by Rogene Pervandos (PimeSeminary)
We are grieving over the death of Fr. Steve Baumbusch PIME, our rector. I was one of his companions during that tragic turn of events. We went to a place whom we consider a beautiful and sandy beach but we did not know that it was a dangerous spot. There was no one to inquire (no signboards) since it was a secluded place. As we walked toward the sea I stopped at the middle because I didn’t know how to swim. Fr. Steve and Luca, a first year seminarian, instead went ahead, swimming, since both of them were capable swimmers and in fact fr. Steve had a life guard’s licence. So I went back to the shore, and there people warned us and even scolding me because we were swimming in that area considered to be very dangerous. I answered them that there was no one to ask when we arrived. One of them immediately help me to find a ride to look for rescue to help them in case. I went directly to fr. Giuseppe to inform him about the two. An another of our companions was able to find a fisherman who knew the area very well. When we went back we saw only Luca haggard, exhausted and gasping for air but alive and walking toward the shore. The fisherman and I tried to detect any possible floating object on the water, then he decided to dive and tried to find fr. Steve. He did for 20 minutes at the rough sea. There was also pumpboats coming trying to find Fr. Steve but the worst thing happened and he never came back to the shore. He drowned maybe at 3:30pm and his body was found the following day at 2:00 am. He loved the place very much, Lubang, in fact, he planned that after his term as rector to serve the people of Lubang since he was in love with the place and the people. He also celebrated masses with them especially during the fiesta of St. Jude Thaddeus at Binakas chapel five hours before he died. He also planned to have the annual retreat of the seminarians at the place of Ma’am Norie and Sir Christian’s vacation house next year, inviting Fr. Bossi PIME or Fr. Giuseppe, PIME to be the retreat master.
He dreamed also, while he was walking at the shore, to have a piece of land there. Where one can meditate and pray. But God had other plan for him. We missed you father Steve. you let us feel proud, special, important as individuals and unique persons embraced by you with brotherly and fatherly love in God. Pray for us… We would like to say thanks also to the people of Lubang who showned their love and care for us while, with sadness, we extended our stay during the two days wake. What makes Lubang a paradise is its people whose hearts are genuinely loving and caring for strangers. We missed you all and we hope to be back in God’s gracious time. Patuloy po kayong umunlad sa Diyos at sa kapwa! Pray for us and we surely pray for you.