Thursday, April 03, 2008

Agdi Allam, a Bosconian and a Christian

I learned about the conversion of the then Muslim journalist Agdi Allam from the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI). No less than Pope Benedict XVI baptized him—together with five others—during the Easter Vigil Mass at the Vatican. Syndicated through AFP, the story landed on a front page of PDI.

I never gave much attention about the journalist-Catholic convert until I heard from Bishop Buzon that Allam was a Bosconian.

I checked my e-mail and backtracked to the March 24 online issue of Zenit and realized that he was a boarder in the Institute of Don Bosco when he was a junior high school. He wrote that the school transmitted to him “not only the science of knowledge but above all the awareness of values.”

In his account of his conversion to Catholicism, he thanked the Don Pascual Chavez (the rector major of the Salesians) and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (Vatican Secretary of State, also a Salesian!) among others, who played an important role in his conversion.

In his baptism, he took "the simplest and most explicit Christian name: 'Cristiano.'"