Last August 1, 2018 (Wednesday), His Excellency Archbishop Gabriele Giordani Caccia, DD, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, opened the Academic Year as Main Celebrant and Homilist of the traditional Misa de Apertura, which was celebrated as the “Mass of the Holy Spirit.”

In his homily, the Nuncio bared that he “cannot think of a university and not associate it with the notion of a ‘researcher of truth.’” He challenged the Thomasian community to cultivate the passion for the one Truth, and not be disheartened in the face of “pressures of fear, power, and self-comfort.”

The innocent is condemned
Using what happened to Jesus as an analogy, Archbishop Caccia reminded the Thomasian community that Pilate succumbed to pressures from the crowd and ended up condemning to death Someone innocent, and in the process deviating far away from the Truth. The Nuncio warned that if people stop yearning for the Truth, their lives will be “governed by other lords.”

Differentiating books from humans
Archbishop Caccia reminded the professors that while the knowledge they share is sought after, these “can be found in books, too.” He asked the faculty members to reflect on what makes the human experience in the classroom different, and challenged the academic community to make the students feel and realize that what books cannot replicate or provide is the shared experience of a “pilgrimage toward the Truth.” The Nuncio emphasized that Catholics must have a passion for God, who is also passionate about us and wants to come in us.

The material vs. spiritual realms
Further into the distinction between books and humans, Archbishop Caccia reminded Thomasians that if they live only in the material realm, where one loses the possessions he gives others, they will miss the “logic of the spirit.” The logic of the spiritual realm, the Nuncio said, can be likened to a candle, which does not lose its flame even if it gives light to another candle.

“The candle is different from the Light. We are the candles, and the Light is God. He wants us to share the Light to others, and even if we do spread that light, we do not grow poorer—we become richer,” Archbishop Caccia said.

Officially open
At the end of the Misa de Apertura, Archbishop Caccia invoked the guidance of the Holy Spirit and used his authority vested in him by the Congregation for Catholic Education, to declare Academic Year 2018-2019 officially open.