Fr. Tritz, who gave Pinoy kids a good education, dies at 101
FRENCH-born Jesuit priest, Fr. Pierre T. Tritz, who devoted more than 40 years of his life to the education of poor Filipino children, died on Sept. 10. He was 101.
In 1974, after he turned 60, and alarmed by a study on poor students’ dropout rate, Tritz founded the Educational Research and Development Assistance (Erda) Foundation to help poor but deserving students get a good education.
He renounced his French citizenship to become a naturalized Filipino. His mantra was, “You give children an education, you give them hope.’’
Tritz never looked back. From the initial six beneficiaries of its Operasyon Balik Paaralan, Erda has so far helped over 850,000 youngsters, among them, scavengers, orphans, street children and children in conflict with the law.
Tritz also set up the Erda Technical-Vocational School in the 1990s to provide youngsters with technical training.
Erda works with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, its partners and donors to fulfill its mission.
Tritz also established the Foundation for Assistance to Hansenites and the Albert Schweitzer Association Philippines, which espouses the legal rights of child prisoners.
Tritz felt happiest in the company of children, according to the Erda staff.
Tritz was initially sent on a mission to China from France. But he and the other missionaries were expelled by the communists who had seized China.
He went back to France where he received a telegram from his superior assigning him to the Philippines. He arrived in the Philippines in October 1950 at age 36.
In Manila, he served as a chaplain in hospitals and taught at the Ateneo de Manila University, Araneta University, University of the East and Far Eastern University.
He was born in the village of Heckling-Annexe in Bousonville on Sept. 19, 1914. He joined the French Jesuit Novitiate in Belgium.
His remains lie at the High School Multipurpose Hall of Xavier School in Greenhills, San Juan. Daily Masses are at 8 p.m. The funeral Mass will be on Sept. 14 at 8 a.m. at Mary the Queen Parish across from Xavier School. Interment will follow at the Jesuit Cemetery, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Quezon City.
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