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Dela Cruz to graduates: When life gets tough, you can say ‘kaya ko to!’

“We have more reasons to be thankful about more than your diploma,“ UST’s Vice Chancellor Rev. Fr. Filemon Dela Cruz O.P. said during the Baccalaureate Mass of Batches 2020 and 2021.

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Photo from University of Santo Tomas Facebook page

The University’s Vice Chancellor on June 4, Saturday, urged the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 to make the anxieties and struggles during the pandemic as an inspiration to keep moving forward.

“When life gets tough, you can say ‘kaya ko to, nakagraduate nga ako, pandemya pa noon, hindi ba?’ ” Rev. Fr. Filemon Dela Cruz O.P. said during the Baccalaureate Mass.

“We have more reasons to be thankful about more than your diploma,“ he added.

Dela Cruz said that the journey after graduation is not just “earth bound” but heaven-bound,” saying that the battles ahead are not just against viruses. 

“My dear Thomasians…let us help in the recovery and rebuilding of our nation and lives of our fellow men,” he said, emphasizing the effects of the pandemic. 

Dela Cruz concluded his homily by congratulating the graduates once again. 

“But for this evening, let us enjoy the company of one another, let us recognize our blessings and give thanks to the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and enkindle in us the fire of God’s love,“ the vice chancellor said.

Both batches graduated during the pandemic and had their graduation rites online.

The last face-to-face baccalaureate mass was in 2019.

Christine Nicole Montojo
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You are all achievers, not just survivors — Ang

“Ang pagtatapos ay pagbubukas ng maraming pinto na magbibigay ng pagkakataon at oportunidad para maabot ninyo ang tugatog ng tagumpay,” Ang said at the 8, 131 graduates during the Baccalaureate Mass.

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Photo from University of Santo Tomas Facebook page

University’s rector magnificus urged the 8131 graduating candidates of batch 2022 to remain “humble and magnanimous” for the Baccalaureate Mass on Friday, June 3.

Very Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. applauded the determination and hardwork of each student, making them achievers for overcoming the hurdles of the sudden shift to online classes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“If you survive the pandemic, you can survive anything at all,” he said.

The graduating batch only experienced in-person classes in their first two years. Their remaining years were spent under an enriched virtual mode of instruction. 

Ang also added that as the graduates finished their stay at the University, they must not remain stagnant and complacent. Hence, they must seek improvement and advancement.

The rector also emphasized that graduation is “embracing the true and real world” and graduates should not treat life as a straight line because “for 2022, they have come in a full circle.” 

“Ang pagtatapos ay pagbubukas ng maraming pinto na magbibigay ng pagkakataon at oportunidad para maabot ninyo ang tugatog ng tagumpay,” he said. 

Ang also emphasized that students will never be fully “autonomous and self-efficient” as he stated in the catechism that “creatures exist only dependent on each other, to complete each other in the service of each other.” 

“Your brilliance and excellence are merely perfections of our Creator. You owe him all your gifts and talents,” he added. 

Before ending his homily, Ang urged the graduates to stay connected with God as they received their Dominican cross and pass through the Arch of the Centuries, marking the end of their Thomasian life. 

“Walk on and carry your faith with you, the faith which is the University’s greatest legacy to all Thomasians then and now,” he said.

Over 9, 700 seats were arranged at the University’s Open Field for the 8, 131 attendees from Batch 2022. This is the first face-to-face Baccalaureate Mass ever since the pandemic started. 

Batch 2022 was the first batch under the K-12 curriculum. M. Lumapas

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Advincula: Maging instrumento ng liwanag ni Kristo

“The best response to people who do not believe in Christ’s resurrection is a Christian who stakes his life believing that his savior lives,” Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula said in his homily.

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Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula during his homily on Easter Vigil at the Manila Cathedral.

“Christ is risen, Alleluia, Alleluia,”  Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula on the celebration of Easter Vigil, April 16, urged the faithful to be an instrument of Christ to spread His good will.

“We are called to be bearers of Christ’s light by dying to our old sinful ways and rising to a new life as his priests, prophets, and kings. Sharing the warmth of love in worship, the enlightenment of meaning in preaching and teaching, and the guide to writing paths in moral living,”  Advincula said in his homily on the evening of Black Saturday in Manila Cathedral.

In order to fulfill these duties, Advincula reminded the faithful to choose God and “our neighbors,” and to draw inspiration from Christ’s resurrection.

“Tangan ng pagtitiwala at pag asa sa kapangyarihan, katarungan, at pagmamahal ng Diyos. Piliin natin ang Diyos at kapwa sa araw-araw sa bawat isip at salita at pagpili upang [ma]pagtagumpayan ng kanyang liwanag ang mga puwersa ng mga bumabalot na kadiliman,” he said.

Advincula also reminded the faithful to be like the apostles who were grounded on the truth of Christ’s resurrection with “firm conviction.”

“The best response to people who do not believe in Christ’s resurrection is a Christian who stakes his life believing that his savior lives,” he said.

Ending his homily, Advincula reiterated: We can only do all this if the risen Christ has become the light of our lives.

Ian Patrick Laqui
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Perseverance of St. Thomas was powered by his hope — Advincula

In celebration of the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, Manila archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula urged Thomasians to persevere and remain hopeful in these stressing times brought by the pandemic.

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Manila archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula delivers his homily for the mass in celebration of the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas on Thursday, Jan. 27.

Manila archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula, stressed the importance of perseverance and hope in facing the daunting times brought by the pandemic in the celebration of the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas on Thursday, Jan. 27.

With the theme, “St. Thomas, deacon of perseverance and hope,” Advincula honored in his homily the rigorous faith of Aquinas in seeking understanding despite condemnation that “served the salt of the Earth and light of the world.”

“Kung kapiling natin si Santo Tomas ngayon, marahil ang sasabihin niya, magsumikap lang makakarating din tayo doon,” Advincula said in a mass at the Santisimo del Rosario Parish.

Advincula added that uncertainties and hopelessness makes it difficult to keep going.

“Dahil buhay kay Santo Tomas ang kanyang pag-asa at inaasahan, narausan at nagawa niya lahat ng ito,” he said.

Advincula shared that Thomasian education taught the students that wealth is not merely gazed at the success of careers, endeavors, and pursuits which makes a Thomasian competent, compassionate, and committed. 

One alumnus of  UST said, ang Tomasino, hindi lang mahusay, may puso.” he said. 

Advincula ended his homily by reminding Thomasians to pray and the Eucharist to gain “rest in security and passion to pursue” like Aquinas. 

The mass was part of the three days of commemoration before the feast day of Aquinas. It also included the Rite of Commissioning for Theology and Ethics faculty members.

Marjorie Lumapas
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