"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

"More Than Greek To Me": A Tribute to Apo Roque Ferriols SJ [1924-2021]


English translation added on September 2, 2021

N
asurok a dua puluh a tawenen ti napalabas manipud idi dimteng kaniak iti nasged a tarigagay nga agserbi ken Apo Dios a kas religioso iti uneg ti Timpuyog ni Jesus. Tawen dua ribo idi nakipagnaedak idiay Arvisu Jesuit Candidacy House, Loyola Heights Quezon City, tapno amirisen mi nga nalaing ti napateg nga awag ni Apo Dios ken nu daytoy nga awagna ket maiturong iti Timpuyog ni Jesus.

Pinagbasa dakami idiay Ateneo de Manila University iti unos ti maysa a tawen ket ditoy kami nga immuna a nagsarak ken nagamammo ken Apo Roque Ferriols. Kaububingak. Agtawenak laeng iti dua puluh a tawen, ken saan pay nga adu ti nakasarungkar ko nga Heswita. Dimmakelak idiay probinsiya iti Ilocos Sur, ili iti Tagudin ken adayo kadaguiti Heswita. Idi addaak pay laeng iti elementarya, ti immuna a nangimaton kaniak maipanggep iti Timpuyog ni Jesus ket ti Catholic Encyclopedia. Nabasak ti maipanggep iti biag ni Apo San Ignacio de Loyola. Ngem awan iti parokya wenno eskwelaan ti Heswita idiay a nakaidissoananmi. Ni Apo Roque iti maysa kadaguiti immuna nga nangipaneknek kaniak iti pudno a panagbiag iti maysa nga adipen ni Apo San Ignacio.

Kailiplippas ko laeng iti panagkolehiyok idiay Baguio City. Philosophy iti ingraduarko idiay St Louis University nga saan ko pay nga ammo nga ni San Luis ket maysa pay gayam nga Heswita. Tunggal agkalse kami idi idiay Ateneo aglalo iti klase mi ken Apo Roque, ket adda a kanayon mangtignay kaniak. Adda iti sabsabali kenkuana nga makatalokatik. Saan laeng maipanggep kadaguiti "Sinaunang Griyego" nga insursuro na kadakami nu di ket nangnangruna unay maipanggep iti napakumbaba nga kabibiagna a kas religioso. Kinunak iti bagbagik idi "Adda maipanggep ken Apo Roque Ferriols!" "More than Greek to me!" ken agingana ita, urayman naileppasen ti naindagaan a panagbiag na, taltalokatikenak latta ditoy kaunggan ti barukongko.

Nabisitak pay laeng ni Apo Roque sakbay iti pandemia. Nakamisaak idiay Jesuit Health and Wellness Center nga pagnanaedanna. Saanak a nakabisitan sakbay a pimmusay ni Apo Roque. Managlaglagip isuna kadaguiti estudyante na ken gagayemmna. Kinablaawannak daytoy laeng napalabas a tawen iti uneg ti pandemia. Inpakaamo kaniak daguiti novices mi nga napan idiay Wellness Center nga nagserbi ken nakipagnaed kadakuada. Maysa daytoy a programa iti unos dua a tawen kas nobisyado iti Sacred Heart Novitiate. Intiro't ragsak ko iti panangandingay ni Apo Roque kaniak iti panawen iti didigra ken gapu ta saanak a naliplipatan.

Apo Roque, iyebbkas ko iti dakkel a panagyaman ko kenka aglalo unay iti maysa a naisangsangayan ken nasudi unay nga padas idi addaak pay idiay Arvisu House. Bulan iti Oktubre 2000 napan kam amin idiay Tagaytay tapno ag-silent retreat kami iti uneg iti makalawas idiay Canossa House of Spirituality. Saan ko a maliplipatan daydi nga aldaw nga nagkararagak iti immatang daguiti banbantay ket nasirpatak iti nalitnaw a pananganninaw iti imatang ni Apo Dios a Nailangitan. Iti dayta nga sirmata ket nakitak iti langam ken daguiti kabunggoymo nga Heswita. Sika iti kangrunaan a nailangaak. Kalpasan daydi lima nga aldaw a naispirituan a panagwatwat nakangngeddengak nga bumuyogak iti timpuyogyo.

Agyamanak iti dakkel Apo Roque, ni Apo Dios iti nangiparang kenka kaniak idi mariribukannak pay laeng nu sadino iti pagturongak nga biag. Daguiti panawen ti panagkedkedko, sika ken iti inpakitam kaniak iti nasegged a nakaguyugoy kaniak. Agyamanak iti napateg unay a pagwadan nga inburay mo kadami babaen iti panagbiagmo a napanglaw, nadalus ken natudio a kabunggoy ni Apo Jesus. Agyamanak iti saan mo a pananglilipat kaniak ken panangikarkararagmo kaniak. Sapay koma ta maturpos ko met a kas kenka daytoy a sagot ti panagbiag. Danggayannak man Apo Roque ita nga iyebkas ko manen daguitoy napateg unay a balikas tayo iti Timpuyog ni Jesus.

