Celebrating the Extraordinary in the Ordinary: JesCom’s “The Miracle of the Ordinary” Thanksgiving Event



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August 4, 2023—In a heartfelt gathering that resonated with gratitude and inspiration, Jesuit Communications Foundation (JesCom) celebrated the remarkable journey of its 2021 publication, “The Miracle of the Ordinary,” authored by JesCom Associate Director, Fr. Ro Atilano, SJ. The momentous thanksgiving event took place on Friday evening, August 4, 2023, at the Jaime Cardinal Sin Center, Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University.

“The Miracle of the Ordinary” has undeniably made its mark as one of JesCom Publications’ bestsellers, with over 5,000 copies sold since its release two years ago. The book’s significance was further acknowledged when it clinched the prestigious Best Book in Homiletics award at the 16th Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Awards in 2022.

Photos courtesy of Roma Escaner

The event was graced by the presence of esteemed guests, friends, and colleagues, hosted by Dr. Mhir Delos Santos, Director of the Office for Mission and Identity (OMI) of the Ateneo de Manila University. It was a bittersweet evening as the celebration marked not only the success of the book but also a temporary departure of Fr. Ro Atilano, SJ from his duties as JesCom Associate Director for further studies in the U.K. The event was even more special as it was live-streamed on Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM’s Facebook page as a farewell episode of “The Parable Café,” Fr. Ro’s weekly radio program.

The evening’s program, guided by Dr. Delos Santos, unfolded with a captivating opening prayer song, “I Long For You,” beautifully sung by Rey Malipot from the Jesuit Music Ministry. It paved the way for the opening remarks and author’s introduction, which were delivered with deep warmth and insight by Fr. Philip Yohan, SJ, and Fr. JunG Bargayo, SJ. Both speakers are close friends of Fr. Ro, sharing anecdotes of their shared journey as Jesuits and highlighting the milestones that brought them together.

Fr. Philip Yohan, SJ, revealed that some of the book’s illustrations were provided by him, showcasing his collection of doodle artworks and sketches that reflected his journey alongside Fr. Ro. The drawings held deep significance, depicting moments of reflection, prayer, and the essence of finding miracles in the ordinary.

Fr. JunG Bargayo, SJ, commended Fr. Ro’s dedication, sharing how Fr. Ro touched lives even before becoming a Jesuit through his work in youth ministry. He emphasized how the book beautifully captured the essence of acknowledging God’s miracles in everyday life.

Fr. Ro Atilano, SJ, the heart and soul behind “The Miracle of the Ordinary,” expressed his profound gratitude for the support the book has received. He reminisced, “Exactly two years ago, ‘The Miracle of the Ordinary’ made its soft launch on an episode of Fr. Nono’s ‘The Jesuit Hour’ on Radyo Katipunan. I never thought the book would be the way it is right now.” He thanked the members of the Puhon Initiative Community, an online mass community established during the pandemic, for being the cradle of the book’s development.

The event further witnessed the moving testimonials of reactors and sharers who experienced the transformative power of “The Miracle of the Ordinary.” Atty. Wito Bautista, a member of the Puhon Initiative Community, shared how the book’s theme of gratitude resonated deeply with him.

Sharers Clarice Herrera, Bro. Jeffrey Pocong, SJ, Atty. Dave Aquino, and Monica de Guzman eloquently shared their personal encounters with the book’s wisdom. Bro. Pocong emphasized the book’s message of acknowledging God’s miracles within the ordinary moments of life.

In his closing remarks, Fr. Ro Atilano, SJ, expressed his gratitude to his JesCom family and the transformative journey they undertook together. He said, “I couldn’t believe how beautiful the experience was the past six months with you. I saw how many little miracles transformed into extraordinary miracles. Maraming salamat, at ang puso ko ay puno ng pagmamahal para sa inyo. Thank you, Lord, for seeing the miracle in me.”

The event concluded with a book signing session, giving attendees the opportunity to have their copies personally signed by Fr. Ro Atilano, SJ. Amidst heartfelt exchanges and camaraderie, the “Miracle of the Ordinary” Thanksgiving Event became a testament to the profound impact that authentic reflections can have in embracing the extraordinary in the everyday.