Fr. Joey Fermin, SJ

Fr. Jose Moises T. Fermin, SJ, also known as Fr. Joey, former headmaster of the Ateneo Grade School, passed away yesterday at 8:35pm. Wake will be at the Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels, Ateneo de Manila Grade School. I do not know Fr. Joey personally but I am saddened by the news.

I remember seeing him for the first time years ago, as he welcomed us Prep parents and by listening to him, I felt that the Grade School had a good headmaster to lead it. His was the voice I would hear, delivering inspiring short talks as he congratulated the boys for a job well done at the end of each quarter. His talks were never long and boring. They were short and interesting. With images of dragons and sand dunes, from time to time. He knew how to hold the boys' attention. As I listened to him, I was already in my late 30s but I would always go home inspired by his message.

The one thing I remember that always stands out in what he said year in and year out is that the boys should always give their best. It was not a matter of receiving honors or getting high grades but of making sure that you exerted your best effort. Parents must also give their children space to exert that effort on their own.

More than a year ago, Fr. Joey Fermin was found out to be very sick and ceased to be Grade School Headmaster. I have not seen him since but I do request all viloria readers to offer a prayer for his soul.

It is quite uncanny that as our boys are about to move on to teen-age life, Fr. Joey has also passed on into a new and better life. At his relatively young age, we may somehow be unable to understand why certain people are called home so early or why they even get seriously sick at all, when they could have done so much good. Then again, ours is not to question why or how. The Lord has a plan and from where I sit and write this, Fr. Joey has already finished his part in that plan.

As I did my morning prayers today, I came across this following quote by Norris in this year's Our Daily Bread:

"Do a deed of simple kindness. Though its end you may not see; It may reach, like widening ripples, Down a long eternity."

Fr. Joey may have moved on but I am sure the boys (and even parents!) he has taught, with lives well-lived, will bring ripples of his presence down a long eternity.

[By Angelica Viloria | Tuesday, January 6, 2009]


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