Message from the Office of the President
Amidst the challenges brought about by climate change and other environmental issues and concerns, the socio-political noise barrage as the national and local elections are forthcoming, and the lingering Covid-19 Pandemic, we, in the academic sector, are called to remain steadfast, discerning and responsive.
Call to be steadfast.
As a catholic institution, we know that our mission is to promote the formation of the whole person from the perspective of Christian anthropology. We participate in the salvific mission of the Church as our schools become privilege places where conversations, dialogs and discussions as well as research studies and other learning tools and modalities are made in order to deepen our faith vis-à-vis how we look at the world, humanity, history and the “signs of the times”(cf. The Catholic Schools, The Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, Rome, March 19th, 1977). Thus, we anchor ourselves to the person of Christ Jesus, “Who, though he was in the form of God…emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (cf. Philippians 2:6-ff). His teachings, values and principles contextualized today would be our “lamp for our feet and a light for our path” (cf. Psalms 119:105).
Call to be discerning.
The storms that conflicting issues create may toss us left and right, bringing us confusion and tension. That is why, it is imperative that we are mindful of our own biases, the sources of our information, and the impact of our words and visuals that we share in conversations, in print and media, especially the social media where fake news and black propaganda can certainly conceal or twist the truth. Day in and day out, we make decisions that would ultimately lead us to making choices. Pope Francis says, “the gift of discernment has become all the more necessary today, since contemporary life offers immense possibilities for action and distraction, and the world presents all of them as valid and good. (…) Without the wisdom of discernment, we can easily become prey to every passing trend.” (GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE, Rome, March 19, 2018). As part of our preparation for the upcoming elections as proposed by CEAP, we will be introducing the Youth Circles of Discernment where we shall use Lectio Divina. May we have well-informed decision-making process and never fail to consult God and listen to His will.
Call to be responsive.
I know we are working hard on our enrollment, our flexible learning modalities, our learning continuity plans, issues on mental health, financial viability and sustainability, safety and health protocols, especially as we prepare for the gradual face-to-face instructions, sessions and activities. Being busy with these domestic affairs for the school’s survival, most of us no longer have the energy and resources to act with urgency on global, national and regional issues and advocacies. These are tigers that we are challenged to face; however, we cannot do it alone. We need to come together as a community of disciples, form partnerships, strengthen greater collaboration and cooperation, and deepen our solidarity as a humanity belonging to one Creator God, “dwelling together in our common home, ‘a garden-planet where God has placed us’, having a common destination in Christ.” (Pope Francis, General Audience September 2, 2020).
In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis urges us to “take an active part in renewing and supporting our troubled societies. Today we have a great opportunity to express our innate sense of fraternity, to be Good Samaritans who bear the pain of other people’s troubles rather than fomenting greater hatred and resentment”. (FT, 77)
As we continue to commemorate the Five Hundred Years of Christianity in the Philippines, we are reminded that we are gifted with a great faith and we are enjoined to proclaim and share it with great joy. Archbishop Valles says, “Five hundred years ago, we had that first encounter of faith. (…) The first seed of faith was planted in their (our) forefathers, and today the Church in the Philippines is trying to help the faithful not only to encounter Jesus personally but also to meet Him in those they (we) serve, especially the needy, the poor and the marginalized.” (Vatican News, 13 March 2021)
In closing, Pope Francis is calling us Catholic Educators to collaborate in “the growth process of humanity” through their professionalism and the consistent witness of their lives “to help young people become active builders of a more fraternal and peaceful world.”
“May God be gracious to us and bless us; may his face shine upon us.” (Psalm 67:2)
Br. Noelvic H. Deloria, S.C.