A benevolent calling: Fr. Celiz and his vocation for service

A benevolent calling: Fr. Celiz and his vocation for service

Some people are born into a calling. It may come in a dream profession or a way of life. For Fr. Eduardo Celiz, it was a vocation of priesthood.

Born in a little town in San Miguel, Iloilo, Eduardo Celiz recalled his modest upbringing.

He stated: “I was the eldest in my family, and we weren’t rich. In fact, I studied at a public school until I was recruited in a seminary when I was in high school. From the ripe age of 12, I moved to a far away place, to San Carlos City in Negros Occidental, just to pursue my studies. It was hard to be ripped away from my family.”

In college, Fr. Celiz attended a seminary in Baguio City that immersed him fully in the values of the Recoletos system. He became an ordained priest in 1991.

Fr. Celiz recalled in hindsight that he wasn’t the poster boy for apt excellence in his academics. But what brought him to his position currently as the newly elected president of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) here in Cebu was his perseverance and personal mission to do good by others.

He also admitted that in his first assignment, which happened to be in USJ-R, he was a reserved and shy rookie priest. He had a hard time relating to the young students when he was assigned to be a campus minister. With the help of the campus ministry, he was able to easily adjust.

There were times Fr. Celiz questioned his own calling. He would think, “Is this the right thing for me? Should I really be here?” These doubts were snuffed out by his belief in the Recoletos system. The university’s apostolate education has always been a driving force in Fr. Celiz’s cause.

“I also think the passion to serve is what grounds me to move forward,” he imparted.

As the newly elected president of USJ-R, he has his heart set out on maintaining the quality of apostolate education the university is known for.

“I hope I can leave USJ-R, as we celebrate 75 years of apostolate education, to be more relevant in the community—wherein we could become a helping hand to society. As a legacy, I hope our institution will maintain its apostolic mission in sharing the love of God to others.”

Outside of his work, Fr. Celiz shared that he was into physical activities like playing ball games and exercising. “As we grow old, we need to maintain our health and do some exercise.”

Aside from having an active lifestyle, Fr. Celiz is also inclined in planting trees. “I don’t engage in hobbies simply to pass my time. I think to myself, this isn’t for me, but this is for others; this is for the future generations.”

Fr. Eduardo Celiz is a testament that living a life that is dedicated to others is a fulfilling one to live. It is in lending a hand to others that we see the true meaning of life—that isn’t meant to be lived alone.


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