‘Find St. Thomas Aquinas as our way back to God’

UST Central Seminary Vice-Rector Rev. Fr. Napoleon Sipalay Jr., O.P. leads the mass in honor of the 700th canonization anniversary of St. Thomas Aquinas at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church on Tuesday, July 18. Photo by Mondrein Mikolei Lizarte/THE FLAME

A DOMINICAN priest has urged Thomasians to emulate their patron St. Thomas Aquinas and to seek God’s assistance in their endeavors.

During the mass for the 700th canonization anniversary of St. Thomas Aquinas, UST Central Seminary Vice Rector Rev. Fr. Napoleon Sipalay Jr., O.P. said the celebration lies not in honoring the saint himself but in inviting others to strive after holiness.

The mass, which was held on Tuesday, July 18 at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church, commemorated the Catholic Church’s declaration of the UST patron as a saint.

“For Thomas…all the actions of Christ…are instructions for us […] He would like to be a brother [to] us to guide us on our way [back] to God. If everything comes from God and we turn to God, let us find St. Thomas as our way to go back to God,” Sipalay said.

“As we look at the celebration we have today, it is encouragement for us to have him as an example. And we pray as we continue this celebration, that we have St. Thomas to be our guide.”

According to Sipalay, the Thomasian community should embody the three traits of Aquinas to foster their relationship with God, namely, linking prayer with study, demonstrating devotion to the Eucharist and embracing the significance of the crucifix. He called on Thomasians to pray to overcome their academic challenges.

“Let us cling [to] whatever is our endeavor, whether study or contemplation that has to be supported by prayer and everything is connected,” Sipalay said.

The UST seminary offical also encouraged Thomasians to follow their patron saint’s practice of attending mass twice everyday and to devote themselves to the crucifix, which symbolizes Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for humanity’s sins.

“Let us always see that in life whether good or bad, it’s the way we embrace the crucifix, the Crucified One,” he said.

St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican saint and philosopher, is regarded as the Angelic Doctor for his valuable contributions to the Catholic Church. His most prominent and influential work “Summa Theologica” explains how the reconciliation of man with the Divine is made possible through Christ.

He was canonized 49 years after his death by Pope John XXII on July 18, 1323.

To commemorate the 700th canonization anniversary and 800th birthday of the saint, a double jubilee themed “Go to Thomas: Imitate Thomas in Sanctity, Emulate Thomas in Study” will be celebrated until Jan. 28, 2025. – T. Tamio

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