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Peter Jess Legaspi made his lifelong promise to live single for the Lord as a Servant of the Word January 9, 2010, in unique circumstances: for the first time in our brotherhood history, the actual commitment was made in Peter’s home country, the Philippines.

Peter’s lifelong commitment was a joyful event, and it took place seemingly against all odds. Well… despite two unexpected hindrances, as a matter of fact.

First, Peter was denied a U.S. visa despite repeated applications and visits to the consular office. When the brothers decided that he could make his lifelong commitment, not in our Michigan Brotherhood Center as is normally the case, but in Manila, they set the date for September 26, 2009. Then, it was on that day that the worst tropical hurricane in 40 years hit the city. Many areas of the metropolis were inundated, some by more than ten feet of flood water. It was a disaster of epic proportions. (Although relatively few lives were lost, the loss of property was unprecedented.)

Peter speaking to students in Manila.

Naturally, the brothers called off Peter’s commitment ceremony, and in the following days all their efforts were spent in helping others who were stricken by flood waters and by lack of food and drinking water. Peter, while bemused by the sudden turn of events which postponed once again his lifelong commitment, reflected that the hurricane – locally named “Ondoy” – deepened his resolve to live all-out for God. “While I was helping out the victims of Ondoy,” he said, “what I realized was that everything in this world passes away, all can disappear or be destroyed so quickly. Only the really important things remain – such as love and friendship and service to people. And of course, God’s love abides forever.”

Despite all these setbacks, Peter finally made his commitment this past January. By a happy coincidence, one of the brothers in the U.S., Stuart Ferguson, was scheduled to visit Manila and was present at Peter’s commitment. Around 200 close friends of the brothers from the local community (Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon – The Joy of the Lord) and its various outreaches, as well as family and other friends, were in attendance.

When asked how he would personally describe making his lifelong commitment, Peter replied: “I’m grateful to the Lord for giving me the grace to respond to his call. I believe this is where the Lord is calling me, and where I can best love and serve him. I’m so happy to finally make this commitment, to be able to serve the Lord with my whole heart and to give my all to him. Of course, I’m fully aware of the challenges of living single for the Lord in today’s world. Can I remain faithful to my promise? Amidst all my concerns, I simply trust in the Lord’s grace and goodness.”

-Jake Yap

This article is from our 2010 Easter Newsletter.

Jake Yap
Jake is a lifelong committed brother. He finished his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford (UK) and presently works as professor of theology at the Jesuit-run Loyola School of Theology. He also serves as a coordinator in the local community, Ang Ligaya Ng Panginoon.
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