I wish you had the chance of living with Fr Archie Intengan. He was one of the kindest, gentlest brothers we’ve ever had. Every day since Fr Archie died, I would hear at least one fellow Jesuit say that he cried when he got the news. Ganong klase siyang tao, ‘yung tao bang iniiyakan kapag nabalitang pumanaw. In religious communities, as you know, there are people who die and the members think or say, “Thank God his suffering is over,” especially those who have long been sick and in pain. And then there are people who die and the members think or say, “Thank God our suffering is over!” But with Fr Archie, many of us cried, because he was a kind, kind man whose fatherliness is now legendary—especially to us, the younger Jesuits, who had him as our vice-superior when we were scholastics.
For some reason, some of Fr Archie’s contemporaries and older companions had difficulty seeing beyond his ideology and they read him mainly from that optic. But for us younger Jesuits, his ideology barely overshadowed the core-Archie, the core that we not only saw, but also felt and cherished and will miss very much. We never heard Fr Archie indulge in unkind rhetoric about anyone, including his adversaries. We never sensed Fr Archie stand on a righteous bangko constructed from rumors or fake news about his naysayers. He was really the gentleman whose kindness and charity stayed stalwart even in adversity.
As many of you know, Fr Archie was a surgeon and a moral theologian. So you can imagine how rigorous he thought, how well-delineated his lines, how precisely he minted his words. But because he was a very caring man and a good priest, all his rigor and delineations and passion for precision, these were all constantly tempered and humanized and, dare I say, christened by the love and care we felt he had for us who were entrusted to his guidance.
Fr Archie died too soon, yes, at 75, because he popped an artery in his heart. He was a doctor, so he himself knew all along that it was going to be his own heart that would be his killer. I wish you had the chance of living with Fr Archie. Because you will realize that the reason why that artery popped, was because his heart was just filled to bursting with people he loved. We Jesuits could live on and on and on, but with hearts that are empty because they could be filled with ourselves. Fr Archie’s heart gave up on him because he was known to never give up on us.
We love you, Fr. Archie, and we will miss people like you in the community. Our Province is only the poorer now that we don’t have you around anymore. Pray for us to God, Father, like you always did.