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Provincial Curia: Congratulations On The Centenary Of Fr. Pedro González Tejero´s Birthday

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It is not easy for somebody who has been under your guidance for four years during the turbulent years of the sixties to speak about you. Nevertheless, I must honestly declare that I have admired your sense of responsibility and faithfulness to your vocation as a Dominican Brother. You have given to us an example of the profound love you had for the Order, the Province, and the Church and at all times you invited us to assume the responsibility for our formation and spiritual growth. You listened attentively to our questions, complains and worries and when we did not understand what we were demanding for and the aspiration of those dreams of our early days when the wanted to seize the historical times of the changing and booming Church and society and we may have ended up realizing that it was the historical moment that seized us. It is not easy to judge history with our contemporary views. We have crossed through barren deserts hope of grasping time and history and we may have come to understand that we were to have put God’s hand more firmly in command of our lives and undertakings. We may have wanted to build God’s kingdom with our skills rather than with God’s power. Not in vain we are still wondering how we could re-discover the renewal of religious life and the Church. 

Fray Pedro Gonzalez Tejero was born in Velilla de Tarilonte (Palencia), Spain, on 30th August 1920. Having completed his elementary days in his native village he moved to the aspirants' school of Our Lady of the Rosary, La Mejorada, Olmedo, and later to St. Dominic’s Priory, Ocaña, Toledo (1931-1936). At that time he was forced to interrupt his formation when the Spanish civil war broke up and all the brothers in the Priory suffered martyrdom, while the aspirants were forced to leave and seek refuge in the houses of some friends until they were able to move elsewhere. But, after the civil war, he returned to the School of Santa Maria de Nieva (Segovia), 1939-1940. In 1940 he joined the novitiate year at the Priory of St. Thomas, Avila, and made his first profession on August 16, 1941. 

Immediately after his profession, he began the institutional studies in the same priory (philosophy 1941-1945 and Theology 1945-1946) then he was sent to the Dominican House of River Forest, Illinois, USA, where he completed the Theology courses and was ordained to the priesthood on the 5th of June, 1947. In this same Priory, he obtained the Lectorate in Theology and Master’s in Arts in 1948. This same year he enrolled in the Catholic University of America, Washington in the Education Department (1948-49).

He was assigned to the Colegio of San Juan de Letran, Manila (1949-1954) where he was given different teaching jobs. Having been elected prior of the Priory of St. Dominic he moved to this house (1954-57). At the end of the tenure he was appointed Master of Student Brothers in St. Pedro Martyr, Madrid, and St. Tomas, Avila (1958-1967). It was during this period that most of the brothers of the province had him as a Formator. It was not an easy job during the days of the great transformation of the church and religious life following the celebration of the Second Vatican Council and the revolution of students and workers in several European countries. Nevertheless, Fray Pedro was always concerned with the good of the Student Brothers and tried to protect them in some difficult situations.

Having been elected Prior of St. Dominic’s Priory in Ocaña he transfers there (1967-1970), then he was reassigned to Sto. Tomas, Avila where he was appointed Subprior and director of the Lay Dominicans. In 1978 he was elected the first Regional Prior in the newly created Vicariate in the Philippines (1978-1882), at the end his term he was asked to take care of the postulants in our House of Binondo (1983-1985), then he was appointed superior of this house (1986-1989). Finally, he was transferred to the Priory of St. Thomas, at the University of Sto. Tomas, where he assumed the office of spiritual director at the Central Seminary (1990-2013) when because of his weak health he was confined to the infirmary where he has remained in good spirit until the present.

It is not easy to speak of a brother who has been a witness of so many changes in the history of his life; who has taken part in many provincial chapters and vicariate councils; who has been always ready to help and who tried to encourage people to adapt and to draw the energy needed to continue answering God’s call to so many brothers and seminarians.

As Prior Provincial, as one of his students during my philosophy years, as his co-brother in several provincial chapters and vicariate councils I would like to extend my congratulations to Fray Pedro on the celebration of his 100 years of life, 79 years of religious life and 73 years in the priesthood. His life has been characterized by service to the people of God, to the Order, and the formation of friars and seminarians.   

I pray that God and the Blessed Virgin Mary, together with our Saints may shower upon him abundant grace and the satisfaction of having seen so many brothers succeeding in their ministry and life. Some of us will never forget advice, reminders, his joy when something was right, and his sadness when the outcome was not as he expected. 

Thanks, Father for your life and service to the Church, the Order, and the Province! What is there for you? In the long days of some sort of isolation that health has imposed on you, I hope that you can listen to the thin silence of the presence of He whom you tried to serve so generously!

Let me conclude with words taken from Fray Timothy: “God has created you to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to you which he has not committed to another. You had and continue to have your mission! You may never know it in this life, but you will be told in the next”. But with joy you can say; “I did what I could and I am ready to receive the reward you have promised to those who gave up everything to follow in the footsteps of Jesus,” into your hands Lord I entrust my spirit!

Fr. Bonifacio Solís García, OP.

Prior Provincial