On January 27, 2023, the University of Santo Tomas honored St. Thomas Aquinas, the University Patron, in a Eucharistic Celebration and launched his Biennium 2023-2025 celebration at the Santísimo Rosario Parish.
Eyes that saw God through faith and love
In his homily, His Excellency Most Rev. Teodoro C. Bacani, O.P., D.D., Bishop Emeritus of Novaliches, reflected on Aquinas’s contemplative life and his journey in getting to know God. “He led an angelic life and he was a man who was, according to the Beatitudes, pure of heart. And the promise to those who are pure of heart is that they will see God,” Bishop Bacani said.
Bishop Bacani also underscored the importance of having faith, as exemplified by Aquinas, for it serves as an evidence, an instrument of seeing the invisible especially God. “St. Thomas saw more than the things themselves, but [he saw] the one who holds all things in existence, the one who holds all things in unity. He saw them all in the eyes of faith,” he noted.
However, while faith may be a powerful ingredient in understanding God, having it alone is not enough because it is love that gives faith its power, noted Bishop Bacani. He likewise deemed St. Thomas as the light of the Church and of the whole world. “St. Thomas received light. Having received the light with love, he passed them to others with great love [by] preaching and teaching.” Bishop Bacani said.
In conjunction with this momentous occasion, faculty members, who have been sharing the light of their knowledge, morals, and faith in bringing religious education, received the academic Mandatum cross, a tangible symbol of their commitment to both the University and the Catholic Church; they likewise pledged their oath of fidelity. The faculty members came from the Institute of Religion and the Senior High School.
The University likewise launched Aquinas’ Triennium celebration, marking three important jubilees of the Angelic Doctor:
1. 2023 marks the 700th anniversary of his canonization on July 18, 1323.
2. 2024 is the 750th anniversary of his death on March 7, 1274.
3. 2025 is the 800th anniversary of his birth on January 28, 1225.
The theme this year was “Saint Thomas: Contemplating the Beauty of God”.