Rite of Committal with Final Commendation

for Wilfredo Lizares Labayen, February 3, 2024, St Alphonsus de Liguori Columbarium

In the year 2020, we celebrated the Vigil and the Funeral Rite with Commendation. We continue our celebration with the Rite of Committal with Final Commendation. In committing the ashes to their resting place, we the community express the hope that, with all those who have gone before marked with the sign of faith, the deceased awaits the glory of the resurrection. It is an expression of the communion that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of our community of believers into the welcoming company of those who need faith no longer but see God face to face. Through this act, we the community of faith proclaim that the Columbarium, once a sign of futility and despair, has been transformed by means of Christ’s own death and resurrection, into a sign of hope and promise.

We gather here to commend our brother Wilfredo, to God our Father and to entomb his ashes. We recall that our bodies bear the imprint of the first creation when they were fashioned from dust; but in faith, we remember, too, that by the new creation, we also bear the image of Jesus who was raised to glory. In confident hope that one day God will raise us and transform our mortal bodies. In the spirit of faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, let us raise our voices in song and offer our prayers for Wilfredo.

Gathering Song: Table of Plenty

Come to the feast of heaven and earth
Come to the table of plenty
God will provide for all that we need
Here at the table of plenty

O come and sit at my table
Where saints and sinners are friends
I wait to welcome the lost and lonely
To share the cup of my love

Come to the feast of heaven and earth
Come to the table of plenty
God will provide for all that we need
Here at the table of plenty

O come and eat without money
Come to drink without price
My feast of gladness will feed your spirit
With faith and fullness of life

Come to the feast of heaven and earth
Come to the table of plenty
God will provide for all that we need
Here at the table of plenty

Dan Schutte

2 Corinthians 4:14-5:1
What is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Brothers and sisters:
We know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus
   will raise us also with Jesus
   and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
   so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
   may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
Therefore, we are not discouraged;
   rather, although our outer self is wasting away,
   our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction
   is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
   as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;
   for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent,
   should be destroyed,
   we have a building from God,
   a dwelling not made with hands,
   eternal in heaven.

The Word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm 23:1-3, 4, 5, 6

Response: Though I walk in the valley of darkness I fear no evil, for you are with me.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
   In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
   he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
   for his name’s sake.

Response: Though I walk in the valley of darkness I fear no evil, for you are with me.

Even though I walk in the dark valley
   I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
   that give me courage.

Response: Though I walk in the valley of darkness I fear no evil, for you are with me.

You spread the table before me
   in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.

Response: Though I walk in the valley of darkness I fear no evil, for you are with me.

The Lord be with you.
Response: And with your spirit.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John
Response: Glory to you O Lord.

Jesus the Resurrection and the Life – John 11:17-27

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”

The Good News, the Gospel of the Lord.
Response: Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily

During the funeral rite in the year 2020, I already delivered a lengthy eulogy on Dad’s life. Today, I will only have a brief message for the Rite of Committal. Here are the links:
https://www.illouminate.us/en/eulogy-wll/
https://www.illouminate.us/en/obituary-wll/

Dad was the first in the family to emigrate from Bacolod with the intent to move to Manila. Lacking any money, he traveled on the roof of the ship with his leg tied to the mast. He built his life in Manila from scratch.

Today is truly a Feast of Heaven and Earth. On Earth, we bid him farewell, and what we do not see by sight but only by faith is that the hosts of heaven are welcoming him. Dad was in a state of grace when he died, having had a long confession and having received the viaticum, or the Last Rites. Not only was he in a state of grace spiritually, but also gastronomically, in his final days enjoying lechon each day he could, courtesy of Patt and Jim, and McDonald’s apple pie courtesy of Gus and Jordan.

