From September 17-20, 2017, the Master of the Order of Preachers, Very Rev. Fr. Bruno F. Cadore, O.P., met with sectors of the Thomasian community, on the occasion of his canonical visit to the Dominican Province of the Philippines.
An encounter with the “big brother”
Last September 19 (Tuesday), the Master, concurrently serving as the Grand Chancellor of the University, met with student leaders from the various faculties, colleges, institutes, and schools of UST. Done in the Civil Law Auditorium, the forum was moderated by Rev. Fr. Michael Mascari, O.P., Socius for Intellectual Life of the Order.
During the encounter, the Master of the Order asked the students about how UST changed their life. Primarily, the answers of students focused on the three Thomasian core values of competence, compassion, and commitment. The latter value served as the anchor later on for the Master’s responses to the students’ questions.
The role of the youth in the Order
When asked about the role of the youth in the Dominican family, Cadore expressed belief that: “you are those who can say that it is possible to live as human beings by compassion. It means to live learning and knowing and being happy: to believe that the human being is compassionate. He is able to discover that what is happening to others is happening to him, to her. What is going on for his country, her country, is going on in his or her life. There is nothing going on here or there without him. That his or her destiny can be linked to the destiny of each and every one. And this ability to discover, this capacity of communion with the world, I think it is one of your main gifts of the youth to the world. To discover that nobody is a foreigner for me.”
The Master continued by saying: “In a certain way, I know that I cannot know everyone, I cannot understand everyone. I cannot agree with everyone. But with compassion, I can discover that I learn from the others is also learning about myself. Listening to you, I was impressed to listen to the emphasis on this link between our intelligence, our ability to learn, our professional competence to be able to work in this world and to serve. At the same time, the conviction you share that this ability of my intelligence cannot be disconnected with my ability to be human. To be a human being is to be compassionate. What impressed me is that you said that to do that, to be this kind of human being, I need to be part of the community… a community that will help me discover that I can be confident in my place. I can be confident and play my own role, my own thing. I have my place in this world.”
Dilemma of young people
Cadore also noted a major challenge he saw in many parts of the world: “In this world, there are too many people, and especially too many young people, who don’t know that they are important in this world…I can, at this University, discover what kind of human being I am. I discover I can develop my intelligence and also my ability to be compassionate, and this, I can do it, because I belong to a community.
“The youth among us and around the world are those who need to remind that each human being needs to be called by the others. To be called by the others by all his life, by all his gifts, to be weaknesses, too. And to discover, like I said before, that I can stand in this world. That if one human being stands up in this world, nobody can destroy this world. In so many places in this world, youth don’t have any reason to be confident in this truth. So you are responsible. You have the duty to say “Yes, a human being can become who he or she really is when the others give to him, to her such confidence that he or she will stand up and say: ‘This world is mine, and my compassion for this world says that the destiny of this world, my university, my family, my community, is my destiny.’” By this way, I think, we can understand who is Jesus Christ.”
Remaining steadfast in faith in a society that shuns faith
Asked by a philosophy student on how to nurture one’s faith in a society that seems to give less importance to it, the Master cited “prayer and a constant conversation with Him” as an indispensable tool.
“Never forget that He is living with us. He is walking on our own ways. He knows, probably not for you because you are young, but when you are getting old, you know that you have enough time to discover your weaknesses, your sins, and your failures. Even if you have that, He will not abandon you. He will just go with you step-by-step, in your own way, to discover that His way can become your way.”
Respecting the sanctity of life
The final question mirrored both the events in Philippine society and the Thomasian community. A seminarian asked about how the young can continue the fight for the sanctity of life. To this, the Master grieved with the community over the loss of Horacio Tomas T. Castillo III, and called on them to remain steadfast in valuing human life: “I know this is a very difficult time, for a body of young people, to imagine that what we used to do, what we usually live with joyfully, can at one point be disrupted with this kind of catastrophe. It is very difficult to understand: what does it mean to die so young, and obviously, what does it mean to live?”
The Master, citing personal experience as a young pediatrician in the past, said that he learned this important lesson: “The sanctity of human life is something that we as human beings must respect. We have to receive the wonderful news that life as a human being is given to us with this promise of sanctity. We are called to receive this wonderful news and to respect this wonderful value.”
Going to societal issues, the Master pointed out that the threat to human life’s sanctity is present in different parts of the world. However, the fact remains that “Nobody in my mind can decide that you can respect or kill because you have the power of taking this kind of decision.”
All equal in the hands of the Creator
The Master closed his message to the youth by reiterating that in the eyes and hands of the Creator, “In the hand of our Lord, each human life is equal, and this is not a matter of discussion by anybody.”
The canonical visit of the Grand Chancellor likewise included encounters with the Dominican brethren in the Priory of Saint Thomas Aquinas, with the members of the Board of Trustees, Academic Senate, Council of Regents, and the administration of the UST Hospital. After his visit in UST, the Master will go to different convents in the Philippines, including the Santo Domingo Convent in Quezon City and the Saint Raymund de Peñafort Convent in Albay.