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Who Is Ateneo’s Padre Roque And What Was His Legacy In The University?

Fr. Roque Ferriols, SJ would have turned 97 on August 16.

On Sunday, during the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, sad news came for the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) community. In the morning of August 15, the University announced through their Facebook page that Father Roque Angel Jamias Ferriols SJ had passed away.

“Dr Leo Garcia has just sent word that at 12:24am, August 15, 2021, on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, our dearest Fr Roque Angel Jamias Ferriols SJ passed on to eternal life,” their post read. (Read: Meet Msgr. Rudy Villanueva, A Celebrated Musician and Writer)

Fr. Roque, lovingly known as Padre Roque to members of the Ateneo community, was 96 years old. He would’ve turned 97 on August 16.

Philosophy trailblazer

Photos from Ateneo de Manila University

Padre Roque was the person behind the establishment of the Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy program in the University. He also promoted the teaching of Philosophy in the Filipino language, with the Ateneo website saying, he “can be credited with almost single-handedly promoting the teaching of philosophy in Filipino.”

After returning to the Philippines from New York–where he finished his doctorate degree–Padre Roque taught philosophy at Berchmans College in Cebu for three years. He then returned to ADMU, where he served as the chair of the Department of Philosophy. That’s when he established the AB Philosophy program which saw its first graduates in 1966, including 2003 National Artist for Theater and Design, Salvador F. Bernal.

Promoting the Filipino language

MINDS MOLDED. Students of Fr Roque Ferriols, SJ, visit him during his 83rd birthday in August 2007. (Photo from Henson Wongaiham/Rappler)

In 1969, Padre Roque began to teach Filipino in an attempt to ‘Filipinize’ the University. It was initially discouraged by the school’s administration, but students continued to enroll in his classes. And now, almost half of all Philosophy classes of the Department of Philosophy are taught in Filipino, thanks to Padre Roque and his efforts. (Read: Here Are Pope Francis’s Jobs Before He Became A Priest)

Because of this, Padre Roque was also able to translate several books. “Mga Sinaunang Griyego, a translation of selected texts from the Pre-Socratics to Aristotle; Magpakatao, a collection he edited, containing translations of texts exploring the theme of being human; and his original writings Pambungad sa Metapisika and Pilosopiya ng Relihiyon,” were four books he published.

These four published books earned him National Book Awards from the Manila Critics’ Circle. The Ateneo de Manila University also awarded him with the Gawad Tanglaw ng Lahi in 1989.

Padre Roque was a beloved professor in the University for over 40 years.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. 

Rest in peace, Padre Roque. 


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