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ACUP 2018 national conference in HAU a success

The Association of the Catholic Universities of the Philippines (ACUP) recently held its three-day national conference in Angeles City's Holy Angel University, the only Catholic college in Asia that is recommended by US-based Cardinal Newman Society for its demonstrated commitment to faithful Catholic education. It is in fact the first Catholic higher education institution in the Philippines that is founded by a layperson and is the first Catholic high school in the Philippines that is co-educational from the beginning. The conference took place on January 29-31, 2018.

Previous to the main event, it conducted a religious tour of heritage churches in Pampanga that includes the Holy Rosary Parish and Apu Shrine, both in Angeles City; San Guillermo Parish in Bacolor; Santiago Apostol Parish in Betis, Guagua; and San Agustin Parish in Lubao.

"At this conference we will explore the role of Catholic universities in strengthening the Filipino families toward nation-building as our collective response to Amoris Laetitia (meaning joy of love), the most recent Apostolic Exhortation of our Holy Father Pope Francis," began Dr. Luis Maria Calingo, president of Holy Angel University and ACUP board member, during the opening ceremony. He added, "Let us join together to continue being a witness to the truth that our shared faith is not repressive, but is the key to a promising future. A Catholic education, which is perhaps the most important apostolate of the Church, should leave a person with no doubt about the nature of family, the nature of man and woman, and the nature of right and wrong."

This was followed by a message of Rev. Fr. Marcelo Manimtim, CM, ACUP's president and president of Adamson University. Later, Caloocan City Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, D.D. gave the keynote speech to some 180 participants from different universities in the Philippines.

Fr. Teodulo Gonzales, S.J. of Ateneo de Manila University and Ms. Cat Trivino of Jollibee Foods Corp. also gave their speeches on the challenge of Amoris Laetitia to the family and to media and business in promoting family values, respectively.

Research studies on the experience and challenges of the Filipino family were likewise presented by Prof. Madeleine Sta. Maria, Ph.D., of De La Salle University and Assistant Professor Ma. Carinnes Alejandria-Gonzalez of UST.

In the afternoon, Ms. Shirley Jane Bonilla (a student of Saint Louis University) and Ms. Marilou Manawe (a faculty from University of San Carlos) presented their response to the challenge of Amoris Laetitia from a youth's perspective and from a layperson's perspective, respectively.

Capping the day's activities were the Eucharistic celebration by Most Rev. Paciano Aniceto, D.D., Archbishop-Emeritus of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, and a welcome Kapampangan dinner afterwards.

The following day's activities were discussions on "relevant pastoral methods and approaches in engaging Catholic universities and Filipino families in the formation of the youth" by the administrators and "understanding the youth as a crucial link in building stronger families" by the youth leaders, as well as the family today from the perspectives of an anthropologist by Prof. Ronel de la Cruz, Ph. D, of Saint Paul University-Quezon City, a psychologist by Prof. Christopher Martin Tanedo of Holy Angel University, and a sociologist by Mr. Mark Godwin Villareal of Adamson University.

In the afternoon, Lingayen-Dagupan, Pangasinan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, D.D. gave a talk during the conference's last day on the pastoral response to the challenges of Amoris Laetitia, which is "intended to be a torch, not as a lighthouse." He cited the importance of encounter, accompaniment (that involves confrontation, challenges, conversion, consolation and eventually contemplation) and discernment (it involves humility as who am I before God, listening for silence is the language of God and "let it go" phrase).

Later, break-out session involving sharing of best pastoral methods and practices from administrators' point of view and expression of commitment to the family through the arts by youth leaders was conducted and activity's synthesis followed.

During the closing ceremony, ACUP president Rev. Fr. Manimtim thanked HAU as this year's host university, together with co-sponsored Saint Louis University in Baguio City and Saint Mary's University in Nueva Vizcaya and all those involved to make the conference a success.

Date Posted: 02-12-2018