ADDU Pool: In Memory of Fr. Rodolfo “Rudy” Malasmas, S.J.

As the kids watched the construction of this swimming pool, they wanted to swim in it, even before it was finished. I received questions from eager pupils inquiring when it would finally be finished. When it finally was, wisely, our headmaster Suzette Aliño, declared it would not be used until it would be blessed. The blessing took place on July 30, but only after a earlier valiant attempt to bless the water of the pool without the rest of the structures so that the pool could finally be used earlier “just for swimming.” In the end, the spirit of restraint prevailed. With great joy, this pool was blessed on July 30, 2012, the day before the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola.

During the blessing we called down God’s favor on those who would use this pool, especially our little ones from the Grade School – to protect them all from any harmful accidents, to make water in their lives a friend, to enable all to swim with confidence and competence, or even to swim with outstanding skill in challenging competitions. We were grateful to God for blessing this pool and its related structures, but the Grade School community, especially the teachers, knew that something was missing. The pool did not have a name.

From the Grade School community the strong suggestion was made that the pool be named in honor of Fr. Rudy Malasmas, S.J. Many here remembered him as their one-time GS Headmaster who was always present in the school, teaching, encouraging, laughing, affirming our people in their service of our GS community, and as a Jesuit priest, leading them to God. On November 11, less than two weeks after the blessing , the Board of Trustees of the ADDU, following the new University protocol on naming of buildings and structures in the University, formally resolved to name this swimming pool in honor of Fr. Rodolfo A. “Rudy” Malasmas, S.J.

Today, we come together as a university community, honored by the presence of some of Fr. Rudy’s dearest relatives, to name this swimming facility after him. We do so with great humility, recalling that with Fr. Theodore Daigler, S.J., Fr. James Donelan, Fr. Alfreo Paquia, and Fr. Grant Quinn, Schol. Rudy Malasmas was one of the original founding Jesuits of the Ateneo de Davao. We recall only some of the many positions he held since then: teacher of English, teacher of Philosophy, teacher of Theology, Dean of Men, Dean of the College, Grade School Headmaster, High School Principal, Supervisor of the ADDU Compostella Annex, Asst. University Chaplain.

During the Marcos years, Fr. Rudy was a courageous street parliamentarian, and a courageous leader of the Yellow Friday Movement. His concern for the social justice and for the poor was an integral part of his lived Jesuit mission; with this concern he served as Director of the Kauswagan Foundation. He was also specially dedicated to the formation of Christian families and extraordinarily active in the Marriage Encounter movement in Davao.

In all these positions and activities, Fr. Rudy was first and foremost a Jesuit priest; through his quiet ways, he touched human hearts and, in a rather tempestuous world, helped people find God. This was, after all, how in 1941 he had been drawn to the Society of Jesus: he heard the call to follow Jesus, the King, to stand at his side battling forces of evil, to rescue victimized people, to lead them to God.

We dedicate this swimming facility to him with deep humility, knowing that actually we should dedicate to him a much more appropriate monument: a huge statue, a skyscraper, or a pyramid. On the other hand, I am quite sure that Fr. Rudy would be rather horrified at such an idea, and would be quite happy to be remembered here among little ones, happy and frolicking in this pool. It is with this thought that this GS swimming facility is humbly, but happily, dedicated to his memory.

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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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