Ateneo’s “Orgullo y Allegria”: Fr. Roseller “Ro” L Atilano, Jr., SJ
Ateneo’s pride and joy, this was how Ateneo de Zamboanga University
President Fr Karel San Juan, SJ, described newly ordained Fr Roseller “Ro” L Atilano, Jr SJ during the reception of Fr
Atilano’s Thanksgiving Mass last June 11, 2017 at the University Church of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus in Salvador campus, La Purisima.
During the Mass which was the first he officiated in
Zamboanga City as a Jesuit Priest, Fr Atilano shared his journey to the priesthood
in his homily. He stated that, “If there is perhaps one word to answer the question why I
wanted to become to a priest, it would be gratitude, gratitude to God for His
unconditional love and mercy.”
In relating his vocation story, he said that, throughout
his life, he would always thank God for blessings he receives. Among his many
graces, Fr Atilano was a scholar all his student life – from grade school to
college, highlighted in 2001 when he graduated magna cum laude and class
valedictorian from AdZU, with a degree in accountacy.
He passed the Certified Public Accountant board
examination on the same year and worked in one of the biggest accounting firms in the country.
Later, he returned to AdZU to teach for one school year, then
served as Financial Analyst at the regional office of the DSWD. Having felt
specially favored and loved, he realized that his “heart desired for something more”.
Looking back at his life, he realizes that it has been in
him all along—the desire of becoming a missionary priest. “It
was a seed at the beginning and then it grew over the years,” he shares. In college, Fr Atilano derived inspiration from two Jesuit fathers, Fr Juan Sanz, SJ and Fr John Chambers, SJ. He says that he saw something in the Jesuit priests that awed and fascinated him that he then wished to have ”it” in him too.
joined the Society of Jesus in 2006. He was ordained to the priesthood last
June 3, 2017 by His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, D.D. at the Oratory
of St. Ignatius, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University. He was
ordained with Fr Harvey Mateo, SJ, who as a regent was assigned to the AdZU-School
of Medicine in 2011-2012; Fr Martin Licup, SJ, and Fr Philip Yohan, SJ.
For his assignment, Fr Atilano will serve as assistant
chaplain of the Philippine Jesuit Prison Service in New Bilibid Prison,