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Padre Pio’s incorrupt heart relic brought to UST

The incorrupt heart relic of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was brought to the University of Santo Tomas yesterday, October 8.

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Photo by Tristan Deang

The incorrupt heart relic of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was brought to the University of Santo Tomas yesterday, October 8.

The UST community together with the Santisimo Rosario Parish and the priests and brothers from the Priory of Saint Thomas welcomed the relic in front of the UST Chapel.

A conference with the clergy and religious about the life and works of Padre Pio titled, “The Person, Priesthood and Spirituality of St. Padre Pio” followed where they were called to embody an ‘Ubuntu’ life.

Rev. Fr. Jojo Gonda, rector of the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, who led the conference said that, “Ubuntu, if we want to be happy, we’ll be happy together,” emphasizing the meaning of Ubuntu in a story in Africa as ‘I am because we are’ whereas our happiness is manifested in the happiness of others.

“Let’s have an Ubuntu life. I am because we are,” he added.

The conference was a challenge to all priests and religious to exemplify their duties as followers of the Church with Padre Pio as their role model.

Fr. Gonda gave importance to the physical, emotional, and spiritual conditions of the religious in order to fulfill their roles in the community and their love for the ministry.

“When we take care of ourselves, we take care of our community. If we don’t care or take care of ourselves, we are abusing the community we are serving because we cannot serve well,” he said.

While there are many trials that the society, especially the Church, is currently facing, the Rosary will serve as a weapon during these times.

“Don’t stop praying the Rosary, according to St. Padre Pio,” Fr. Gonda said and urged the religious to be the light in the midst of the darkness and problems that continuously arise.

The pain that wounded Padre Pio’s heart

After the conference earlier that day, it was followed by the Holy Hour and celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

In the healing mass at the UST Plaza Mayor, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, the mass presider, said in his homily that “Many of us have these stigmata too even if they not be in the right places.”

Bishop David said that “Stigma no longer had the neutral meaning that it had before. Modern English has assumed this Greek word in its vocabulary but has given it a very negative meaning […] Very much like unclean in the time of Jesus.”

Bishop David also said that the “modern equivalent in the Philippines” of the stigma are the drug suspects.

“It is probably the worst stigma that can be given as label to people who land in the drug watch list,” he added.

“This stigma can get people jailed or even killed. Then people just shake their heads with pity when they see their dead bodies in the street alley. And it takes just one toxic whisper to justify the murder. ‘Drug supect siguro ‘yan,’” he added.

“Unlike other criminals, Jesus bore a fifth mark, a fifth stigma, and that is the mark that pierced his heart,” said Bishop David.

Bishop David also stressed that, “The pain that Padre Pio experienced in his heart after that mystical experience is what we came here to reflect on today […] We’re not just here to venerate a relic. We are here to reflect on the priestly life of Padre Pio, and on that which wounded his heart to be so configured to the heart of Jesus, our Supreme High Priest.”

“Tiyakin natin na sa bawat pagpasok ng mga mananampalataya sa ating simbahan ay may apoy pa rin silang maiuuwi at maiibahagi sa kanilang kapwa,” said Bishop David to the religious priests, sisters and brothers attending the mass.

“Ang sakit na naramdaman ni Santo Padre Pio sa kanyang dibdib ay parang apoy na nag-alab sa kanyang puso […] ang hatid ni Padre Pio ay isang bagong apoy na nagdulot ng bagong init at bagong liwanag ng pananamplataya,” said Bishop David.

He added, “Hilingin nating siya ang maging inspirasyon nating lahat, sa pagpapari at sa buhay sagrado, upang manatiling maalab sa ating puso ang pag-ibig ni Kristo, at ang pagsisikap na maging tapat sa pag-ibig na ito na dulot ng ating karupukan at kataksilan.”

After the Holy Mass, Padre Pio’s heart relic was brought around the University for the procession back to UST Chapel where it was opened for public veneration until 5:30 am the next day.

