late. Fr. Holscher offered my parents to drive me to my class party and patiently waited the entire time sitting in his car until it was time to go home. That particular gesture of his cemented my admiration and gratitude which I carried with me ever since.
From an active educator and athletic director, he, during his latter years, made the big gear-shift and focused his energies on his true calling by serving the juvenile delinquents in the various prisons in Metro Manila (Bilibid Prison, Manila City Jail, and a rehabilitation center in Tanay). This was a portion of his life which not many learned about since he left working at the Ateneo. His devotion to the marginalised youth was most admirable, and he found the deepest fulfillment mentoring them. He may have been strict when he was active at the Ateneo but for those who knew him well, Fr. Ray was a kind-hearted person who had a soft spot for the poor.
As I bid goodbye to a person who was like a second father to me, I cannot help but reminisce the good times we had together and most especially when he was at my side during those times when I needed his help the most. I will surely miss him dearly and I pray that he will continue to watch over us in the same way that he watched over all of us all these years. Farewell to my dear friend and mentor Fr. Ray. The best way for me to repay you is to continue making you proud by paying forward, in your memory.
Rest now, ’til we meet again.