Most Reverend Florentino G. Lavarias, Archbishop of San Fernando and proud Angelite; Reverend Marvin P. Dizon, University Chaplain; the Holy Angel University community: Good morning to you all and welcome to a new academic year!
Holy Angel University is a Catholic college that the Cardinal Newman Society recommended for our institutional commitment to faithful Catholic education. This morning, I would like to share with you excerpts from the Cardinal Newman Society’s message on the enduring character of the Catholic higher education institution, to which our fellow Newman colleges commit at the beginning of every school year.
Go teach! With these words, Jesus Christ sent His first disciples on a mission. That mission – the mission of the Catholic Church – is to reveal God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to all people and to teach them about the fullness of God’s love. As the General Directory for Catechesisstates, “Indeed, the primordial mission of the Church is to proclaim God and to be His witness before the world” (GDC, 23). Since the beginning of Christianity, Catholic education has been one of the most important ways in which the Church has carried out its mission. Catholic education, which includes not only education, but also formation and transformation, shares in a special way in the Church’s mission by proclaiming and witnessing Jesus Christ and His teachings. Therefore, Catholic education exists in order to evangelize.
This education manifests a foundational ontology, a basic sense of the human being—namely, that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God, are fallen because of original sin, and are redeemed by Jesus Christ. As we read from the Prophet Isaiah: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5 RSVCE). To understand, to teach, and to model this ontology are particular requirements of those entrusted with the Church’s educational mission. A teacher in a Catholic university is an apostolic worker of the Church. Thus, in large part the success of Catholic education depends upon the professional competence, quality, and above all, the commitment of the teacher to Christ. In relationship to the Church in particular, the teacher is not called to an unrealistic perfection but rather to continual growth in understanding and in appreciation for the Church in all Her dimensions.
In declaring Holy Angel University as a Catholic University in 1980, our then-Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz recognized that HAU has an integral and significant role in the positive presentation of the Catholic faith to the hearts of our students and to our society. Again, the primary purpose of Holy Angel University, without minimizing others, is evangelization. In the course of our educational programs and offerings, our teachers provide an essentially ecclesiastical ministry. As Canon 794 of the 1983 Code of Canon Lawsuccinctly states: “The Church has in a special way the duty and the right of educating, for it has a divine mission of helping all to arrive at the fullness of Christian life” (Canon 794, § 1).
As teachers of a Catholic University, we are, therefore, called upon for the express purpose of assisting women and men so that they can “arrive at the fullness of the Christian life.” Thus, in addition to our specific duties as university employees, we also share in the mission of the Church and therefore have the responsibility of fostering—through our instruction and in the lived reality of our lives—the values, principles, doctrines, and teachings of the Catholic Church or, at least, of never publicly contradicting them. In fulfilling our teaching ministry in the Church, we are called to:
In summary, the mission of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is the mission of the Catholic Church: to reveal God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to all people and to teach them about the fullness of His love. Catholic education, which includes education, formation, and transformation, exists in order to evangelize. Catholic education shares in a special way in the Church’s mission by proclaiming and witnessing Jesus Christ and His teachings.
This, my dear colleagues, is the collective confession and commitment that we renewed today at this Mass of the Holy Spirit. May the gifts and fruits of God the Holy Spirit equip us with wisdom as we discern the right way to do our work and fortitude as we strive to be faithful stewards of the trust that has been given to us as professionals.
Thank you and may you have a fulfilling academic year of transforming our students into persons of conscience, competence, and compassion – all for God’s greater glory.
Ad majorem Dei gloriam! Laus Deo semper! Praise be to God always!
Luis María R. Calingo, Ph.D.
June 26, 2019
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