After its farewell mass at UST Chapel, it will be brought to Manila Cathedral and will be opened for public veneration for 24 hours until Thursday.

Saint Pio de Pietrelcina, who is more commonly known as Padre Pio, is one of the most popular saints in the Roman Catholic Church who carried the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) which miraculously appeared on his body.

Padre Pio’s incorrupt body is on display in his hometown in San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy.

His incorrupt heart has been brought already to four countries and the longest stay will be here in the Philippines for 21 days.

2018 is also a significant year for Saint Padre Pio for it marks two milestones in his life: September 20 is the centennial anniversary of Padre Pio’s receiving of the stigmata and September 23 is his 50th death anniversary.

The said relic is set to be brought around to Cebu, Davao and Batangas.

By Kristine Erika Agustin & John Aaron Pangilinan

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Student organization condemn anti-terror bill provisions

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) The Political Science Forum (TPSF) condemned the constitutionality of the “questionable” provisions and mechanisms of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL).

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Arden Esmile/TomasinoWeb

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) The Political Science Forum (TPSF) condemned the constitutionality of the “questionable” provisions and mechanisms of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL).

“[T]he Draconian measures pointed out by critics of the law emphasized on the stifling of dissent and criticism, and the possible danger of disregarding the democratic freedom of every Filipino,” the statement released yesterday, July 4 read.

TPSF also called for vigilance among Filipinos amid the signing of the Anti-Terror Bill into Law last Friday, July 3. 

“Given this turn of events, the Forum calls for vigilance among all Filipinos in ensuring that its enforcement shall be free from disfranchisement of fundamental rights of everyone,” the Forum said. 

TPSF stressed that government critics, student activists, indignant masses, and indigenous groups in the country are the “most vulnerable” in the enforcement of the highly scrutinized warrantless investigations and arrest. 

According to the Forum, the provisions of the law, specifically on the prolonged detention of the alleged violator and lesser liability of law enforcers from erroneous accusations, “may result in power tripping and reckless law enforcement.” 

“[T]he balance of power in handling revolving around terrorism are centered to the executive department whereas the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) shall be comprised of presidential appointees, members who have most likely to have conflict of interest with the state,” TPSF said. 

The Forum also questioned the “practicality and relevance of the bill” during the pandemic.

A group of lawyers and civic leaders, led by Lawyer Howard Calleja, filed yesterday, July 4, the very first petition against the newly signed ATL before the Supreme Court. Jayziel Khim Budino

 

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Students not ready for self-directed learning—EdTech director

Students “may not be really ready” for self-direction and learning independence without “prodding from the teachers,” the University’s Educational Technology Center (EdTech) director said yesterday, June 27.

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Screengrab from the Learning in Focus webinar

Students “may not be really ready” for self-direction and learning independence without “prodding from the teachers,” the University’s Educational Technology Center (EdTech) director said yesterday, June 26.

“With or without pandemic, no single tool really and no amount of technology would be the solution to all our instructional problems,” Asst. Prof. Anna Cherylle Ramos, president of Philippine e-Learning Society, said during a webinar about shifting from classroom to online term.

Virtual monitoring sessions and centralized e-learning support unit, according to Ramos, was provided by the University to the teachers for the implementation of an online learning system.

“For the context of the University of Santo Tomas that has been using online technology for almost 20 years since 2002, we had the edge of implementing our continuity plan for teaching and learning right away after the declaration of the lockdown,” she said.

Ramos mentioned that in a survey conducted by the University, 98-percent of the faculty and 94-percent of the students have no stable internet connection.

“Out of our survey, we were able to locate the students with no internet connection and with our partnership with major telecom companies who were able to deliver the devices and the pocket wifi devices, so that they are able to finish the semester,” she said.

“I guess for me, COVID-19 also provided some positive contribution because it has unleashed a revolution in our education,” Ramos said.

