‘Pandemic survivors:’ UST Baccalaureate Mass 2024 to center on ‘spreading light’

Graduates of batch 2023 participate in the ceremony of light during the Baccalaureate Mass last May 31, 2023. Photo by Raymond Vince Manaloto/THE FLAME

THIS YEAR’S Baccalaureate Mass will highlight UST’s mission to “spread light” as it sends off graduates whose college stint was marked by the onset of the pandemic and the eventual return to normalcy.

UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said the event would emphasize the University’s ceremony of light to guide graduates toward the ‘real world’ after “surviving” the challenges caused by the pandemic.

“Post-pandemic is equally challenging as the pre-pandemic and pandemic era…there is also the heat index, rallies and other things but they were able to survive. So amid challenges, continue to share the light,” Coronel told The Flame.

Most members of batch 2024 spent half of their undergraduate education in a full online setup because of COVID-19 restrictions. Students did not experience onsite classes in UST until 2022, when hybrid learning was finally implemented.

Despite facing such difficulties, Coronel praised graduating Thomasians for “recalibrating” and achieving a milestone.

“This batch did not falter…therefore, they are now ready. It is attested by the different academic units that they are ready to face the world. But continue sharing the light even beyond the confines of the University,” he added.

The ceremony of light, known as Lumina Pandit or spreading the light, is among the University’s processional rites for graduating students. This year, Acting Rector Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P. will lead the lighting of the torches.

According to Coronel, students will receive a candle holder decorated with University patron St. Thomas Aquinas’ quote, “It’s better to illuminate than merely to shine,” alongside the UST seal sun and other symbols of light.

He said the message is relevant to the objective of UST and its founder archbishop Fr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P.

“It (candle holder) will contain the words ‘lumen,’ ‘lumina,’ ‘illuminare,’ all about spreading the light. Because it’s the mission of the University,” the secretary-general said.

The Baccalaureate Mass will take place on May 31 at the UST Grandstand. However, time adjustments may still happen depending on the heat index.

RELATED: UST Baccalaureate Mass 2024 may start at a later time as PH heat index rises

After the ceremony of light, the graduating students will sing the UST hymn for the penultimate time before exiting through the Arch of the Centuries.  F – with reports from John Martin Revilla 

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