by Ruby Macario

Today, let us thank the Lord for the faithful service of one very devoted priest to His people. He has grown in service in the vineyard of the Lord and has proven many times over his dedication, commitment, and love. We look back with gladness and gratitude at the 36-year journey in his priestly vocation. One admirable achievement worthy of praise and good wishes. We pray that God will continue to bestow His blessings to our very own REV. FR. ULDARICO “DING” C. CAMUS, OFMCap.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Rev. Fr. Uldarico “Ding” Camatison Camus, OFM Cap., is the Director for Finance for Lourdes School of Quezon City. He is called Fr. Ding for a reason. He was born on the 4th of July, 1953, on the feast day of Saint Ulric also known as Uldaricus.  “Uldarico” was a name that was unique, long and hard to recall. While “Ding” is short and rings a bell. And for those who can remember, it was the name of a popular local comic character back in the day.

UNITY IN NUMBERS

He came from Ilog-Ilog, which means “village of many small rivers” in the town of Leon, Iloilo. Ding is the 6th child in a family of eleven siblings, 6 brothers and 5 sisters. His mother Elisea had her hands full taking care of the growing brood, while his father Rodrigo tilled the farm land. Both made sure that their children were raised as God-fearing, in a happy and harmonious home.  

Every family gathering was always a grand reunion. The large Camus family became the pride of their hometown because two sons entered the priesthood: Fr. Ding and his younger brother Rev. Fr. Cirilo C. Camus, a diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo. Fr. Cirilo is 59 years old, and is the parish priest of Our Lady of Salvation Parish in Lawigan, San Joaquin, Iloilo.

THE YOUNG BOY

While many forget their Christian birthdays, Fr. Ding remembers his baptism date so well. It was on the 3rd of October 1953, by Rev. Fr. Simon Van Baars at the parish of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Leon, Iloilo, with Cresencio Calagsing and Narcisa Calapardo as his godparents.

According to his older sisters, Ding was a cry-baby who always sought his mother, finding protection “beneath her wings.” He finished his elementary education at Tacuyong Elementary School in 1966, but had to stop for 3 years. He finally finished his secondary education at St. Catherine Academy in 1973 in Leon, Iloilo.

HIS CALLING

One day, during his last year in high school, he happened to read a brochure about the Lourdes Seminary in Lipa City. He felt drawn to the missionary life of a Capuchin. After their high school graduation, Ding and two schoolmates entered Lourdes Seminary in Lipa City. At first, it was more of an adventure. Later, he knew that he was being called by God through the intervention of several Capuchins, starting from his vocation director, the late Rev. Fr. Salvador Hechanova, OFMCap. and his mentor, the late Rev. Fr. Quirico Chaves who became a diocesan priest in the province of Iloilo.

Among the three aspirants, only Br. Ding completed the Capuchin Formation. His two schoolmates chose to have different careers. Br. Ding continued as a postulant at the Saint Felix of Cantalice Formation House in Sungay, Tagaytay City in 1977.  He began his novitiate in 1978. Br. Ding successfully overcame some challenges and struggles with his formators. He attributes his victories to God’s grace and intervention.

His postulant and novice director was Rev. Fr. Joseph Nacua, OFMCap, now Bishop Emeritus of Ilagan, Isabela. In 1979, he had his first profession in the Capuchin Order. After which he pursued his studies for his second year of Philosophy and Theology at the Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City. After his third year in Theology, he was exposed to fraternity and parish experience in Metro Manila. He was assigned at Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in Singalong. In 1983, Br. Ding returned to Tagaytay to complete his theological studies at the St. Lawrence of Brindisi House of Studies.

On May 21, 1983, together with Br. Bernardo Nioda, OFMCap. Br. Raul Ramos, OFMCap. and Br. Edgardo Dumaual, OFMCap. he made his Solemn Profession at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Quezon City.

Two months later, on July 23, they had their Diaconal Ordination at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Tagaytay City, officiated by Bishop Felix Perez of the Diocese of Imus.

On March 31, 1984 he was ordained by Bishop Edmundo Abaya, Bishop of Laoag, at the Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Mandaluyong.

APOSTOLIC AND MISSIONARY JOURNEY

Rev. Fr. Ding Camus, OFMCap. was assigned as Chaplain of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. He was assisted by the Sacred Heart Sisters and Student Catholic Action of PUP. From then on, it was one assignment after another.

