Pope Francis receives letter to pray for grieving Filipino family
MANILA, Philippines – The memory of a good friend's sudden death still pierces Thomasian engineer Rikki Macolor's heart, driving him to ask no other than the leader of the world's Catholics to pray for the grieving family of his late college mate.
In a letter Macolor handed to Pope Francis after he spoke before the Pope at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Sunday, January 18, he described his late friend and fellow Thomasian youth leader Mill Joseph Seraspe as "full of love and compassion."
He asked the charismatic pontiff to pray for Seraspe's family that "they may find peace" and "not lose faith and always feel the love of the Lord."
Macolor asked Francis to pray that the Lord "take away their sorrow and tears."
Seraspe who graduated from UST with an industrial engineering degree died of a heart attack at a young age of 21 last November 16, the young innovator told Rappler in an interview.
It was a painful loss, Macolor said of the death of Seraspe, who was his constant companion in college.
"We went to a lot of leadership congresses together. Lagi kaming magka-group. He would give me advice on the management side of leading my org," said Macolor, who was pertaining to his college organization Network of Electronics Engineering Students (NECES). (We went to a lot of leadership congresses together. We were always group mates. He would give me advice on the management side of leading my organization.)
Macolor was chosen to deliver a testimony during Francis' encounter with the youth attended by tens of thousands cheering, chanting, and singing songs in a display of love for the visiting Pope. (WATCH: Pope Francis to youth: On loving and receiving love)
Each of the young people who testified were able to briefly speak, shake hands and hug, hand their gifts to and receive their own token from the Pope in an inside-campus event where throngs of people were unable to enter. (WATCH: Crowds locked out of UST for Pope's youth encounter)
It was the morning after Seraspe's birthday when he no longer was able to wake up, recalled Macolor of the incident relayed to him.
Although invited, Macolor was unable to attend Seraspe's birthday celebration the night before the latter passed away.
Macolor considers the Seraspe family his second family given his friendship with Mill.
"Di man po kami lagi nagkikita ng parents nya, damang dama ko naman po yung care and pagmamahal through Mill," he told Rappler. (I may not always see his parents, I feel the care and love through Mill.)
He said Seraspe was always there for him to support him emotionally, and even at times, financially.
His late buddy would also speak to him about faith and God most of the time, Macolor added.
It is this memory of a friend "ready to offer help" even "if you did not ask for it" and who "recognizes the talents of others and is very collaborative rather than competitive" that makes Macolor grateful for the thought that the Pope was made aware of Seraspe's sudden death to be able to pray for his family. – Rappler.com