"Mannakabalin ken agnanayon a Dios, siak ni Jose Mari Francisco Ignacio Valdez Manzano, numan pay awan a pulos kaikariak iti nadiosan nga immatang Mo, ngem sitatalekak iti di agsarday a kinaimbag ken kinamannangaasim ken iti pannakatignay ko nga agtarigagay nga agserbi Kenka, iti sanguanan iti nasantoan unay a Birhen Maria ken ti kadagupan ti nailangitan a saklang Mo, ikarik iti Nadiosan a Kinadaeg Mo ti agnanayon a kinapanglaw, kinadalus ken kinatudio iti uneg ti Timpuyog ni Jesus; ken ikarik nga sumrekakto ditoy isu met laeng a Timpuyog tapno maiturong ti unos ti biagko ditoy, apaman pannakaawatko iti amin a banag kas mayannutop iti Paglintegan na. Iti kasta iyun-unnoyko ti umararaw dita mangnibinibi a Kinaimbag ken Kinadungngom, babaen iti dara ni Jesucristo, tapno Ingka ipangag nga awaten daytoy a daton iti ayamuom ti kinasam-it; ket kas iti panangited Mo kaniak iti grasia a mangtarigagay ken mangisagut iti daytoy, ngarud Inka met ipaay kaniak ti nawadwad a grasya para iti pannakaitungpalna. Amen" (Ilocano translation of the Jesuit Vow Formula). Fr JM Manzano SJ


ENGLISH


It has been more than twenty years already since I started having an authentic desire to enter the religious life within the Society of Jesus. Year two thousand was a yearlong stay in Arvisu Jesuit Candidacy House, Loyola Heights Quezon City to discern fully well God’s call to me and if such a call was guiding me to enter the Society of Jesus.
We enrolled at the Ateneo de Manila University during that whole year and that was the time when I first met and was introduced to Fr Roque Ferriols SJ. I was young. At age twenty years old, I did not know many Jesuits yet. I grew up in the province of Ilocos Sur, municipality of Tagudin, which is far from the reach of the Jesuits. When I was still in grade school, the first to lead me into the Society of Jesus was the Catholic Encyclopedia. I read there about the life of St Ignatius of Loyola. But I did not encounter any school or parish under the Jesuits at that time. It was Fr Roque who first made a strong impression on me as regards the life of a son of St Ignatius.

I just finished my bachelor degree in Baguio City. I took up Philiosophy at St Louis University which I did know yet at that time that St Louis was a Jesuit.

Every time we went to class already at the Ateneo de Manila, I was always eager to be back to studies again. There was always something in Fr Roque that inspired me. It was not only about the interesting stories of the early Greek philosophers which he taught us but his own religious way of life which was one of humble witnessing. I told myself, "There is something about Fr Roque Ferriols!" "More than Greek to me!" and until now, even if his life on earth has ended, he continues to inspire me deep inside.

I was still able to visit Fr Roque before the outbreak. I celebrated the Holy Eucharist at the Jesuit Health and Wellness Center where he was residing. I was not able to visit again before he passed on. He was very thoughtful towards his students, friends and brother Jesuits. He sent me his kind regards just last year within the pandemic period. He relayed his message to me through our novices who had their monthlong exposure at the Wellness Center, living with and serving them. I was so happy to know how Fr Roque accompanied me through the difficult times with his kind remembrance.

Fr Roque, allow me to express my deepest gratitude to you for one precious and intimate experience I had when I was still a candidate in Arvisu House. It was the month of October 2000 when we went to Tagaytay City for a weeklong silent discernment retreat at Canossa House of Spirituality. I have never forgotten that day when in my prayer overlooking the Tagaytay mountain ridges, I saw in my mind the presence of God with your face visibly being shown to me. You were with other Jesuit companions but you were the only one whom I recognized. After that religious experience, I said my fiat (be it done) to finally apply to your Society of Jesus.

I am very grateful to you Fr Roque, for it was God who showed your face to me when I was still confused as to where I should lead my life. In those times when I was resisting, you and your inspiring life attracted me greatly. Thank you for the invaluable example you have shown through your humble witnessing: a life of poverty, chastity and obedience in the company of Jesus. I thank you for never forgetting to pray for me. I hope that I will also be able to accomplish this gift of life just as you have accomplished. Accompany me now Fr Roque as I pronounce once again these precious words of ours as the Society of Jesus.
Almighty and eternal God, I, Jose Mari Francisco Ignacio Valdez Manzano, understand how unworthy I am in your divine sight. Yet I am strengthened by your infinite compassion and mercy, and I am moved by the desire to serve you. I vow to your divine Majesty, before the most holy Virgin Mary and the entire heavenly court, perpetual chastity, poverty, and obedience in the Society of Jesus. I promise that I will enter this same Society to spend my life in it forever. I understand all these things according to the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. Therefore, by your boundless goodness and mercy, and through the blood of Jesus Christ, I humbly ask that you judge this total commitment of myself acceptable. And as you have freely given me the desire to make this offering, so also may you give me the abundant grace to fulfill it.

Comments

  1. Thank you Fr. Jom! You are blessed to have Fr. Roque as part of your vocational journey. God will always send us persons who will inspire and guide us to be drawn more closer to Him and do His will. I can attest to that! Prayers assured for you and for the eternal rest of Fr. Roque. God bless!

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    1. Thank you especially for the prayers. God bless us!

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  2. I was deeply touched by your message, for being so expressive of your feelings and gratitude toward someone who played a great part in your life... Indeed a beautiful example of humility and sincerity I will bring and keep in my heart... Thank you, for expressing it into writing, for nowadays, rarely we can hear such heartfelt words... And for revealing a part of you with us, your readers...
    Now, I am reflecting upon my gratefulness for all those persons who guided me in the same path you are right now - religious life... I constantly pray for all the Priests and in a special manner for you... God bless... Ingat po kayo palagi...
    :')

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    1. Thank you for your sharing! Indeed words flow naturally especially when it is from a person's heart where heartfelt words are born! GBU!

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