By Joe Holden

PHILADELPHIA CBS)–The stories and memories of Fr. Bill Atkinson go on at his beloved Monsignor Bonner High School.

“I saw him every day. He came in the office first,” recounts Marge Roccio, secretary to the school’s principal, “I said, ‘Father, how are you today?’ ‘Never had a bad day.’ That’s what he would say to me.”

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The school, now merged with Archbishop Prendergast, was Fr. Atkinson’s home. He roamed about the hallways of the Drexel Hill building for 30 years. “Fr. Ak,” as he was known to the students, was left a quadriplegic after a sledding accident in 1964.

His ordination required a special dispensation from the Pope.

Fr. Ak died in 2006, after inspiring the lives of more than 100,000 students. And now, the long road to possible sainthood moves along.

“He is considered a servant of God, which means the (Vatican) have begun to look at his life and to see if they could move the cause forward,” Sister Anne Brigid Gallagher said.

The push for sainthood has taken formal steps. And now the challenge is to identify Fr. Atkinson’s impact on this community. A meeting is set for Tuesday night to lay out the process. Roccio recalled his mastery of games and love of piecing puzzles together, which he would solve with the help of her son.

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“Get me that one,” she said, imitating the priest. “Before you know it, it was a 3,000 puzzle.”

The larger picture of this man, we’re told, was of a priest who helped along the often complicated lives of high school students.

“He considered each student a part of a puzzle and he would help get them get their acts together,” Roccio said.

Another puzzle to solve: If Fr. Bill Atkinson’s life meets with the Vatican’s rigorous requirements for sainthood.

Around Bonner-Prendie, the answer is easy.

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“I already considered him a saint when he was here,” Roccio said. “All he went through – just amazing. I think in my lifetime, I’m going to say I knew a saint, might take a while, but it’s coming.”