by KAREN RENEE S. NOGOY
MANILA ARCHBISHOP Jose Cardinal Advincula encouraged Thomasians to emulate St. Thomas Aquinas’ perseverance in education and character formation, saying this would enable them to face the challenges in society.
“Pagsumikapan nating magturo at matuto gaya ni Santo Tomas na nakikinig at nakaugat sa mundo at gumagamit ng buong lakas at talino upang tumugon mula sa pananampalataya (Let us persevere to teach and learn like St. Thomas, who listens and who is rooted in the world, who uses his full strength and wisdom in order to respond through faith),” Advincula said during the mass for the Solemnity of St. Thomas Aquinas held Thursday.
“It is our hope to produce Catholic students who are committed, compassionate, and competent to face the questions and challenges of our time,” he added.
The cardinal recalled the “heroic perseverance” that the University’s patron had shown when he experienced hardships before becoming a Dominican priest. He noted that the saint was not spared from difficulties just like educators and learners today who are grappling with pandemic-induced challenges.
“Teaching in an academic climate, where pagan philosophy dominated and threatened the faith, he embarked on the daunting task of adapting Aristotelian philosophy to serve Christian theology, promoting the use of both faith and reason and a scientific manner of theologizing,” Advincula said.
“Both teachers and students know the perseverance needed in online teaching and distance learning. Both staff and administrators hope for the end of the pandemic for a safer and more suitable environment to work and study,” he added.
Advincula also urged Thomasians to remain focused on the purpose of their efforts and to remain hopeful despite the trying times.
“Kung hindi malinaw sa atin ang ating pag-asa, mahirap na magpursigi. Kung nalilimutan natin kung para saan lahat ng ito, nakakapagod ngang magsumikap. Kung hindi na tayo naniniwala at nagtitiwala sa ating inaasahan, madali tayong sumuko (When our source of hope is not clear, it’s difficult to persevere. When we forget what all this is for, it’s really tiring to persevere. When we don’t believe and trust our hopes, it’s easy for us to give up),” the prelate said.
Perseverance becomes more meaningful and worthwhile if it is done for others and not only for one’s personal aspirations, he added.
During the mass, professors from the Institute of Religion received their academic mandatum, the canonical mandate to teach Theology, to ensure the delivery of a sound religious education.
St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest who is widely regarded as the greatest theologian of the Catholic Church. He is known as the Angelic Doctor and is the patron saint of Catholic schools and students.
His greatest contribution to the Church is his work Summa Theologica, which built the foundation of the teachings of the Catholic faith and answered objections to God’s existence.
The Church celebrates St. Thomas Aquinas’ feast every Jan. 28, a non-working holiday in the University. F