Fr. Pierre T. Tritz, SJ, A lifetime of volunteer service and commitment
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14 September 2016 Fr. Pierre T. Tritz, SJ, A lifetime of volunteer service and commitment

Written by: Kenneth C. Siruelo

The month of September will forever be memorable to the children and youth whose lives were changed for the better by Fr. Pierre T. Tritz, SJ. Fr. Tritz, was born on 19 September 1914 in Bouzonville, France and at a young age of nine (9), he was determined to be a priest so that he may serve the last, the lost and the least of the society. He served as a missionary in China from 1936 to 1948, came to Manila in 1950, acquired a Philippine citizenship in 1974 and lived in the country ever since.

His work in addressing the need to educate the disadvantaged children and the marginalized members of the society which eventually led to the formation of the Educational Research and Development Assistance Foundation or ERDA in 1974, the Foundation for the Assistance to the Hansenites or FAHAN (1978), ERDA Tech in 1993 and the Albert Schweitzer Association – Philippines or ASAP (1995) is well documented. What is not known to many though, is how he has touched the lives of these children and youths who, because of him are now successful professionals and are themselves living a life of service, embracing the vocation and participating in ERDA - led activities such as organizing community oriented programs. Today, more than 850,000 children and youth benefited from the programs of ERDA and ERDA Tech and with more than 1,628 graduates gainfully employed in technical industries.
A believer in the power of volunteerism, Fr. Tritz in collaboration with the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), tapped the expertise of volunteers in ERDA’s projects and activities. In the 80’s, the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) supported ERDA’s livelihood development trainings that provided opportunities for communities to learn sustainable and employable skills. Until recently, ERDA Tech partnered with the Weltwaerts (youth volunteer) Program of the German Government in upgrading its information technology training program.

In 2004, Fr. Tritz led the awardees of the Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) as a Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Awardee for being a tireless leader, innovator, educator and ambassador of international goodwill and for transforming the lives of countless poor and marginalized youths into productive members of the society.

On 10 September 2016 or nine days before his 102nd birthday, Fr. Tritz joined the Almighty Creator. After dedicating forty (40) years of his life giving hope and life to children and the youth through education, it is time to say goodbye to a model of true servant leadership and believer in the power of volunteerism, Fr. Pierre T. Tritz, SJ, a Filipino icon of volunteerism.

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