Born in the Philippines on August 18, 1930, Larry was the second of eight children. He moved to Manila, earned his law degree and worked at the Civil Registrar of Manila to help pay for his siblings’ schooling. On May 30, 1957, he married Bibiana and with her they raised 7 beautiful children, 5 boys and 2 girls. A hectic period of activities and work followed. In his diary, Larry wrote, “Despite having a nice family, a good profession and a stable income, I ultimately saw myself becoming empty.” To fill this void, Larry joined various Catholic religious organizations. But it was in June of 1964 that he met Fr. Tashner, S.V.D. who introduced Larry to the Ideal. With this newfound life, Larry tried to instill in his children the values of self-giving and community-building at any age. His personal encounter with God’s love propelled him to spread the Ideal to various cities of the Philippines, sharing experiences of living the Gospel in his daily workplace and family. Many vocations to the Church were born. He placed his competence as a lawyer at the service of the poor who came to him for legal help, seeing Christ in each person regardless of his/her background.
It was this faith in God’s love that sustained him when he had to move his family to the U.S. in 1981 to find a more secure life for them, away from the persecution he experienced as a result of fighting the corruption he encountered in his workplace. His commitment to his family was put to the test when he left behind his career to become a simple accounting clerk. In time, Larry was also able to concretely serve countless citizens through his work as a local city commissioner.
The family immersed itself in the life of the movement in their new home. Larry, struck by a talk Chiara gave on “the family”, while on her visit to Mariapolis Luminosa in 1986, shared with her the story of his family. She responded with a “word of life” for their family, “Love one another intensely from a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22). In this atmosphere of love, several of the children discovered their call to follow God as focolarini, married focolarini and volunteers, as well as many grandchildren who live the gen life.
Larry had a constant longing for wisdom and light. In his focolare his concrete love was both paternal and fraternal and he contributed in a consistent way to maintaining the spiritual presence of Jesus. He had the stability of a majestic old oak tree. One popo described him, “When I think of Larry I think of his joyful nature. He was a joyful person and he radiated that joy to everyone around him.”
Larry received a new name from Chiara, “Amato”, and a new word of life, “Jesus, looking on him, loved him.” (Mark 10:21)
During a school for married focolarinos in 1995, Larry re-consecrated himself to Jesus Forsaken and declared, “I want to give myself completely to God, in unity with Chiara, the Work of Mary and my Focolare. I pray to God that I shall remain faithful to this promise for the rest of my life here on earth.”
Larry certainly lived this promise faithfully to the end and we give gratitude to God for his life and very fruitful legacy, assured that he is welcomed into paradise with, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come, share your master’s joy.”(Mt 25:23)