Challenges ‘more psychological’

The bigger challenge in taking the education online, according to De La Salle Lipa College of Information and Engineering Dean Jorge Bacobo, is more psychological than technical.

“Those [technological problems], we know what the solutions are,” Bacobo said. “It’s getting the people who are involved for example in our schools, teachers, parents, administrators, to adjust to a revolution that’s forced [on] us by pandemic.”

“It’s really the evolution of people and how they have to change their relationships with each other in order to address the new needs of a new normal,” he added.

Bacobo emphasized that the pandemic changing the whole world challenged more the relationship between the students and the teachers and between the teachers and their teaching platform.

“Teachers suddenly realized they’re not anymore the sages on the stages. They’re now set aside. They’re more like guides on the side…They are no longer the medium of instruction,” he said.

Bacobo explained that the digital infrastructure has become the new medium and the teacher’s “avatar” or representative.

Department of Education Undersecretary Nepo Malaluan also said that online learning is “a very potent tool.”

“When we talk about the learning continuity in this time of COVID and doing distance learning, online learning is only one of the modalities,” he said. 

“Our viewers and our parents and learners and the public and sometimes even policy makers equate distance learning with the online learning platform,” he added. 

Technological challenges of online learning, according to Malaluan, are the capacity of teachers in delivery of large-scale online learning, conversion of classroom-based learning resources to distance learning resources, and the cost of online learning to the students.

Ramos urged the students that despite the teachers being “converted into text,” students should be more understanding as the issue of bandwidth impedes the online availability of the teachers.

“Online technology or online instructions would just be one of the many things we can do to be able to deliver that content,” Ramos said. “[Students] must realize that while we are doing something like this, we still have your teaching presence.”

“The learning activities themselves and the step by step procedure being given by the teachers is in fact the teaching presence themselves. There should be that understanding on both parties,” she said.

The webinar, “Learning in Focus,” was organized by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inq To be You, and INQUIRER.net.

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CSC decries ‘unlawful arrest’ of ‘Pride 20’

The University Central Student Council (CSC) condemned the “violent and unlawful” arrest of 20 protestors who participated in the Pride March held in front of Mendiola Peace Arch, Friday morning, June 26. 

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Carmina Beatriz Dizon/TomasinoWeb

The University Central Student Council (CSC) condemned the “violent and unlawful” arrest of 20 protestors who participated in the Pride March held in front of Mendiola Peace Arch, Friday morning, June 26. 

“[It] is a clear abuse of undignifying power against our LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters,” CSC’s statement read.

The protestors who were arrested called to junk the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which is set to lapse into law on July 9. 

Different progressive groups who joined the rally were dispersed by the police, despite observing health protocols such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks.

“Our expression of dissent will never be an act of terrorism. Pride is a protest. #FreePride20!” CSC said. 

According to reports and posts circulating online, several police were seen “hijacking” one of the demonstrators’ private vehicles to bring them to the police station. 

The police nabbed 20 people, 10 of which are members of Bahaghari including its spokesperson Rey Valmores-Salinas, eight members of Gabriela, and two drivers.

Salinas took to Twitter to express her concern on their arrest: “Hinuli man kami ngayon, walang pandemiya, walang lockdown, at mas lalong walang mga pasistang baboy ang makapipigil ng pagsinag ng Bahaghari. #SulongWagPatinag.” 

#FreePride20

The arrested protestors were not informed of their violations and were not read of their Miranda rights, which angered the netizens.

The #FreePride20 trended on Twitter as netizens called for the immediate release of the ‘Pride 20,’ which were currently detained at the Manila Police District headquarters.

Miss Universe 2019 Catriona Gray as well as groups such as Gabriela Women’s Party, Bahaghari, and Metro Manila Pride also condemned the arrest. 

Three minors were already released, but the remaining are set to spend the weekend in detention as inquest proceedings resume on Monday.

The Metro Manila Pride March was originally set on June 27. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event was cancelled and will be held via virtual gathering instead. 

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