Fr. Tritz: Sincere Friend of Humanity — A Glimpse on the Extraordinary Mission of a French Priest

by Bernadette Gimena, Feature Editor, ET Pen Pushers Guild

Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of certain types of people, from all ages, are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, and research.

Many years ago, our community received one of God’s best blessings. A heaven-sent who unselfishly and willingly helped the needy particularly the disadvantaged youth. He, who whole-heartedly served others, chose his personal goals and purposes in life rather than all the worldly possessions.  He, who was ready to sacrifice and do everything just for the sake of his own mission rather than for his own wants. That is, Father Pierre Tritz, SJ.

Fr. Pierre Tritz, SJ, a French-born Jesuit priest was born on September 19, 1914 in Bouzonville, in the Lorraine region of eastern France. He was an unexpected missionary here in the Philippines who joined the Society of Jesus in order to serve people in China during the 1930’s. After almost 12 years of being a servant of God in the said country, he underwent a series of trainings in France in 1950. Unfortunately, he did not get a chance to come back to China due to the communist take-over. As providence would have it, Fr. Tritz finally found himself here in Manila.

After serving two years as an administrator in the seminary, he served as a professor for a while in the University of Araneta. He completed his Master’s degree in Psychology then started to teach and share his knowledge in two renowned universities: Far Eastern University and the University of the East.

In the year 1985, with his extraordinary zeal and concern for people, he learned that most of the students in public schools did not have the means or capacity to finish schooling and pursue their studies. At that point, there were many thoughts and realizations that went on in his mind for he was so worried and alarmed. And because of that, he stopped being a teacher and continued to help the out-of-school youth.

He then established ERDA Foundation in 1974 and started with only six students, but to date, it has humongously grown to thousands of children. This foundation acted as a vehicle for every child to continue their way of life by helping the poor Filipinos to have a better future.

It was in 1993 when ERDA Technical and Vocational Secondary School was also established and had been making great waves and strides in changing, yet improving its standards in academic and technical education. Other than these two keys of success he built, he also founded the Foundation for the Assistance to the Hansenities (FAHAN) and Albert Schweitzer Association Philippines (ASAP) which are also foundations and programs that help those unprivileged youth.

He had a hard time travelling to some countries to ask for funds from the sponsors, but he wrote letters each and every single day of the week just to continue and pursue his cause for the children or youth. These funds are mostly initiated for the school although there are some that are offered to the other foundations. ERDA Tech is known for its vocational courses that provide technical skills and knowledge thus making them qualified and employable without even having the need to pursue college because of financial reasons.

On his 99 years of existence, Fr. Pierre Tritz S.J. is considered as one of the people in the society who is very much aware on both his privileges and liabilities. His foremost duty is his loyalty to his purposes in changing one’s hopeless life. He has always been firm in his actions and has a deep faith in the welfare of his society. He is a sincere friend of humanity. Through his courage, confidence, motivation, perseverance, bravery, and purity for his missions in life, he altered many lives of youth for he offered and is still offering his blessed helping hands that make a substantial contribution in the modern society.

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