ON May 23, Msgr. Rodolfo "Rudy" Villanueva, the celebrated Cebuano short story writer, novelist and playwright cum musical composer, conductor and piano virtuoso, died at 83, leaving behind him a wealth of literary and musical works, and a large community of grieving admirers and friends. I am one such friend.

Our friendship began when our paths first crossed at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the 1960s. We have remained friends ever since. But we had no chance to speak to each other before he died. The last time we spoke to each other was during a liturgical celebration of St. Pedro Calungsod, the patron saint of the Filipino youth whom Pope Benedict XVI canonized on Oct. 21, 2012. My good friend did so much to promote devotion to the Filipino saint.

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