WHEN you turn 90, what can you really wish for? From the temporal world, you have “been there, done that.” In the spiritual realm, you have wrestled with every temptation and perhaps in deep, deep contemplation plunged into Holy Mother Teresa’s 7th mansion.

When one is 90, life is not complicated. Desires have become a short list, tempers are quelled and only gentleness reigns. There is a peace with the world and one’s self.

Fr. Bernard (Vicente Mapa Ybiernas), OCD cannot ask for more of his 90 years of life’s blessings. For one who is much loved by his family and his spiritual communities (cloistered and lay) there is overflowing gratitude to the Lord.

The spiritual communities of Fr. Bernard, Carmel, OCDS and Casa Maria, who have benefitted from his guidance, mentoring and loving advices, a birthday celebration was a must. After a concelebrated Mass with his brother friars and priests, an agape at the Agape followed.

There was careful planning for a program that was short, sweet and full of meaning. Three of his favorite songs were sung by the choir: “Let It Be,” “All the Things You Are” and “An Affair to Remember.”

The trip down memory lane brought some tears to the nonagenarian’s eyes. Testimonials from brother friars who were his classmates and companions in their novitiate years gave us some insights to Fr. Bernard’s early years in Carmel. Romeo Awatin’s witnessing further revealed the selflessness of the good priest who saved a man from an angry mob, his loyalty to friends and family and most importantly to his vocation.

In life, we always reap what we sow. At 90, Fr. Bernard is reaping a bountiful harvest and we thank God for this wonderful gift of life who has made many differences in our lives!