BEHIND THE LINES: Fr. Ramon Mores, S.J. PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 28 November 2014 12:06

BY BOB JALDON

 

San Jose, CA. — I recently lost a friend and Father Confessor — Fr. Ramon Mores, S.J. If you’re an Atenean, you’ve probably heard about the Mores Hall. In 1972, being part of the student council at AdeZ as president of the Speakers’ Club and the Dramatics Guild, we built a modest hut behind the then science building and christened it “Mores Hall” to pay tribute to the last Rector of the school. It cost us (the school, actually) less than P20,000 to build the structure where most students during free time would loiter, have snacks and review their lessons for the next class.

Fr. Mores was a sportsman-priest. Aside from puffing “Champion” cigarettes (blue seal), he loved basketball, handball and American football. He taught me to play the last two after a heavy breakfast at the Jesuit House — but not after I had served mass with him as the celebrator. We’d play one-on-one basketball at the old gymnasium on Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays when he wasn’t saying mass in Ayala, Mercedes or Curuan. I almost, just almost, made it to the priesthood through his Theological teachings. But, I guess, my wife of 41 years was faster in getting me to the altar.

But like a mason, he never invited me to “knock.” If you’re chosen, you’re called to serve God. He’d read some scriptures to me and left it at that. Fr. Juan Sainz was left to do the convincing — if any Atenean cared to listen to him at all. Only four of my friends made it to the priesthood. Two of them are dead.

I broke a finger playing handball against him. He always won. There used to be a high wall at the grade school grounds that covered, to the dismay of the Claretians next door, a view of Ateneo’s campus that had imposing pine trees and decades-old Acacia trees. The wall served the tennisters and pelota players well. A water fountain was situated at the right side of the gym. Beside that cement wall was a basketball court.Immediately to the left where two volleyball courts.

After handball, he’d take me to the back field for a catch-and-throw football contest. I’d run while he threw a Tony Romo bullet pass and I’d catch it (sometimes) for an imagined touchdown. After 30 minutes of sweat, we’d have pineapple juice at the Jesuit House. He’d never stop showing me the life of a Jesuit. But he never asked me to “knock.”

I never served mass for Fr. Mores in Latin since the language was stricken off the curriculum when I was in second year high school. We did that (Latin mass) in 5th and 6th grade when the priest said mass facing the altar and the congregation responded only with a single word to every glorification — “Amen.”  But the sermons were always in English, something the Claretian fathers at the old Immaculate Conception Cathedral found difficulty speaking. Fr. Mores, like all Jesuits, preached this:”When a priest sermons for more than 10 minutes, it is no longer the word of God but his.” (How I wish the priests would just say, not sing, mass.) Not these days when the church has become too politicized.

Fr. Mores came to all the games that the Blue Eaglets and Blue Eagles played in the defunct Zamboanga Amateur Basketball Association (ZABA) especially when the opposing team were the ZAEC, now UZ, Wildcats. That rivalry doesn’t exist anymore. He and then high school principal Fr. Asterio Katigbak would egg on the Eagles to “fight” as the band would play Ateneo’s fighting song, “Fly high.” After the game, Fr. Mores would slip out for Champion to calm his nerves.

I’ll always cherish what he told me: “Fight for what you believe is true, even die for it.”

Good bye, Fr.Mores. See you in the next life.