With Dad as the Labayen connection in Manilaheir home in Sun Valley was largely the choice place to stay for Bacolod relatives. It was like a train station with many people coming and going. It was truly the Table of Plenty:

  • Come and eat without money; come and drink without price.
  • Come and stay with us for free, there is always room on the floor with aircon and TV in every room.
  • Come and ride our cars with free driver and unli[mited] gasoline. They were already doing unli before everyone else and before the term was coined.
  • Come and eat without ration even with many people, we will just cook more.
  • Come and take your daily showers even with our limited water supply and flow.
  • Come and play mahjong without tong.

You can come up with more phrases for their table of plenty. They not only had hope, but faith that God will truly provide, and this is shown in their tr charity to all.

Mom and Dad celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary that year. Like any marriage, they had many challenges, but they kept their covenant for 61 years. Love is a covenant, not a transaction. Kapag nagtatampo si Mommy, ay mahal pa rin siya ni Daddy. St John of the Cross says, «Donde no hay amor, pon amor, y sacarás amor.» Where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love.

They were blessed by the Lord with so much love. and when that love overflows, it pours out to us all. St John of the Cross writes in Llama de Amor Viva – The Living Flame of Love, «…cuan delicadamente me enamoras.» How tenderly you swell my heart with love.

Dad was loved by all. He was well known in business circles throughout the Philippines where he established many franchises of Commercial Credit Corporation, and those relationships he built from scratch on his move to Manila. When he moved to Gig Harbor, I was the Artistic Director of the Symphony Orchestra. He was known as Louie’s father. It did not take long when he became a Food Demonstrator at Costco and Greeter and Ambassador at Galaxy Theatres. People would call him from afar, «FRED!!!» I then became known as Fred’s son.

As his last farewell, he tried to call everyone he could contact and say goodbye. They said, «Uuwi ka na ba sa Pilipinas?» «Hindi, huling paalam ko na.» He hardly shed a tear in speaking with them. I was in his hospital room during those calls and I was the one shedding tears. St John of the Cross writes, «Al final, serás juzgado por el amor.» In the end, you will be judged by love.

Invitation to Prayer

Trusting in God, we have prayed together for Wilfredo, and now we come to the last farewell. There is sadness in parting, but we take comfort in the hope that one day we shall see Wilfredo again and enjoy his jovial friendship. Although we will disperse in sorrow, the mercy of God will gather us together again in the joy of his kingdom. Therefore let us console one another in the faith of Jesus Christ in a moment of silent prayer.

Farewell Song

Minamahal kita, minamahal kita.
Sa hirap at ginhawa, sa karamdama’t kalusugan.
Sa paghihikahos at kasaganahan.
Hanggang sa kamatayan.

Minamahal kita, minamahal kita.
Sa hirap at ginhawa, sa karamdama’t kalusugan.
Sa paghihikahos at kasaganahan.
Hanggang mamatay.

Mario, a music drama by Antonio Zebedeo Abad

Final Commendation

Into your hands, Father of mercies,
we commend our brother Wilfredo
in the sure and certain hope
that, together with all who have died in Christ,
he will rise with him on the last day.

Merciful Lord,
turn toward us and listen to our prayers:
open the gates of paradise to your servant
and help us who remain
to comfort one another with assurances of faith,
until we all meet in Christ
and are with you and with our brother forever.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Act of Committal

Final Blessing

Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing.

Merciful Lord,
you know the anguish of the sorrowful,
you are attentive to the prayers of the humble.
Hear your people
who cry out to you in their need,
and strengthen their hope in your lasting goodness.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon him (her).

May he rest in peace.
R. Amen.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

May the love of God and the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ
bless and console us
and gently wipe every tear from our eyes:
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

Go in the peace of Christ.
R. Thanks be to God.

Where Charity and Love Prevail

Where charity and love prevail,
there God is ever found;
Brought here together by Christ’s love,
by love are we thus bound.

With grateful joy and holy fear
His charity we learn;
Let us with heart and mind and soul
now love him in return.

Let us recall that in our midst
dwells God’s begotten Son;
As members of His body joined,
we are in Him made one.

No race or creed can love exclude,
if honored be God’s name;
Our family embraces all
whose Father is the same.

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