Last August 7, 2018 (Tuesday), the University of Santo Tomas celebrated the Solemnity of the Founder of the eight-century-old Order of Preachers, Saint Dominic de Guzman, in a concelebrated Mass presided over by the Very Rev. Fr. Napoleon B. Sipalay, Jr., O.P., Vice-Chancellor of UST and Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines.
St. Dominic as a model of humility and service
In his sharing, Fr. Sipalay narrated how he first came to know about St. Dominic, in 1987, when in a homily by Rev. Fr. Arturo Pestin, O.P., St. Dominic was likened to a broom, particularly the Filipino “walis ting-ting” (or a coconut vein broom), for the reason that after he served his purpose, he was set aside for he had already served his purpose. “Dominic wanted to be remembered not as himself but because of the task of preaching,” Fr. Sipalay said.
Further into Dominic’s demonstrated humility, Fr. Sipalay narrated how Dominic responded when asked about his desired burial site. Dominic would eventually be buried in the Church of St. Nicolas in Bologna, Italy, where beginnings of the Order can be traced. “Many may think that Dominic simply wanted to be forgotten, but the Master [Very Rev. Fr. Bruno F. Cadoré, O.P.] of the Order would like to present to us that in this image [of Dominic’s final moments], Dominic would like to be in the midst of his brothers.”
Of more use where he was going
History records how Dominic told his brothers that he will be more effective in death, when he will be with God, than in life on Earth. Fr. Sipalay said that Dominic continues to guide the entire Order as it ministers to the faithful through the centuries.
Dominic’s desire, according to Fr. Sipalay, was to live out “Jesus’ dream for the world, for the Church to be the Sacrament of Christ in the world,” said Fr. Sipalay.
You are Dominicans
Addressing the administrators, teachers, and staff, the Vice-Chancellor said: “Many of you here [administrators, faculty members, and staff], you are our collaborators, you are Dominicans.” He related the encounter of former Socius of the Master for Intellectual Life, Rev. Fr. Michael Mascari, O.P., with the deans and academic unit heads of UST last September 19, 2017 meeting. In that meeting, Fr. Mascari asked: “How do see yourselves as Catholic and Dominican administrators of UST?”
Fr. Sipalay said that in the Order, the collaborators in the education ministry are seen as Dominicans themselves. “I hope [your contemplation of the Word] is what you bring out in your ministry in the [different areas you are assigned] in this University.” Quoting the Master of the Order, Fr. Sipalay said that: “‘To preach Christ if our path toward sanctification.’ We have to lend our voices and be the voice of Christ in our time.”
The Vice-Chancellor reminded the community that Dominic did not just help satisfy the temporal hunger of the people of his time for food, but he also saw their spiritual hunger to know God. He asked the Thomasian administrators, faculty, and staff to help satisfy the hunger of students, for the questions they have and their need of guidance. “Dominic responded to the needs of his times. We now need to respond to the needs of ours.”