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Fr. Eusebio Berdon: His Brethren’s Choice

Berdon 1984

(Note: This article was written by Anita D. Bellosillo and originally published in the Souvenir of the Inauguration of the Province in 1984.)

Only 35 years old and a priest for only seven years but, since December 23, 1983, Very Rev. Fr. Eusebio Berdon y Bangcaya, O.S.A. has assumed a gigantic task as the first Prior Provincial of the newly formed Augustinian Province of Santo Nino de Cebu, Philippines.

As the head of the first indigenous Augustinian Province in Asia, Fr. Berdon faces the tremendous responsibility of leading and guiding his 36 brothers affiliated with the new province as well as the 61 aspirants, novices, postulants and theology students of the Order.

Fr. Berdon will also have authority and responsibility of the management of the 6 Augustinian houses belonging to the new province. The magnitude of his task demands no little faith, no mean courage, no wavering judgment. But his credentials speak well of his preparation for his work. He earned his Bachelor of Philosophy degree at the University of Santo Tomas; Bachelor of Theology degree at the Augustinian International College, Rome where he graduated magna cum laude. Fr. Berdon earned his Licentiate in Theology degree, cum laude at the Gregorian University, Rome and his Doctor of Philosophy in Theology degree at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Immediately after his ordination on May 15, 1976, he was Assistant Master of Professed and Novices from 1977-1978; Master of Professed and Novices from 1978-1980 and Master of Novices from 1980-1983.

It was inevitable that Fr. Berdon would ascend inexorably up the ladder of responsibility and eminence in the Augustinian Order as he became successively Vicarial Counselor, Chairman of the Commission on Vocations and Formation and National Secretary of the Novice Formators of the Philippines.

Fr. Berdon honed himself further when he was sent as delegate to the Asian and Pacific Augustinian Conference in 1980, the Provincial Chapter of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines in Valladolid, Spain in 1982 and to the 174th General Chapter of the Order of Saint Augustine in Rome in 1983.

A prodigious writer, he has written articles published in national magazines and has engaged in research work in the various Augustinian Houses in Western Europe.

The new Prior Provincial is a polyglot. He knows the English, Spanish, Italian, French and Pilipino languages and speaks in 3 dialects; Ilongo, Cebuano and Antiqueno.

The Antiqueño dialect must be the closest to Fr. Berdon’s heart for he was born in the sleepy, little town of Valderrama, Antique on August 14, 1948 to Cipriano Berdon and Francisca Bangcaya now deceased. The eldest, Fr. Berdon has two brothers and five sisters. Antique with its leisurely lifestyle that has gone undisturbed for centuries was where the road to sacerdotal life must have begun for Fr. Berdon and where the seed of destiny was planted.

A lush, tropical land in the mountainous western fringe of Panay Island, Antique nurtured the young Eusebio and its serenity and somnolence must have aided in the formation of the contemplative nature of the country boy dreaming dreams now become a reality.

As the Holy Writ states: “Much will be asked of men to whom much has been given, and more will be expected from him because he was entrusted with more.”

And indeed — more — much more — will be expected of Fr. Berdon because much has been given him.

— Anita D. Bellosillo

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