Catholic universities urged to focus on strengthening integrity of Filipino families

The Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines (ACUP) held its 2018 National Conference from January 29 to 31, 2018 at the Holy Angel University in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Coinciding with ACUP’s 45th year of establishment, the conference
anchored upon the theme “The Role of Catholic Universities in Strengthening the Filipino Families Toward Nation Building: A Response
to Amoris Laetitia.”

With the UST Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P.,
serving as Vice-President of ACUP, UST served as the Association’s

The three-day conference began with a religious tour of heritage
sites and churches within Pampanga, which included the Holy Rosary
Parish and the Apu Shrine in Angeles City, the San Guillermo Parish
in Bacolor, the Santiago Apostol Parish in Betis, and the San Agustin
Parish in Lubao.

The second day featured a keynote address, lectures, research
presentations, and panel discussion, before capping off with a
celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
In his welcome remarks, Holy Angel University President Dr. Luis
Maria R. Calingo acknowledged the challenge that many Filipinos face
when it comes to family values. “All is not well in our country. There are
many whose condition makes it difficult for them to know the treasures
of family and faith,” he explained.

Calingo then urged the participating Universities to “join together
to continue being witnesses to the truth that our shared faith is not
repressive, but is the key to a promising future. More than ever, our
country needs devout leaders – those who regard their faith not only as
their spiritual identity but also as the governing force in their daily lives.”
The key to providing our nation with more faithful nation builders is
to strengthen the basic unit of society – the family.

ACUP President Rev. Fr. Marcelo V. Manimtim, C.M., who is also
president of Adamson University, said in his President’s message that
the most crucial guide that Catholic universities need to follow in order
to achieve such a goal is the post-synodal apostolic exhortation “Amoris
Laetitia” (The Joy of Love). Released in 2016, Pope Francis discussed
in the 256- page document the pastoral care of families, love within the
family, and the contemporary challenges that love faces.

“This conference looks into the challenges of Amoris Laetitia to the
Catholic universities to reflect on the ways these academic institutions
can strengthen the Filipino families,” Fr. Manimtim said in his message.
The conference tackled the phenomenology of the Filipino family
through lectures, research presentations, workshop and sharing of best
practices that presented experiences of the common Filipino family. The
formation of the youth as a crucial factor in strengthening the family was
also discussed

Fr. Manimtim said that the conference would be helpful to Catholic universities because it would enable them to share more visibly and effectively the pastoral approach of Pope Francis, concrete indications of
which abound in Amoris Laetitia.

“Our deeper understanding of the situation of Catholic families may lead to
greater appreciation of the challenges and to more solid support of their vocation to raise faith-filled, generous, and socially committed Filipinos. When we are able to do this, we shall fulfill our mission to make education an active instrument in promoting the development of our people through the healthy families.”

The first keynote speaker was Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio S. David, D.D., Bishop
of Kalookan, who centered his talk on the plight of the Filipino family. One of the biggest threats to the inner strength of the Filipino family is the anti-poor sentiments and rough conditions evident within the nation.

“I am confronted every day by families in flight. I’m reminded of the Holy Family in flight, of being pursued by Herod, of the murder of the innocents,” the Bishop said, adding that “The Bible’s vocabulary for the
poor is back to widows and orphans and a lot of parentless children and families have become dysfunctional.”

Other presenters for the second day included Center for Family Ministries of the Ateneo de Manila University Program Director Fr. Teodulo Gonzales, S.J. ;Jollibee Foods Corporation Brand Public Relations and Engagement Manager Ms. Cat Triviño; De La Salle University Research Ethics
Director Madelene A. Sta. Maria, Ph.D. ; UST Research Center for Social Sciences and Education Lead Research Associate for Social Health Studies Center Asst. Prof. Maria Carinnes P. Alejandria-Gonzalez,; St. Louis University Supreme Student Council President Ms. Shirley Jane D. Mrs. Marilou Mandawe, author and faculty member of
the University of San Carlos.

Speakers included well-known Sociologist and Radio Veritas consultant
Bro. Clifford T. Sorita; St. Mary’s University Student Affairs and Services for Women Assistant Dean Pearl Via S. Coballes; UST-Legazpi Student Services Director Mr. Jesus A. Barizo; Holy Name University Assistant to the President for Religious Education and Mission Fr. Samuel D. Clarin, SVD, and Notre Dame University Alumni and External Affairs Director Fr. Eduardo M. Santoyo, OMI.

Multi-disciplinary discussions on the state of the Filipino family today were also conducted. Speakers were: St. Paul University Quezon City Social Innovation and Research Director Prof. Ronel P. de la Cruz, Ph.D., who gave the anthropologist’s perspective; Holy Angel faculty member Prof. Christopher Martin A. Tañedo, who also works as a Psychologist at St. Luke’s
Medical Center, provided the psychologist’s perspective; and Adamson University faculty member Mr. Mark Godwin B. Villareal, who
gave the sociologist’s perspective.

The second keynote speaker of the conference was Archbishop
Socrates B. Villegas, D.D., Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, Pangasinan.
He discussed “Catholic Universities and the Filipino Families: The Pastoral
Response to the Challenges of Amoris Laetitia.” In his talk, Archbishop Villegas explained the importance of encounter and accompaniment, which involves confrontation, challenges, conversion, consolation, and eventually contemplation, and cited the significance of discernment which involves humbling oneself before God, listening to silence as it is the language
of God, and letting go of negativity.

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