By Kathy Roque
“The seedbed of vocation is the family. It is where vocation is nurtured. But first and foremost, it is a call from God.”
This was Fr. Rolly Agustin’s answer when we asked him about vocations. We had the chance to interview Fr. Rolly on how he came to be a priest. But before anything else, he explained to us first that a person who is “called” has an experience of God, a “religious experience.” This brings about a feeling to follow the call of God.
When asked about his childhood, Fr. Rolly said, “I was not the typical boy who was well-behaved, the type of boy whom you would say would enter the seminary.” He was scolded by his parents because he would always be caught playing even if his duties at home were not yet done. “I was a hustler in tex, rubber band and in tansan,” he fondly recalls. He described himself as a very bold and adventurous boy.
Fr. Rolly’s vocation began when he was in the sixth grade. He recalls wanting to play but had no one to play with because all his friends were in their neighbor’s garage having catechism. It was then that he decided to attend the catechism class.
After that, he felt so restless. When he was about to enter high school, he didn’t want to enter any other school except one where he could become a priest. During that time, he was unaware that such a school – a seminary – existed. He had no relative who was of the religious vocation who could guide him; his parents, for example, were not too involved with the church because they were both busy working.
The time came for the high school entrance examinations but Fr. Rolly refused to take any of them. Because of this, his father decided to talk to their parish priest, who just so happened to know the rector of the Guadalupe Minor Seminary. Fr. Rolly took the entrance exam there, passed, and went on to finish his high school. After graduating, he decided to try a religious congregation.
priestly education pretty much took him from one end of the Philippines to
another. His first year of college was spent at the San Carlos Seminary in
Guadalupe, Makati, while his second to fourth years (Philosophy classes) were
spent at the St. Louis University in Baguio, all the way up in the Cordilleras.
He then took his pre-noviciate at V.Gonzales near the Ateneo in Quezon City,
then his noviciate down south in General Santos City. After one month, Fr.
Rolly decided “to go out,” thinking that he no longer had the vocation having
entered the seminary at the very young age of 12.
Because his father would not give him money to study other courses or start a business, Fr. Rolly landed a job as a high school teacher (at 19 years old). One of his students was his sister, three years his junior.
After three years, Fr. Rolly decided to go back to the seminary. When asked why, he answered, “I was has happy (outside), but something was still lacking.” Indeed, this man, who celebrated his fifteenth year as a priest last January 19, was really destined to be a servant of God, a priest who shepherds God’s people.
Fr. Rolly was, for a long time, the Vocation Director of the Archdiocese of Manila, Philippines. In January 1991, he became prefect at the San Carlos Seminary, a post he held for 5 years. For almost 3 years, he was Spiritual Director of the San Carlos Major Seminary before being assigned chaplain of the Hills Borough Parish. This was his first parish and he was its first parish priest. After being parish priest for 5 years, Fr. Rolly was made Director of the San Carlos Minor Seminary. After 2 years, he was made parish priest of the Presentation of the Child Jesus Parish.
Get the latest articles straight to your inbox - Free!