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In memory of the death of Joaquim L, OP

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By Fr. Miguel Ángel San Román - Rome 

Tuesday, June 26: After celebrating the daily Mass of 08:00 a.m., I met Joachim with his habit, cape and black hood, i.e., wearing the complete Dominican habit at the entrance hall of the Priory. "Where are you going dressed so officially?" "To the Vatican Library, he replied. Today we have the ceremony of the end of the course. They will give us the diploma attesting the completion of the studies". It was an Archival, Palaeography, Sigilography and Diplomatic course; Joaquín had just finished the biennial course few days earlier. I wanted to accompany him, (in China, on such occasions, students are accompanied by members of their family or friends) but I had an appointment in Propaganda Fide.

Wednesday, June 27:I prepared myself for the 8:00 a.m. Mass and Joachim concelebrated with me. He read the Gospel and shared from the same chalice Christ’s Blood, though normally he did it by intinction.Prosit in the sacristy and Goodbye!

On that day an excursion was scheduled for the student brothers living in our community, to free themselves from the stress of the final exams they had just finished. Joachim joined the excursion since he had also undergone the exam on Archivist and Palaeography.

They spent a happy day swimming on the sea, eating, celebrating fraternally and in friendship, singing songs in several languages ... Joachim offered a few minutes of Beijing Opera, not very professional of course, but of good quality for a beginner. It was not the first time that brothers had heard him. 

Finally, before returning home, the last bath and few minutes in the water. Bros. Diego and Rafael left soon. Shortly after, a brother, not a swimmer, found himself unknowingly in an unevenness of the sea floor, he could not stand and he was sinking. Joachim, a good swimmer, went to him to help him. He managed to push Henry to a firm surface. Henry received immediate assistance from lifeguards and the Red Cross. The help was focused on him that ejected a large amount of water and had an irregular sinus rhythm ... But what about Joachim? He had not been seen again. Several dives were made by lifeguards, a diver, and even a volunteer. But they did not locate him until 15 minutes later. Resuscitation was attempted, but the brain and heart were flat... thus, shortly after, it was ruled that the situation was irreversible: Joachim was gone. So unexpected, so untimely, so tragic so unbelievable.


Fr. Joachim was a Chinese Dominican, who, on August 7, 2012, had been assigned to the community of the Most Holy Trinity, Via Dei  Condott, Rome. Before he came to Rome he had completed the institutional studies in Philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila and in theology at the Holy Spirit Seminary, Hong Kong. In Rome he was asked to take up History of the Church in the Gregorian University. Having graduated with the licentiate in History of the Church, he was working in the doctoral thesis entitle “on the Method of Mission of the Dominican Order in the mission of China”, and, concomitantly, he took up the course on Archivist and Palaeography in the Vatican. During these years Joachim perfected languages like Latin, Italian, Spanish, and French adding them to the already well known Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

He had been ordained to the priesthood two years ago by His Eminence Cardinal John Tong, bishop of Hong Kong. We have a picture taken during the ordination in which Joachim is portrayed with a wide smile, open and radiating full of happiness, at the foot of the altar where the ordination had taken place.

In our community of Via Condottihe was rather quiet, respectful, friendly, never noisy, but, at the same time, he was never absent from community acts, schedules and commitments: close to everyone.

Now that Joachim has left us quietly and abruptly we wonder… He is gone in the middle of a community activity, giving help to a brother in need, but his promising future as a member of the Order and of the Province has vanished. The earth is silent, hearts cry ... More than ever we need to hear the Word of Jesus: "I am the life, I will be your life forever."

We have very grateful to the presence of Fr. Joachim because he has given a lot to this Priory. His smile, open and sincere, his moderation and objectivity, his firm and clear convictions on issues of identity of the Province, his obedience when the time came, trust and loyalty. Joachim has "created community" among us. Furthermore, his relationship with the students has been inspiring, formative and creative... in a sense, these young brothers will be marked with the seal/influence of Joachim for the rest of their lives.

Now he has presented himself to God, he has entered into the peace of the Lord and we hope that he has been well received and rewarded... His mission on earth is over. We have also discovered that Lord's plan for him was not what we had planned and planned. His mission has to be and become a living witness to the universal church, without limits of nations or races. And in the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary, he has left us a testimony of the true identity and identification with the missionary charism of the Province. Joachim fulfilled, without fanfare and almost in silence, the mission entrusted to him by the Lord. The Lord and Father who has received him in his peace and glory.

But here, on this shore, we remain celebrating the Easter of a brother who has already completed his journey of faith and universality. Joachim was one with the Chinese, one with the Spanish, one with the Italians, the Americans and one with the world. Joachim had already become a universal man and a brother of all; positive, hardworking, of serious and deep spirituality, highly intelligent, open, familiar, humble, respectful and helpful.

The Brothers in the community of the Most Holy Trinity, Via Condotti, are living moment of deep sadness and sorrow. At the death of Jesus in mount Calvary where he was crucified the veil of the Temple was torn. On the seashore of Nettuno, a veil has been ripped again for us. For we enjoyed his company and brotherhood for six years, we have prayed, studied, worked, sung, celebrated together; with him we have lived in as a family in community . Now we notice the lack of brother whose presence was a shadow of peace.

Fr. Joachim, do not stop insisting with the Father and the Madonna,that those you are left behind crying on this shore must continue the work that you have left, until the final reunion, already on your shore, in the community of the new earth and the new heavens