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August 3, 2020

The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.

—Isaiah 11:2-3 (NABRE)

Most Reverend Paciano B. Aniceto, Archbishop Emeritus of San Fernando; Reverend Marvin P. Dizon, University Chaplain; and the Holy Angel University community: Good morning to you all and welcome to a new academic 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 Catechesis states, “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.

And what is our message?

There is an infinite, all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God who has revealed Himself by means natural and supernatural in creation, in the nature of man, in the history of the Israelite people, in the Spirit-inspired pages of the Sacred Scriptures, in the Good News of the incarnation, death and resurrection of the Son of God in Jesus Christ, in the witnessing of the apostles and their successors, and in the faith, life, communion, and mission of the Church.

Catholic education manifests a foundational belief in the basic nature 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. To understand, to teach, and to model this nature of man are particular requirements of those entrusted with the Church’s educational mission. “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).

The primary purpose of Holy Angel University, without minimizing others, is evangelization. Therefore, a teacher at our university is an apostolic worker, in another words, a lay minister of the Church. We share in the mission of the Church and have the responsibility of fostering — through our instruction and in the lived reality of our lives, inside and outside our campus — the values, principles, doctrines, and teachings of the Catholic Church or, at least, of never publicly contradicting them.

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, in fulfilling our teaching ministry in the Church, we recognize that, as human beings, we are called by God to a life of holiness. We acknowledge that, without diminishing our freedom, this call orients us to heed God in our thoughts, words, and deeds. We further recognize that this call is all the more compelling for us since, in our lives and vocations as teachers, non-teaching personnel, and administrators in a Catholic university, we have been entrusted with the task of helping students “arrive at the fullness of the Christian life.” This is why we say and continually affirm: “We are all about students.”

At no other time in our lives have our religious freedoms and our responsibility to live our faith ever been at risk. Through his martyrdom, Saint Thomas More gave witness to the inalienable dignity of the human conscience. Many years ago, the late Reverend Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Over the past few years, Holy Angel University spoke against extrajudicial killings as a violation of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person. We launched the ‘I AM REAL” campaign to combat fake news, which is a grave sin against charity. Our students started a grassroots initiative for voter education given that, in a democracy, we deserve the leaders who we elect.

Increasingly, many of our countrymen have been criticizing our clergy and our Catholic schools based on a faulty understanding of the separation of Church and State. Catholics who bring their moral convictions into public life do not threaten democracy but enrich them and the nation. The separation of Church and State does not require division between belief and public action, between moral principles and political choices, but protects the right of believers and religious groups to practice their faith and act on their values in public life.

In 1 Timothy 2, the Apostle Paul commands us to pray for our governing leaders. We are not to pray for their demise but for wisdom and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit. We pray in order that “we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

This, my dear colleagues, is the collective confession and commitment that we renewed today at this Mass of the Holy Spirit. May God the Holy Spirit grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to do the things that we can change, and the wisdom to know the difference. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NABRE)

Thank you and may you have a fulfilling academic year in transforming our students into persons of conscience, competence, and compassion – all for God’s greater glory. May you and your loved ones live in safety, good health, and happiness.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam! For the greater glory of God! Laus Deo semper! Praise be to God always!

Luis María R. Calingo, Ph.D.
University President

August 3, 2020

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