MANILA -- After going viral on social media because of his good looks, Fr. Ferdinand Santos was quick to downplay the praises he received, explaining that only Christ deserves a fan club.
The Catholic priest became a hot topic recently after San Beda University Law Dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino posted a picture of Santos, whom he admires for giving up the rectorship at St. John Vianney Seminary in Florida to work in depressed parishes in the Philippines.
“This is Fr. Ferdinand Santos. I am posting this because I am in awe of him. We met while he was student at the Catholic University of Louvain and I was a post-doctoral research fellow there. He and I were in the classes of Prof. Jan van der Veken on Process Metaphysics,” Aquino said in his post.
“Aside from holding a PhD in philosophy, he is a licensed fitness instructor! Amazing. But even more amazing is that he gave up the prestigious position of Rector of St. John Vianney Seminary in Florida that has both philosophy and faculty theologies to return to the Philippines to work in depressed parishes.”
Through a series of social media posts, Santos tried to control the sudden attention he is receiving, sharing a story about their calling as messengers of the Gospel.
According to him, he chose to become a priest to live a life that would bring him closer to God. He said life was “one lived in simplicity, faithfulness, and brotherhood with everyone.”
While he once considered pursuing different paths like a lawyer and doctor, Santos decided to walk a "simpler" life.
“I decided I wanted a simpler life, a kinder, gentler life that would bring me peace and communion with God and my neighbor. And so I chose the seminary over the university, and put my whole being into responding to God’s invitation,” he said.
In the lengthy post, he stressed that only God should receive all the attention from the public, explaining that the words of praise belong to the higher Being.
“This is also why I kept telling you while we were together, that only Christ deserves to have a ‘fan club.’ People will naturally find us ‘attractive’ in many different ways. Many priests and seminarians after all are kind, gentle, and caring. Many of us are good speakers, and not a few are actually good looking,” Santos said.
“The thing is, while there’s nothing wrong in receiving their praise and admiration (and we should learn to say ‘thank you’ sincerely, by the way, whenever we are appreciated), we also shouldn’t forget that those words of praise do not primarily belong to us. They are first and foremost directed to Christ, not to ourselves.”
In another post, Santos said a priest belongs to Christ and does not belong to the world. According to him, they are called and “have responded to the invitation,” with Christ alone as their sole companion.
Santos is in the Philippines for a month now but had to stay in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. He finished his mandated quarantine last August 22.