The passing of The Very Rev. Fr. Charles Edmund Boyce, Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia, has left my family profoundly stricken.
As a former student of Fr. Boyce at the then Don Bosco Polytechnic, now Stella Maris Polytechnic University, his loss is personal on so many levels. During my days as a newly minted college student, Fr. Charles Edmund Boyce was one of the many lecturers under whose tutelage I was privileged to listen.
Fr. Boyce was practical when he taught us Philosophy. His class was always lively as they were interesting to attend. His jovial personality, liberal thoughts, and his unpretentious humility were some of the many reasons students, including me, registered for his course. I never failed to attend.
Fr. Boyce was not a man of few words when he stood before us. He was a researcher who went above and beyond to elaborate on the findings of his research.
He taught a course that studies the general and fundamental questions about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Brimming with youthful exuberance, we were, and there was never a day we—his students—did not have an interesting question for Fr. Boyce.
In the sweet calmness of his voice, he waded through our curiosity with the most practical answers, but with a challenge to continue seeking. For Fr. Boyce, the meaning of life has no end.
He encouraged us to continually seek answers to the existential questions on the whys of our existence, the reasons, the attainment of knowledge, our values, mindset, and language.
And if life would ever leave us at a crossroads to seeking those answers, he reminded us to consult the Sanctified Book of our respective faith. As a Christian, he reminded us especially in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Fr. Boyce’s impact on our lives is his indelible legacy which will never be erased from the sands of time. While his passing is the utmost but yet mundane reminder that life is fleeting and we – his students and congregants – are merely passersby, it is a critical reflection of the temporality of our existence.
According to Brazilian priest and educator, Paulo Freire, to be truly human is to engage with others and the world. Fr. Boyce was very engaging, whether in the classroom or the pulpit. And in other matters as well.
At a time when the St. Joseph Parish was not approving our wedding outdoors, Fr. Boyce personally stepped in and sorted out the kinks. But sadly, he could not attend nor officiate. His blessings to seeing us happy continue to hover daily.
There is no good in goodbye. However, we must part with these words from Julius Caesar and end on this note:
“And whether we shall meet again I know not. Therefore our everlasting farewell take: Forever, and forever, farewell, [trustees]! If we do meet again, why, we shall smile; If not, why then, this parting was well made.”
Adieu, Fr. Charles Edmund Boyce. Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum (The peace of the Lord be with you always).