Fr. Torquato Paolucci
Friday, February 9, 2018

The Institute, the Superior General and the members of his General Council (GC) remember with deep emotion Fr. Rogelio Bustos Juárez, General Assistant, who died prematurely in León, while at home, where he happened to be prior to starting a visit to the Central American Province (PCA). The GC, in the name of all the members of the Institute, thanks all those people who took part in this sudden loss with messages of condolences and of appreciation for the person of Fr. Rogelio and for the service he rendered throughout many years in Mexico and in Peru and, during these last years, in Rome.

HE HAS RISEN, he is not here

“He has risen, he is not here!” (Mk 16:6) This is the message of the angels to the frightened women who went to the tomb on Easter morning. It is the announcement of Easter. Let us look for Jesus elsewhere, not in the realm of death, but in the world, in the poor, the suffering, in the Resurrection. We too, like the women, let us experience the Resurrection. This is the Easter wish we exchange.

On this Easter, the Comboni community of EUR in Rome together with you, our friends, wants to remember a member of our community whom the Father has recently called to himself, Fr. Bustos Rogelio. Rogelio was one of the general assistants of the Congregation, one of our leaders, a true brother. It was great to meet him around the house and always seeing his smile (considering the load of problems connected with his office, it must not have been easy!). Besides the smile, he always had a question concerning my work, my health. He was always available to dialogue and to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed him. In fact, he was just while helping around the house, at his sister’s, when he fell off a ladder and, after a month of suffering, the Father called him to Himself. “Come, good and faithful servant.”

We miss him greatly, but Easter invites us to look for him “elsewhere.” He has Risen, with Jesus.

In his Mass of remembrance, celebrated in our chapel in the presence of many confreres, Comboni Sisters, and many friends, Fr. Arnaldo underlined exactly this point: Rogelio is alive. He experienced first Calvary and death, but now he lives and, if we want to meet him, we must go to the one who said: “I am the Resurrection and the life.” Rogelio has risen.

He was born in Mexico 56 years ago and spent a total of 34 years in the Comboni Institute. He studied theology in Rome and was ordained a priest in 1987, obtaining then a licenciate in Moral Theology in 1988. He covered assignments of great responsibility in the congregation and in mission: Educator and superior of our seminary in Mexico, educator of our theology students in Lima, Peru for eight years, provincial superior in Peru for six years and then again in Mexico. In 2015 he was elected to the General Council.

In the GC he was responsible for basic and ongoing formation, and for the provinces and delegations of America and Asia. As such he had been visiting the provinces assigned to him and he happened to be in Mexico for this reason. He had decided to spend Christmas with his sister, when the call arrived to enter the Kingdom.

Those who knew him well was sufficiently diplomatic. He knew how to difuse dramatic situations, heal wounds, sew up tears. He, as the Pope likes to say, preferred to build bridges rather than walls. Charity and unity in a group or community were important to him.

In his homily, Fr. Arnaldo underlined that Rogelio was an expert in following confreres even in difficult situations. Even he gave generously of himself during the destructive earthquake of August 15, 2007 that killed over 600 people in Peru. He took off for the most affected area with a small truck loaded with supplies, and someone stole the whole thing, truck included!

What was his secret? Regular morning prayer, assures Fr. Arnaldo. He wanted to check in with Jesus in the tabernacle, in the morning before beginning to work, meeting confreres and the problems waiting for him. He wanted to meet them in Jesus to have words of friendship and of light, in Jesus.

This is an example which is a lesson for all of us missionaries and for all Christians as well.

Only in the Risen Lord who lives in his word and in the Eucharist we can find light and strength to always be missionaries, in the style of Comboni.

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