UNTIL his last days, love for writing preoccupied the late Fr. Edgardo “Edd” Lleva of the Diocese of Malolos, staying true to his vocation of spreading the Word of God.

Lleva, who passed away at 65 last May 24 due to cardiac arrest, served as the Varsitarian’s Filipino editor in 1974. He studied theology at the Ecclesiastical Faculties from 1971 to 1975.

His monthly column for the Varsitarian, titled “Psst…atbp.” tackled university issues and student concerns written in a comical and conversational manner. The articles, which had numbers as titles, occasionally involved philosophical musings and biblical terms.

In the 85th anniversary magazine of the Varsitarian published in 2013, Lleva wrote how studying in UST helped develop his writing as well as his priestly vocation.

“Ang UST ang pinakamahalagang bahagi sa aking buhay sapagka't dito ko natapos ang pag-aaral sa tawag ng Panginoon, ang pagka-pari at dito ko nabuo ang biyaya ng Diyos bilang isang manunulat sa pagpapahayag ng katotohanan,” Lleva wrote in the magazine.

Having a natural flair for scriptwriting, Lleva, who was a member of the Scriptwriter's Institute of the Philippines during his stay at the University, was able to produce three plays— “Ang Kura ng Santo Tomas,” “Mina sa Lusak,” “Ginto sa Putik,” and “Ang Obispo.”

In 2005, Lleva released his book titled Ngayon ay Bukas ng Kahapon, a collection of literary works, opinion articles, letters from friends, and personal stories that appeared in various publications like the Asian Journal in California, Celebrity World Magazine, The Star News and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) publication, the CBCP Monitor.

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In the foreword for Lleva’s book, Msgr. Hernando Coronel, former rector of the San Carlos Seminary in Makati, said Lleva's writings “guides others to experience God.”

“Fr. Edd's literary output is an attempt to search for the light of truth out of nothingness. He uses the pen as an instrument of God's peace amidst hate, oppression and inhumanity,” Coronel wrote.

In 2009, Lleva became a columnist for Pilipino Star Ngayon.

Coincidentally, his last piece for his column “Glorify Thy Name” in Pilipino Star Ngayon was published last May 24, with the title, “Shalom” meaning “peace” in Hebrew. The article centered on the Pentecost, the birth of Christianity and the commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit among the apostles.

Ronnie Halos, a columnist and Lleva’s colleague in Pilipino Star Ngayon, said Lleva's last column summarized his life. His gift of writing and clarity of thought assisted in his mission of spreading the message of God, he added.

“Fr. Lleva used his skill in the Filipino language to speak about the Word of God. He has readers not only from the Philippines but other countries like Hong Kong, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The lesson and biblical references are easily understood because his writing is very clear and descriptive,” Halos said in an email to the Varsitarian.

Lleva was known for his humorous writing style during his university days, As a priest, however, Lleva is remembered for his serious demeanor.

Gerry Roxas, sacristan mayor at the San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan where Lleva worked as spiritual director in the 1981, said the late priest had a no-nonsense attitude.

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“He was very strict, maybe because of his condition [then]. But during Mass and in readings, Fr. Ed always saw to it that things were in order or on time,” Roxas said in a phone interview with the Varsitarian.

Lleva was born on July 14, 1951. He was ordained to priesthood in his hometown of Sariaya, Quezon. In 1984, Lleva moved to the United States and became a chaplain for the US Army in Oklahoma until 1989.

In 2006, he was assigned to the Diocese of Malolos and has since been a guest priest at the Fatima Church in Marilao, Bulacan. Lleva's cremated remains were interred at the Ever Memorial Garden in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

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