Manila Archbishop His Eminence Jose Cardinal Advincula, D.D., presided over the Eucharistic Celebration for the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of all Catholic universities for whom UST was named.
The Mass, held on January 27, 2022, was concelebrated with the Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines Very Rev. Filemon I. Dela Cruz, Jr., O.P., the UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D., and the Dominican Fathers, at the Santísimo Rosario Parish Church through hybrid modality.
For this year, the theme of the Feast Day celebration was “Saint Thomas: Beacon of Hope and Perseverance.”
In his homily, Cardinal Advincula noted that the theme was timely and relevant, “given what we have been through the past two years of the pandemic, as an educational institution and in our personal lives.”
“Both teachers and students know the perseverance needed in online teaching and distance learning. Both staff and administrators hope for the end of the pandemic, for a safer and more suitable environment to work and study,” the Cardinal explained.
Despite the difficulties, the Cardinal urged the faithful to follow St. Thomas’ example of persevering, hoping, and holding on to his faith. His family was originally opposed to his desire to become a Dominican and placed him under house arrest for a year, but St. Thomas’ determination remained strong.
Eventually, St. Thomas would produce prodigious scholarly work through faith, reason, and the scientific manner of theologizing. He contributed immensely to philosophy and theology, and remains a guiding light and pillar of thought for over 700 years.
“It is important to persevere in this mission of education and formation—pandemic or no pandemic—if it is our hope to produce Catholic students who are committed, compassionate, and competent to face the questions and challenges of our time,” emphasized the Cardinal.
The Manila Archbishop concluded his homily with a prayer that, “Like St. Thomas, we persevere in hope so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to you, Heavenly Father, so that all of our lives will be for the love of Thee.”
Cardinal Advincula, who underwent the Rite of Profession to commit himself to the Order of Preachers in December 2021, was formed as a diocesan seminarian in the UST Central Seminary in Manila. Later, he took up Canon Law Studies at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy.
In the same celebration, the mandatum docendi or academic mandate was conferred on professors from the Institute of Religion who made their public Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity. The mandatum signifies their commitment to ensure the delivery of a sound theological education faithful to the magisterium of the Church as part of providing quality Catholic education rooted in faith and Saint Thomas’ continuing legacy.
UST Vice-Rector for Religious Affairs Rev. Fr. Pablo T. Tiong, O.P., presented the academic staff to Cardinal Advincula.