TEODORICO A. SANTIAGO was ordained to the priesthood on 21 May 2005. He carried out his pastoral work across various student centers of Opus Dei as well as with professional men and women in Metro Manila. He was part of the chaplaincy and was a lecturer at the University of Asia and the Pacific. He served as chaplain of PAREF Northfield School in Quezon City.
Fr. Ted was one of the first four priests to join the podcast “10 Minutes with Jesus”. He was keen to record short meditations and continued doing so until his illness no longer allowed it. The “10 Minutes with Jesus” podcast page dedicated this episode to Father Ted.
Fr. Ted holds a PhD in Philosophy with specialization in Social Ethics from the Pontifical University of Santa Croce (Rome, Italy) and a Licentiate in Theology from the University of Navarre (Pamplona, Spain). His bachelor’s degree is in the Humanities with specialization in Political Economy.
Excerpts from homily of Fr. Cesar Claudio, SThD
Funeral Mass, 4 February 2024
I knew Ted since he was in first year college in UST. That was when he joined Opus Dei. I was living then in Sarangani Study Center, close to UST. Soon after, he decided to transfer to CRC College of Arts and Sciences (now the University of Asia and the Pacific) to continue his university studies.
He went to Spain in 1998 to complete his Theological studies. I followed in 1999. We were together in Spain for two years. Together, we went to Rome and stayed in the Seminary of the Prelature for three years. He was a funny person and he used to call those close to him, “My friend.”
In the ordination of a priest, there is a part of the liturgy called the traditio instrumentorum, when the bishop gives the chalice and the paten to the ordinand. The Bishop says the following: Accept the offering of the holy people for the Eucharistic sacrifice. Know what you are going to do. Imitate the mystery you celebrate and model your life to the mystery of the Cross.
In another part of the liturgy of ordination, the bishop asks the ordinands: Are you resolved to consecrate your life to God for the salvation of his people, and to unite yourself more closely every day to Christ the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a perfect sacrifice?
The priest has to offer himself to God as a sacrifice.
The people who attended Father Ted’s Masses when he was sick, perhaps did not realize that here was a priest who was carrying in his body the sufferings of Christ on the Cross.
When Ted could not celebrate Mass anymore, his bed became the altar where he celebrated the Mass because there he offered up his sufferings, united to the sacrifice of Christ praying for the intentions of the Pope, the Prelate of Opus Dei, the members of his family, the members of his supernatural family, and many more. He prayed for us. He suffered for us.
Last November 2023, I preached a retreat to a group of numerary members of Opus Dei. Fr. Ted was there and he came to talk to me. I saw a priest who was carrying his sickness with a lot of supernatural outlook, good humor and acceptance of God’s will. He was ready for any eventuality. He said, “I don’t know how long this will last. I go through the treatment but I don’t see any improvement. I just leave everything to God. When I feel tired, I just go and rest and when I wake up I feel well again.”
He told me of the things that he was still able to do. “I can still go to Stella Orientis to hear confessions. I say Mass and I am translating a book written by a batchmate in the Roman College.” The title of the book is Paciencia de Dios, Impaciencia de los hombres (God’s patience and Man’s impatience). He said: “It will help many people as it has helped me.” In suffering, Ted learned about God’s patience.
He told me of his concern for souls and the people around him. He said that he felt sorrow for his parents. “Naaawa lang ako sa mga magulang ko, because a son should be burying his parents, but instead they will be burying me.”
I was impressed by his serenity and cheerfulness. It must be a joy that he experienced sharing the cross of Christ.
Those words Ted heard on the day of his ordination, “imitate the mystery you are about to celebrate, model your life to the mystery of the Cross” were a message to follow Christ who gave his life for the salvation of all, to follow in his footsteps and unite oneself to his sufferings.
This formula constitutes the mission of a priest. When he has lived it, what more is there left for him, but to receive the reward for his dedication?
Last September, he greeted me on my birthday. I thanked him and told him that I was praying for his health. He replied saying, “I went to Baclaran (National Shrine of our Mother of Perpetual Help) last September 8.” He had great devotion to our Lady. He went to make pilgrimages to her shrines whenever he could.
Farewell, “my friend.” May Our Mother of Perpetual Help carry you in her arms and bring you to Paradise.
Excerpts from the homily of Rev. Fr. Julio Dieguez, Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in the Philippines and Indonesia
Solemn Mass, 3 February 2024
Whenever I went to visit him - sometimes he was feeling well and other times not so well - he was always cheerful. And he was always very optimistic. Sometimes he would tell me, “No, I don’t feel very well today. But no, it’s not a problem. It’s not.” This is an example of joy, an example of cheerfulness, an example of fortitude. Because it’s very easy to be joyful or cheerful when everything is pleasant. It’s difficult to be cheerful when something causes you pain. But he was always joyful.
I visited him in the hospital the day before he died and he was awake, perfectly awake. We could talk normally. I asked at the beginning, “Are you in pain now?” And he told me, “No, but I’m feeling very weak.” And in fact he was… I tried not to tell him too many things and told him things that he didn’t need to answer.
Towards the end, when I was already leaving, he made the effort to tell me “I am praying for the Father and for the Work.” And I asked him to pray specifically for the apostolic work with young people. He told me, “Yes, of course,” and “Okay!” That was, for me, an example of fortitude, of cheerfulness in a very very difficult moment.