By Bro. Roy Calleja
The Brotherhood was built in the 1980s by men who loved the BCBP, had a vision for the future of the BCBP and were strong willed and courageous individuals.
One of them was Fernando “Tito Larry” de Larrazabal. He was one of the earliest members of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community (LNP) and, at that time, LNP entered into a training relationship with the Word of God Community of Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. This relationship lasted for a number of years and involved leaders from the US community visiting the LNP regularly and the leaders of the LNP going to Ann Arbor for training in community building. The training that LNP obtained was the one used for formation of communities like the BCBP. This was made possible thru Tito Larry as he was connected with Pan Am and he secured low-fare tickets to the U.S. for this spirit-filled group.
Tito Larry was a prominent figure in the 1980s up to the late 90s as he occupied the following positions in the BCBP:
1. In 1985, he was a member of the EXECOM in charge of the overall teaching program and the BCLP. The original teaching tracks and the BCLP were typed in bondpapers by Tital Olga de Larrazabal, the beautiful wife of Tito Larry,
2. He later became the Executive director of the BCBP.
3. During the Mission and Vision Planning in Ateneo East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI) in 1992, Tito Larry became part of the National Council as Managing Director for Luzon.
3. His last official attendance in a national BCBP activity was NAC 22 in Iloilo in 2002.
I first met Tito Larry when I took BCLP 10 in Makati Chapter in 1986 after the first EDSA revolution. At that time, we the participants noticed there were many mestizo’s in the service team and there was a joke that there were 3 persons in the BCLP, the Insulares, the Peninsulares and we the Indios.
During commitment night of BCLP 10, a member of a discussion group had to either perform or share and since there were only 2 couples in our group and the other couple absent, I was asked to share. I was so scared but Tito Larry and another mestizo prayed over me. In the baptism of the Holy Spirit prior to this, I had a difficulty with Praying in Tongues. The pray over started with Tito Larry asking me “Como Se Llama”, and they were encouraging me to pray using spanish words like “Entonces,” asking me to pray louder “mas fuerte”. After that I was able to pray in tongues.
This initial relationship grew stronger when in 1996, Janet and I made a decision to be in only one community choosing to be in the BCBP. I asked the BCBP President, Manny Banigan to be placed under Tito Larry as my action group leader and this lasted for more than 8 years but the friendship lasted more. Janet and I were the only members of the action group and all meetings were either 2 on 2 or 1 on 1.
What are the contributions of Tito Larry to the BCBP?
1. Aside from the teaching tracks, the BCLP, Tito Larry made the BCBP Policy Guidelines that would guide the BCBP in its start up decades in the 80s and 90s,
2. Tito Larry was the inspiration of the BCBP Book and provided the initial inputs. In our Action Group meetings, we would talk about our dreams for the BCBP. Tito Larry loved the Brotherhood and his dream was for the BCBP to spread its wings and be a major evangelizing force in the Philippines. At that time, Janet and I wondered why he kept turning over to me old files, info, teaching tracks not only about the BCBP but also of other communites in the Philippines and in the US. He wanted me to use them for something and most of the info were used as inputs for the BCBP Book, the history of the spirituality of the BCBP.
3. Tito Larry, based on my memory, was the first BCBP member to publish a book, about 3 or 4 books. The first was entitled “Where Are My Hands and Feet?” This is a true story set in the Spanish Revolution in the 1930s. The communist forces occupied a town, and in the town center there was a Cross and the communist soldiers shot at the hands then the feet of Jesus on the Cross. When the forces of General Franco liberated the town, one Catholic soldier after seeing the Cross knelt down and wept. He then saw a piece of cloth and wrote, “Will you be His hands and feet?” and placed it near the Cross. This is a beautiful reminder to all in the BCBP members “Will you be His hands — to do the work of Jesus; Will you be his feet — to carry the load of Jesus work.”
The other books were a compilation of 1-minute meditations entitled “Quest For Answers” which Tito Larry published in the Village Voice, a weekly publication distributed in Metro Manila and aired daily in Radio Mindanao network.
4. As an Action Group Leader, he always reminded me and Janet to take care of our children. He would always ask, “How are the children?” He provided the inspiration for me as Chapter Head of the Quezon City chapter in the 90s to institute the Young Adults Program called Pro active Loving Servants of the Lord or PALS and later for the MM North sector, the BCFR, the BCBP family retreat in 1999. Both programs originated from Alabang chapter but PALs was brought to the QC Chapter by Las Pinas.
This inspiration continued with CYP in 2010 when the PALS and BCFR young adults became part of the work force.
5. As an Action Group Leader, Tito Larry empowered people to take responsibility for their actions, to be “Response Able”. He did this with me in our Action Group and this was carried in the BCLP, Teaching Tracks and Policy guidelines he made for the BCBP.
We lost good people who have passed on in this quarantine. And I ask myself why they went ahead instead of others. As I pondered on this, I realize there are no sure answers but maybe just maybe we who are left in the BCBP will reflect the light that shown on people like Tito Larry, the light that emanated for God, to other businessmen and professionals we meet, and persevere to run the race.
Hebrews 12:1, “With so many witnesses in a great cloud all around us, we too, then, should throw off everything that weighs us down and the sin that clings so closely, and with perseverance keep running in the race which lies ahead of us.”