Bro. Patrick (Ismael) Salas, CSsR
Born: 17th June, 1935
Professed: 2nd July, 1959
Died: 14th April, 2014
His father was Santiago Salas and his mother was Anatolia Requierme.
They had ten children, five boys and five girls.
Ismael was the sixth. He was born in Batuan, Bohol.
His elder brother, Melquiades became a priest of the diocese and in 1970 was appointed as Parish Priest of Garcia-Hernandez.
The beginnings of Ismael’s vocation was in a very pious family, Bro. Patrick himself says that his vocation was strengthened “in the year 1950 when he began to learn how to serve Mass.
After 6th Grade his parents sent him to a Catholic High School. It was there that a good friend persuaded him to join the seminary and after some thought about it he did just that.
It was during his second year in the Mabolo seminary that he happened to read, in the library, a pamphlet about the salvation of the soul and he was so impressed by it that he made a decision to become a Religious.
He spoke to his bishop (Bishop Mascarenas) about his decision and the bishop said he would be very proud to have a religious coming from his diocese.
Only then did Ismael inform his parents. And as he says “Before leaving my relatives to enter the religious life I asked their pardon for all disobedience and displeasure I may have shown them.”
Ismael was 21 years old when he entered the Postulancy in the Redemptorist monastery in Cebu.
He was 23 when he was admitted to the Novitiate under Fr. Sean Magnier, C.Ss.R.
During his novitiate with the Redemptorists, Ismael, as he writes “found happiness and peace.”
He was Professed on June 2, 1959 at the age of 24 and took the name “Patrick.”
He was Professed with Bros. Jolito Seyan, Joseph Carillo.
Fr. Patrick Myers celebrated the Mass and preached the sermon. (It was at 10:30 on a Thursday.)
St. Teresa’s students provided the choir.
On June 19, 1965 he was appointed to Davao.
But on January 11, 1966 he was appointed to Iloilo.
In 1969 (April 3) he was elected Vice-Provincial Secretary in Cebu. And he stayed in the Cebu community from April 1969 to 1978, most of the time in charge of the church.
In 1979 he was sent to Butuan from January to May. From there he went to Davao until 1981.
He went to Bacolod for the triennium 1981 to 1984 where he was Minister and House Manager.
He was in Dumaguete from 1984 to 1990.
In 1990 he was appointed to be the Minister in the Saint Alphonsus Collegiate Seminary, Cebu.
In 1999 he was appointed to the Cebu house where he held many offices up to the time of his death.
A “GREAT COMMUNITY MAN”
Brother Patrick was always a great defender of Brothers’ rights. He spoke out on this whenever Brothers were being neglected in vocation campaigns or in community life. He wrote in the “Explorer” (August 1, 1980):
“It is not so good to hear that still a few of the Brothers have inferiority complex about their vocation. For this sense of inferiority no one is to be blamed, it is not of their own creation. Rather it is a relic from original rules – pre-Vatican period, when society was highly clericalized and when functions other than Holy Orders were regarded negatively as non-clerical.
“Brothers are religious recognized by the church. Hence, Vatican II has presented and offered religious orders of men the right to choose complete equality within the religious family, with no distinction other than those emanating from the exercise of Holy Orders.
“Brotherhood is not an invitation in rivalry and contest with that of the priesthood. There is no debate created, as far as I know, which is the greater vocation. Priest and Brothers in our congregation are working together, sharing the same apostolate, living under the same roof, for mutual support.”
This is illustrated by a letter he wrote on October 22, 1998 to Brothers Alphonsus and Plakie:
“Greetings from SACFH!!
“As being a member of the Formation Team SACFH, I was formally invited to attend this long formation mtg. two weeks ago. I was thrilled by different reports of each stage of formation. On the last day I asked the group if I could have a privileged speech on behalf of the endangered species (brother’s voc.) of which after all the displays, issues and concerns that cut across the different levels of formation, (and you know what??) not a bit of a word regarding Brother’s vocation especially after first profession, what program to prepare one for final profession. Fr. Ben being the facilitator has tasked me to think it over who among the Brothers could suggest a program based on Fr. Ben’s statement.