  • 1984 – 1987     PUP Chaplain and Assistant Parish Priest, Sacred Heart Parish, Old Sta. Mesa, Manila
  • 1987 – 1989     Lourdes Fraternity, Baluan, General Santos City
  • 1989 – 1991     Vocation Director of Philippine Province, Lourdes Fraternity, Quezon City
  • 1991 – 1993     Assistant Parish Priest, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna.  
  • 1993 – 1997     Parish Priest, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna
  • 1997 – 1999     Our Lady of Lourdes Fraternity, Baluan, General Santos City
  • 1999 – 2000     Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Tagaytay City
  • 2000 – 2003     Parish Priest of San Jose Manggagawa Parish, San Jose, GMA, Cavite
  • 2003 – 2005     Spiritual Director, Our Lady of Lourdes Seminary, Lipa City
  • 2004 June to July Reliever of Br. Tomasito Veneracion, OFMCap. at Doha, Qatar Mission
  • 2005 – 2007     Guardian, Saint Francis Fraternity, Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna

Then, Fr. Ding was assigned for seven years in the Middle East.

  • 2007 – 2011     Priest in charge of the Filipino Community and Assistant Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Parish, Manama, Bahrain
  • 2011 – 2014     Parish Priest, Sacred Heart Parish, Manama, Bahrain

Photo Carousel: 2010. 20th Wedding Anniversary celebrated by a Filipino couple in Sacred Heart Church, Bahrain. 2009. Confirmation at Sacred Heart School with Bishop Paul Hinder, OFMCap. 2014. Family Day at Sacred Heart Church, Bahrain.

While in Bahrain, he had interesting experiences dealing with multi-cultural communities. The populace comprised both Catholics and non-Catholics. Fr. Ding had to get along with differences in language, beliefs and culture. With God’s grace, he was able to cope and adapt without much difficulty and conflict. The Filipino community numbered around 50,000, a fraction compared to other Gulf countries where Filipinos totaled over one million.

Photos: 2012. Philippine Independence Day at Manama, Bahrain. Sen. Villar visited Sacred Heart Church.

In 2014, he was appointed as the Local Economo (Local Fraternity Treasurer) of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish. From 2017 to the present, he serves as Treasurer of Lourdes School of Quezon City as well as Fraternity Vicar for NSOLL.

It has been a long apostolic and missionary journey for Fr. Ding. As a priest, his greatest consolation is that he is able to fulfill his mission and ministry in spite of many sacrifices and difficulties. Fr. Ding finds fulfillment doing ministry work, which includes confessions and telephone counselling for penitents. 

It is in school that Fr. Ding derives so much fun in singing, sports and outings. A familiar and beloved campus figure, Fr. Ding Camus blends well with the students. He could easily be mistaken as one, were it not for his habit. Students open up to him for a reason: they love his warm and chinito eyes that accompany his welcoming and easy smile.

Before the Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine, he was busy with his daily routine as school treasurer. He was also involved in plans for the Lenten season and the Holy Week. However, since public worship was cancelled, he is confined to praying and celebrating mass privately among the friars and church workers housed in NSOLL. He is glad that the live streaming of masses resumed on March 25, where the priests take turns presiding the mass live via NSOLL’s Facebook page. The EECQ has afforded the Capuchins time to be closer to one another, observe social distancing and engage in limited missionary work.

His basic lifestyle involves following his doctor’s advice: confess your sins, exercise regularly, pray always and live joyfully. He gets along with all the Capuchin Brothers. His close friends are Rev. Fr. Raul Ramos, OFMCap. (his classmate, now in mission in Oman) and Rev. Fr. Egay Martinez, OFMCap.

ADVICE FOR VOCATION

“Follow the voice of God, nurture and make mature what He has implanted in them to fulfill, and respond with all freedom to their vocation. Pray, meditate, and act on it.”

ON HIS 36th PRESBYTERAL ANNIVERSARY

His Inspiration

His favorite figure in the Bible from the Old Testament is Joseph, who was sold by his 11 brothers to Egypt for 20 pieces of silver. He likens Joseph to the figure of Jesus Christ who was sold for 30 pieces of silver. But God was faithful to the righteous and chaste persons like Joseph, whom He spared from death and defeat.

As a priest, one has to be simple and humble, and must have the openness to accept things, good or bad. Talk less and simply do what is supposed to be done. “I do not expect or want people to remember me in a particular manner. Instead, I want them to keep praying to be faithful ministers and stewards of God and His creatures.”

Gratitude

“I am grateful to God for keeping me sound in spirit and body. My only desire is that I remain faithful to Him and to the Capuchin vocation despite my weaknesses. I find peace and joy, feeling that everything is done with God’s intervention and domain.”                        

#NSOLLQC

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