CELESTINO “Oloy” Tumale, 57, recalls the last time he saw his boss, Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, alive.
It was on Wednesday, Oct. 11, shortly after Vidal concluded his afternoon mass with officials of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. The prelate, Tumale said, skipped dinner and went directly to his bedroom.
Tumale, who was Vidal’s assistant, said he got concerned that Vidal wasn’t eating and so he decided to follow him to his room.
Tumale said he saw Vidal in a black jacket and pants. Underneath the jacket was a blue barong. Vidal was about to wear his shoes when Tumale came in.
“Saan po ang punta mo po?” asked a surprised Tumale.
Vidal answered that he was preparing for his trip to Manila. Hours after their conversation, Vidal was brought to the hospital.
“Tan-aw nako nga katong nakit-an nako siya, nanamilit nato siya (It was like he was saying goodbye),” said Tumale.
Tumale and his family have been a common fixture in Vidal’s household since the prelate was appointed as Archbishop of Cebu in 1982.
Tumale, along with his family, had served the 86-year-old Vidal for 34 years.
A working student then, Tumale worked as a gardener for the late Cebu Archbishop Julio Cardinal Rosales in 1980.
Tumale stayed on as gardener for Rosales until in 1982, when the latter turned over his post to Vidal.
When Vidal became Archbishop of Cebu, Tumale was the only one of Rosales’s staff who stayed at the Archbishop’s Residence on D. Jakosalem St., Cebu City.
From a gardener, Tumale was promoted to various positions from an altar boy to a house caretaker, driver and janitor.
When Tumale got married to Frances with whom he has five children , Vidal allowed his family to live at his official residence.
Frances also worked at the Archbishop’s Residence as cleaning lady and laundrywoman.
While their children—Rey Carmelo, Ulric, Andrew Paul, Frances Anne and Teresa Marie—brightened Vidal’s household with their presence.
“Pinangga gyud niya ang among mga anak. Iya ra sad gitratar nga kaugalingon niyang mga apo (He loved our children and treated them like his grandchildren),” said Tumale.
Tumale remembered how Vidal treated him and his family as his own.
Frances told SunStar Cebu that Vidal called her children his “heart.” She said it was Vidal who named her children after saints.
Rey Carmelo, 19, recalled how their “lolo” would always be with them even in their worst days.
Now a seminarian at the Pope St. John XXIII Seminary, Rey Carmelo hopes to follow in his lolo’s footsteps and become a priest.
Tumale said he remembers Vidal’s “extreme generosity.”
Most of all, Tumale said he never saw Vidal ever angry.