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December 24, 2019

Greetings to the students and alumni, faculty and staff, and administrators and trustees of Holy Angel University on this Nativity of the Lord!

Let us join together in thanking God for all the blessings that Holy Angel University has received during this year 2019. There are too many of them to mention, but I would like mention one in particular. We are ending the year with our first-ever affirmation as a GREAT UNIVERSITY TO WORK FOR with our recognition by the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) as the 2019 PMAP Employer of the Year for the Luzon Region — one of only three such awardees in the nation.

WE ARE ALL ABOUT STUDENTS! The ultimate evidence of our institutional quality and effectiveness is the success of our graduates once they start engaging the outside world. The exemplary performance of our students and alumni in professional licensure examinations, national competitions, and the workplace shows that we are moving in the right direction. We celebrate our collective accomplishments as we strive to achieve greater academic quality and organizational excellence, to become an authentic instrument for countryside development, to be a great university to work for, and to serve as a role model of faithful Catholic education. Thank you for joining us in our journey to the summit of our Mount Everest.

For most of us, the Christmas holiday season is a time to rekindle family traditions or create new ones. Yet many of our countrymen are not as fortunate as they may have lost a loved one, or they may not have a roof over their heads, or they may be wondering about whether they will have another meal or whether they will see the light of another day. We ask you to join us in prayer for the upliftment of our less fortunate countrymen.

Let us include in our Christmas reflections the state of mental health among our youth, in particular our own students and the young dear to us. Let them know that, in their darkest hour and loneliest of moments, they are not alone. They have an all-loving and merciful Jesus to accompany them in their suffering; all that they have to do is ask (Mat 7:7). In Jesus Christ, we find our perfect and most credible companion as we all know that He endured undue suffering: physical pain that is impossible for us to fathom, temptation that He perfectly resisted, and betrayal by His closest friends, just to name a few examples. Every Christian should be able to readily identify with Jesus Christ’s suffering.

The words of the Prophet Isaiah are of particular relevance here:

He was spurned and avoided by men,
a man of suffering, knowing pain,
Like one from whom you turn your face,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.
Yet it was our pain that he bore,
our sufferings he endured.
We thought of him as stricken,
struck down by God and afflicted,
But he was pierced for our sins,
crushed for our iniquity.
He bore the punishment that makes us whole,
by his wounds we were healed. [Is 53:3-5]

Let us, therefore, pray that God will grant us the grace to strengthen the gift of faith that we first received during our Baptism within not only us, but most especially our youth. As we ponder of the Nativity scenes in our midst, let me share with you the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis in his apostolic letter Admirabile Signum (1 December 2019):

When, at Christmas, we place the statue of the Infant Jesus in the manger, the nativity scene suddenly comes alive. God appears as a child, for us to take unto our arms. Beneath weakness and frailty, he conceals his power that creates and transforms all things. It seems impossible, yet it is true: in Jesus, God was a child and in this way he wished to reveal the greatness of his love: by smiling and opening his arms to all.

On behalf of the management and trustees of Holy Angel University and of my family, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Laus Deo Semper!

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