The University of Santo Tomas Academic Year 2022-2023 officially opened with the Misa de Apertura (Mass of the Holy Spirit) on August 4, presided over by His Excellency Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, D.D., Bishop of Pasig and Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The Dominican Fathers concelebrated the Mass, which was attended by select administrative and academic officials and teaching staff at the UST Chapel (Santísimo Rosario Parish Church) and live-streamed via UST’s Facebook page.
Bishop Vergara, in his homily, urged Thomasians to be instruments of renewal for each other, saying that “As we open classes in UST, may we become instruments of the Holy Spirit to renew each other in personal and communal ways.”
Emphasizing that faith and introspection are vital during a time where the world is in turmoil for multiple reasons, the Bishop said that “The strength of a Catholic school is to provide integral formation and human and Christian values that will educate a person to deal with different crises in life. In this light, a renewed spiritual formation of the human person of our young students, their parents, and their educators, should be an urgent focus due to the negative psychological effects of the pandemic to mental health.”
“We hope that deeper introspection on the centrality of God in our life, who created us, the be-all and end-all of our beings, makes us realize that any finite coping mechanisms to deal with psychological issues are mere palliatives to get out of our emotional crisis. By renewing our faith in Jesus, we have the comfort and consolation we seek to gain healing and hopefully, attain the peace of mind and heart that God offers.”
With the University’s gradual shift to limited in-person classes for more programs this academic year, Bishop Vergara likened the opening of classes to Pentecost, saying that “[a gradual return to campus is] a promise fulfilled for all stakeholders of this University […] that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are healed of our fears and anxieties and can courageously unlock the closed doors of our homes, classrooms, libraries, meeting halls, recreational rooms and conventional centers so we can have places of face-to-face encounters, dialogue, and learning.”
He also challenged the faithful “to look together as an educational community with one vision of hope, to listen and discern together, involving all stakeholders, so as to encounter Christ in each other; and to love together, beyond the University campus to the existing peripheries.”
At the end of the Mass, Bishop Vergara officially declared the Academic Year 2022-2023 open.
Immediately following the Mass of the Holy Spirit was the Discurso de Apertura (Inaugural Lecture) delivered by Prof. Clarita DL. Carillo, Ph.D., Assistant to the Rector for Planning and Quality Management. She discussed “Quality Assurance and the 3Cs of Resiliency as Philippine Academic Institutions Move Forward.”