By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published March 29, 2012
During the past months, The Georgia Bulletin has profiled the new college and high school chaplains in the Atlanta Archdiocese.
Father Diosmar Natad, 45, serves the Catholic students at Emory University and Agnes Scott College. His first undergraduate degree was in chemical engineering. Later he went on to study philosophy in seminary and earn two graduate degrees in theology. He speaks four languages.
The sports-loving Philippine native said he sees a faith alive among the students and faculty.
He was ordained in 2004 at the Cathedral of Christ the King and has served in several parishes since. He became the chaplain in the fall of 2011.
Father Natad answered a few questions via email from The Georgia Bulletin about his current ministry.
What do you most enjoy about serving as college chaplain?
It is with great excitement to serve the University Catholic Center at Emory. Being with students reminded me of my college days as I enjoy the energy and enthusiasm of young people. The campus setting is a great venue to grow both mind and heart, and students are taking advantage to learn more skills and knowledge by participating in many campus activities and things that would help their future career.
However, in spite of a hectic day, I can still see the joy and laughter among students, the rich intellectual bearing, and the profound faith that thrives even in a busy campus and secular environment.
How do you see your job of a school chaplain in a non-Catholic setting?
There is a growing group of international students at Emory University, and the Catholic Center is so blessed to have students from different backgrounds and cultures.
Being aware of the diversity of students on the campus, we aim to understand how we can best reach the uniqueness of each student and culture.
I believe that recognizing the different background and culture of each student allows the University Catholic Center to celebrate the richness of diversity.
What role did your college chaplain play in your faith life?
My university had an annual vocation week that allowed priests and nuns to visit from one classroom to another and encourage students to discern for priesthood or religious life. It was one of the posters on the campus that caught my attention.
It says, “Are you restless?” and the next line, “Do you want to be a priest?” that triggered my vocation to priesthood.
Father Jun Saladaga was not the school chaplain, but he was the one who mentored and helped me to find my way to Christ the King Seminary.
Many of the students are listening to the music of artists like Beyoncé, Drake, Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne. Who were you listening to when you were in college?
Music is one of my favorite things to do aside from celebrating the Holy Sacraments. I can play guitar and sing sometimes, and have been involved in different music engagements like choir concerts, and recently the “Fabulous Fathers Talent Show.”
I have no particular music artist to follow, but I like to listen to classic songs, pop songs and country. I like to play tennis, billiards, and bowling and watching sports like soccer and basketball.