20th Anniversary of Rufus Halley

On August 28, the Missionary Society of St. Columban commemorated the 20th death anniversary of Fr. Rufus “Popong” Halley, a man best known for his decades of work promoting peace and dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

20th Anniversary of Rufus Halley 

Daniella

by Daniella Clemente, Assistant Editor 

On August 28, the Missionary Society of St. Columban commemorated the 20th death anniversary of Fr. Rufus “Popong” Halley, a man best known for his decades of work promoting peace and dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

rufus 1

Through a virtual session, Columban missionaries and Father Popong’s friends from all over the Philippines, attended a mass presided by Most. Rev. Edwin A. de la Pena, MSP, DD at Sto. Tomas de Vilanueva Parish, Maria Cristina, Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

Rufus

After the Mass, a video footage was shown wherein the Columbans in Cagayan De Oro, led by Fr. Jovito Dales, gathered around the final resting place of Father Popong, in the Divine Shepherd Memorial Garden, to offer a prayer. It was followed by a sharing of short stories that encapsulated the kindness and goodwill of the late missionary priest.

Father Popong once said “God is one, and whether you are a Christian or a Muslim or a Lumad or a Hindu, whatever, He is the one who has made us all. He wants us, as our loving Father, to love one another.” In his lifetime, he strived to build bridges where no one dares to wade across, and the people of Malabang, Lanao Del Sur know that all too well.

In a video message, Ustadj Ibrahim Abusalman shared how Father Popong initiated efforts to settle family feuds in their area. Emelia Potane expressed how grateful she is to the Halley family for her life, that she named her son, “Rufus.”

Venus Guibone, Father Popong’s close friend, remarked that in light of all the conflicts raging today in different parts of the world, a man like him is just what the world needs today. He may be gone, but she feels his presence during dire situations, like a beacon reminding her to continuously hope.  

Two decades have passed, and yet his meaningful work in interreligious dialogue continues to make a mark, almost as if his memory is a tangible thing. Time will pass, but his legacy will live on. Thanks to the people whose lives he touched, for they will always remember.