“They are God’s flock not yours”

Four Jesuits from the Philippine Province were ordained on June 3 at the Oratory of St Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola House of Studies. Fr Roseller L Atilano SJ, Fr Martin A Licup SJ, Fr Harvey C Mateo SJ and Fr Felipe B Yohan Jr SJ were ordained by His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila.

In his homily, Cardinal Tagle reminded them that as priests, they need to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd who is Jesus Christ. “You are not supposed to replace the Good Shepherd. You are there to be bearers of his Good News,” said the Cardinal, adding that the love of the Good Shepherd is all encompassing and universal. “He will be a shepherd to the sinners, to the people of ill repute, to the outcasts. He is the one who can give the world the shepherding love that we all need.”

As stewards of God’s flock, he told the newly ordained, they should be good examples to the flock.  He also reminded them not to forget that they are also part of the flock, and that they must always follow the Good Shepherd.

Philippine Province Ordination 2017“Pride destroys servants, pride ruins leaders, pride ruins obedience. Be good examples of Christian discipleship,” Cardinal Tagle said.

In his speech at the end of the ceremony, Philippine Jesuit Provincial Fr Antonio Moreno thanked the families of the new priests for offering their sons to the Church and the Society of Jesus. “As we all know, the seeds of our vocation are planted in the family,” he said.

The new priests come from varied backgrounds.

Fr Atilano is an accountant by profession. He hails from Zamboanga City and is an alumnus of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University. Before joining the Jesuit candidacy programme in Arvisu House 12 years ago, he practised and taught accounting. Prior to ordination he was the director of the Province’s Jesuit Music Ministry. He has been assigned as the assistant director of the Philippine Jesuit Prison Service in the New Bilibid Prisons Reservation in Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila.

Fr Yohan, an architect, also joined the Jesuit candidacy programme in Arvisu House 12 years ago. He worked in Brunei Darussalam for years before joining the Society of Jesus. He has been assigned to the parish in Miarayon, Bukidnon, as assistant parish priest.

Fr Licup is an organizational communication graduate of De La Salle University Manila. He managed a preschool before joining the Jesuit candidacy programme in 2005. He has been assigned to serve as assistant chaplain of the Philippine General Hospital Chaplaincy.

Philippine Province Ordination 2017

Fr Mateo is a medical doctor. He finished his psychology degree at the University of the Philippines- Diliman and proceeded to UP-Philippine General Hospital for medical school. He was doing further medical training in Houston when he decided to join the Jesuits in 2006. He has been assigned to St Isidore High School, a parochial school in Zamboanguita, Bukidnon, where he will serve as the school director.

Reflecting on the grace of ordination, Fr Mateo wrote, “It is by God’s mercy that I have been given this vocation and it is through his mercy that I shall be able to participate in his unfolding plan for me and for the people I shall be serving. In addition, I pray for the humble and discerning heart of a good shepherd who not only knows his sheep and stays with them, but also listens and learns from the God who also dwells in them.” 

Main image: (L-R) Fr Harvey Mateo SJ, Fr Roseller Atilano SJ, His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Fr Felipe Yohan Jr SJ, and Fr Martin Licup SJ