“Fr. Provincial proposed to appoint two Brothers preferably Pre-Vat. II professed and a young Brother. I am certain that the Holy Spirit entertained me to name both of you Bro. Fonsing and Plakie since, luckily, you are in the same community. Your suggestions will be discussed by the next formation meeting 1999 and also at the Brothers’ gathering
“May God bless and more power.
Patrick was a great stickler for what used to be called “regular observance”. For example, when decisions were made in community they should be faithfully carried out. So he was always regular at common acts, especially prayer. He came well prepared for our sharing on the Gospel. If we agreed to be there at 7:30 Patrick would be there at 7:20.
Throughout his religious life he has always been in charge of managing matters in the house getting repaired what was broken and such like. For many years in different communities he was in charge of collections, counting money and banking it. He was completely reliable and transparent.
He spent several years in the college to the great edification of the seminarians.
He was a quiet man – prayerful, regular, kind and gentle. He was a very good “community man.” He had a fine sense of humor as seen by his contribution of jokes to the “Explorer.”
HIS FINAL ILLNESS
Bro. Patrick was doing his regular work. Every Sunday and Wednesday he gathered the collection from the church and the candle boxes, counted it all and got the coins to several stores in the city. He also distributed Holy Communion at the Masses. On other days he was in charge of purchasing supplies for the house.
His health was not good but he carried on uncomplaining. Coming down the stairs on Saturday March 1, 2014 he fell. Fr. Aidan McMahon (Superior) brought him to Perpetual Succour Hospital. For two weeks in the hospital he had many tests and on March 15 he had an operation on the higher part of his spine. After that he had to wear a brace on his neck and was immobilised and very uncomfortable. It was then discovered that he had fluid on the brain as a result of the fall and that was taken off by an operation on March 18. After that he remained in hospital very agitated and uncomfortable, being fed through the nose and needing suction to draw off accumulated liquid in his throat. He was brought back to the convent by ambulance on April 9 and lay in the special bed in the infirmary attended by round the clock care-givers. He was not able to speak and seemed to recognize only a few people. Very early on the morning of April 14 (Monday of Holy Week) Fr. McMahon was called and while he was giving him the Anointing he died.
Because it was Holy Week and because many of our confreres were on the most important mission in the Palo Diocese, the funeral was postponed until April 22. The body was laid out in the community chapel and we had Mass there at 8:00PM on Monday (Fr McMahon), Tuesday (Bishop Amantillo) and on Wednesday (Fr. O’Donoghue). On the Holy Week Triduum we had Vespers in the chapel led by Fr. O’Donoghue. We celebrated Mass again on Easter Sunday (Fr. Jesena),Monday (Fr. Pascual). A large number of his relatives – nieces and nephews, grand- nieces and grand-nephews. The funeral Mass on April 22 was celebrated by confreres from each of our communities – 27 in all. The main celebrant was Fr. Provincial (Fr. Cruzito Manding). The Gospel was read by Bro. Patrick’s nephew, Fr. Virgilio Salas, of the Diocese of Tagbilaran. The homilist was Fr. Wilfredo Jesena. Fr.McMahon (Cebu Superior) at the end of the Mass thanked the Doctors, the Nurses of PSH and also the very dedicated caregivers. At the graveside it was Brother James Villahermoso who read the prayers.
Special thanks must go to Mr. Pete Claveno for arranging everything at the grave, at the funeral procession and for printing a lovely memorial card for Brother Patrick.
St. Alphonsus spoke of Bro. Patrick in “The True Redemptorist” when he wrote:
“I am certain that Jesus has prepared
a beautiful place in Paradise
for those who die in the Congregation.”