by Marie Tycangco
Steve Lopez was one of the pioneers of the Hospital Ministry. He was first invited by Marissa Oreta (+) to judge an art contest for the Mulawin Community Development Outreach Program, the first outreach program of SSAP, which started in 1984. They gave catechism classes to children studying in public school and the out-of-school youth. Since then he became an active volunteer until his passing in 2013. He started PGH Adopt-A-Child in 1990, together with Marrot Moreno and Marissa Oreta (+). Its main thrust is to help the poor, sick children at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). In 2011, the Hospital Ministry was formed. PGH became part of it, together with Rizal Medical Center managed by the Health Care Ministry and Our Lady of Porziuncola Hospital Inc. in Calbayog, Samar, managed by the Franciscan Missionaries, which were added to the list of parish beneficiaries.
As a volunteer for PGH, Steve would actively look for donors among his family, friends and business partners, to be able to supply the medicines that the children needed, especially when the ministry was not yet subsidized by the parish. He also recruited others to join the ministry. He organized activities for the children and their families in PGH, such as the mass baptism, healing mass, Flores de Mayo, living rosary in October, Stations of the Cross during Holy Week, among others, which continue to be done today.
Steve was also a member of other SSAP ministries such as the Order of Franciscan Seculars (OFS) and became chair of the prison ministry. He also helped other foundations outside the parish like Hospitalier de San Juan de Dios in Bocaue, Bulacan and Bahay Puso in Bataan.
He did not just limit his ministry work within the parish or foundations he was involved in, but also incorporated it in his business. He hired the students in his Bible Study Group in Mulawin to work with him in his arts and crafts business. He also involved his nephew, Gerardo Limcauco, in his outreach work. Mr. Limcauco continues to support the Hospital Ministry today.
According to Marrot Moreno, “Steve’s heart and soul was in PGH.” He would fund activities for the patients and go the extra mile to interview the family of the patients and even invite them to his farm in Bataan, where he usually spends in weekends.
According to Nimfa Dumago, who he has worked with from the time he became active in the parish, “Steve is down-to-earth. He lived simply. He shared his wealth with the needy. He would go on home visits and give money out of his own pocket to the families of the patients. He told me that when he joined the ministry, he learned to deal with the less fortunate. He learned to become humble.”
Steve is truly an exemplar of Franciscan poverty. He shared his time and material wealth with so many people. We too are called to share as much as we can because nothing is of our own. As recipients of countless blessings, we are entrusted with the responsibility to share our gifts with as many people as we can in God’s name.
Interviews: Marrot Moreno, head of Social Services Ministry, SSAP
Nimfa Dumago, SSAP social worker
As published in the January 15 issue of the Parish Bulletin.