By: Joe Mauricio
(Delivered during the funeral wake at the Drake Funeral Home Chicago on September 9, 2018).
Dr. Rufino Crisostomo was born in Baliuag. Bulacan, looking out to the world he could then only imagine. From humble beginnings grew the force of a driving dream, a dream that led to the remarkable journey that ends here today, where it all began beside the same large house in Baliuag, Bulacan.
Dr. Crisostomo’s journey across the world mirrored that of his entire Filipino community in Chicago. His life was bound up with the strivings of our people, the Filipino people, with our crises and our triumphs.
When he became the President of the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago or FACGC, he took on the challenges of uniting the community via the FACC organization, the umbrella organization in our Filipino American community in Chicago.
For the past years, even in the final weeks of his life, he gave me his wise counsel in regards to our community. Though this honorable man was in his eighth decades of his life, he had an incredibly sharp and vigorous mind. He always seemed to believe that the greatest sin was remaining passive in the face of challenges and he never stopped living by that creed.
He gave of himself with the intelligence and energy and devotion to duty and his community owes him a debt of gratitude or utang na loob in our vernacular, for that service.
Oh, yes, he knew great controversy amidst defeat as well as victory. But the enduring lesson of Dr. Cris is that he never gave up being part of the action and passion of his time. He said many times that unless a person has a goal, a new mountain to climb, his spirit will die.
Based on our last phone conversation, I can say that his spirit was very much alive to the very end.
Today is a day for his family, his friends and his community to remember Dr. Rufino Crisostomo’s life in totality. To them, let us say, may the judging of Dr. Cris on anything, less than his entire life and career, come to a close.
May we heed his call to maintain the will and the wisdom to build on Filipinos’ greatest gift, its freedom, and to lead a world full of difficulties to the just and lasting peace he dreamed of.
And so, on behalf of all of us, we bid farewell to Dr. Rufino Crisostomo. And may his dead body galvanize the Filipino community that he loved so much, the fight that’s worth dying for….is it really? Thank you for listening.