A Good Example to Other Priests
CEBU, Philippines — From Cagayan de Oro, Bishop Teofilo Camomot came back to Cebu in June 16, 1968. He was 56 years old then and wanted to spend the remainder of his life in his home place.
He underwent kidney operation. As soon as he could, he was back carrying out the ministry God has entrusted to him, although he was still recuperating. He was appointed auxiliary to the archbishop by Cardinal Julio Rosales, and was named parish priest of Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church in El Pardo, in October 1, 1970.
His nephew, Rev. Fr. Oscar Camomot, who had just finished his assignment in the U.S., was tasked by Cardinal Rosales to assist him in El Pardo. While staying at the parish, Fr. Oscar shared the same bedroom with his uncle, making him a privy to the bishop’s nightly routine.
Fr. Oscar related: “Being his nephew, I was not given a room of my own… We shared the same room. I slept at the wall side and he at the window side. I observed that he’d wake up very early, usually at three o’clock dawn. Then he would pray for a very long time until he goes out of the room to say Mass at five o’clock in the morning. That was his usual schedule… When Tiyo was assigned in Pardo, he would officiate nine Masses every day, because he’d never refuse anybody who needed it.”
Hanging around with his uncle daily taught Fr. Oscar numerous lessons which inspired him to become a good priest. On several occasions, he witnessed Camomot’s selflessness by sharing whatever he had to the poor and the sick.
“Every afternoon, Tiyo walked around the church patio. One time, a leper from Consolacion, Cebu came and asked [him for money] for a ship fare. Tiyo immediately gave the man money. Tiyo asked him, ‘How are you?’ ‘I’m just alright, Monsignor,’ the leper replied. Afterwards, the leper left. A man named Nene, who was in charge of putting money in the pocket of Tiyo’s cassock, saw what happened and told Tiyo, ‘What a very big amount you gave to that man!’ Tiyo then asked him, ‘What if you exchange places [with him] and I will double that amount?’
“It was during those times when I really experienced his extreme generosity. If he had something to give, he would really give it. Even if he needed it, but he saw that the other person needed it more, he would give away. He was very generous and close to the poor.”
Camomot also left an indelible mark to Rev. Fr. Glicerio Diosana who, also, had served as his assistant in El Pardo. Although he stayed in the parish for just six months, Diosana could vividly recall how the soft-spoken yet cha rismatic bishop touched his life and inspired him to reach out to those in need.
“His genuine love for the poor made him unique,” Fr. Diosana said. “He loved them very much. Numerous people came to the convent to ask for help, and he really didn’t find it annoying. Some just fooled him. One sold firewood to him, then later another one took that firewood and resold it to monsignor. He knew it. But he would just say ‘Never mind.’ And he would continue helping them.”