ANOTHER Filipino might become a canonized saint! His name is Richard “Richie” Fernando, a 26-year-old Jesuit brother who died saving the lives of his Cambodian students in 1996.
According to Catholic News Agency, Father Antonio Moreno, head of the Jesuits of the Philippines, had received permission to begin the initial work of opening the cause for canonization of Brother Richard. His life and death fit Pope Francis’ new criteria for canonization, which includes a free and voluntary offering of one’s life for others in situations that will lead to death.
According to Rome Reports, Pope Francis decreed this fourth path in an apostolic letter dated July 11 in the form of a motu proprio (or, a decree on his own initiative) titled “Maiorem hac dilectionem,” meaning “greater love that this.” The pope wrote: “Worthy of special consideration and honor are those Christians who, following more closely the footsteps and teachings of the Lord Jesus, have voluntarily and freely offered their life for others and have persevered with this determination unto death.”
Aleteia news wrote a statement from a Facebook group called Friends of Bro. Richie R. Fernando. The young Jesuit “chose to be a missionary in Cambodia, so as to help war victims, mangled by landmines, to start anew through vocational training. He also made them feel that they are loved and that there is still hope in a world deranged by secularism.”
Alateia reported that on October 17, 1996, Brother Richard “Richie” Fernando was killed after he tried to stop a troubled student named Sarom from releasing a grenade in a school for the disabled in Cambodia. Brother Fernando grabbed the student and shielded him and others from the explosion.
In his diary, CNA reported, Brother Richie wrote: “I wish, when I die, people remember not how great, powerful, or talented I was, but that I served and spoke for the truth, I gave witness to what is right, I was sincere in all my works and actions, in other words, I loved and followed Christ.”