Christ’s Mission To Set The Whole Earth Ablaze With His Love

By: Ping Javier

Context:

The Filipinization of the Church was once of the most prominent, if secondary, aspirations of the Revolution. Indeed, the nationalist movement of the 19th century took its reise from the desire of Filipino priests—headed by Fr. Jose Burgos to supplant the Spanish friars in the parishes. Though the Aglipayan schism and the entrance of American Protestant denominations shook the Roman Catholic Church, she retained the nominal adherence of the immense majority of Filipinos in the twentieth century. When American rule established itself here in the Philipppines during the turn of the century, the education of the Filipinos underwent a dramatic change with the establishment of the public school system. “under the very guns of the American troops schools were established; wherever the American flag went a school was found. As the church was the symbol of the Spanish, so the school has been the symbol of American civilization. And the people of the Islands have been no less eager for the opportunities of the education than they were for the services of the Christian Church.”

With the coming of the Americans, they brought with them their ideals of democracy, universality and practicality. There was their principal tenet of freedom of religion that resulted in the abolition of religion classes. Whereas during the Spanish colonial period, the teaching of religion was compulsory, in the American public school system, its teaching was markedly forbidden.

Significant in the development of the public school system was the arrival in August of 1900 of the troop vessel Thomas in the Philippines. With it came the largest number of hand—picked and trained American teachers. There were more than 600 of them. They were sent with the sole purpose of educating the Filipinos. These teachers, called THOMASITES after the ship that brought them here.

The first decade of American rule can be characterized as troubled years. The Catholic Church in the Philippines watched its flock lured into American Protestantism and she was almost helpless in coping with the prohibitions of religious instruction in public schools. It was only in the private schools established by the Catholic religious that Catholicism and Catholic culture were planted and perpetuated…Private education may be divided into sectarian and nonsectarian, the sectarian having to do with those educational institutions which are under the control and management of religious organization or bodies, Catholic, Protestants, Aglipayan, the nonsectarian having to do with those institutions which are undertaken by partnerships, or corporations or men of energy, of ideals, and of vision without particular religious color.

The Catholic schools founded during the Spanish period continued to function during the early years of the American rule. The continuance of these older Catholic institutions under Spanish religious to maintain Spanish as its language of instruction imposed difficulties among its graduates. Inept in the English language, these graduates found a hard time looking for jobs in a society that had turned to English as its LINGUA FRANCA.
To answer this prevailing situation to maintain religious instruction using English as Lingua Franca especially to Catholic schools and seminaries and establishing works of charity or assisting their brother congregations here also ushered in the founding of more Catholic private schools. Religious congregations had been brought from northern Europe between 1905 and 1910: the Irish Redemptorists, Dutch and Belgian Scheut Fathers (C.I.C.M.), the German Divine Word Missionaries (S.V.D.), and the Dutch Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (M.S.C.), and the Mill Hill Missionaries (M.H.M.). The C.I.C.M.’s and S.V.D.’s devoted themselves primarily to the non-Christian peoples of the Cordillera and of Abra…  On the other hand, the role of religious women during this period in the light of the furtherance of Catholic education should be cited such as: ICM sisters (1910) who joined the CICM’s, the Holy Spirit sisters (1912) who joined the SVD’s, the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres (1904), the Benedictine Sisters (1906), the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (1912), and the Good Shepherd Sisters (1912).

In particular the CICM priests did not waste anytime in their mission of evangelization. They built schools that will educate young Filipino people in the faith does  St. Louis University in Baguio (c. 1910), then Paco Catholic Sschool in Manila (1912), PASIG CATHOLIC COLLEGE (1913) to name a few.

Education is another area where the religious are heavily involved. And many schools ran by religious orders have distinguished themselves by their high standard. In the 1925 report of the Monroe Commission which surveyed the educational system of the Philippines had good words for religious – run schools: “The Church has, in many places visited by the commission, the necessary plant in the form of convents and monasteries in part of which schools can be installed. It has a devoted body of nuns and fathers who with instruction might become efficient teachers.”

Filipinization (from Religious to Diocesan Supervision)
In 1958, a dispute arose over the Filipinization of Schools Bill (Senate Bill No. 38; House Bill 222) which sought to prohibit foreigners from heading Philippine Schools and teaching the social sciences in Philippine Schools. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Roseller Lim, in the Senate and by Congressman Manuel Enverga in the house. “Inspite of almost four centuries of Catholicism in our country, our religious priests and nuns are only assistants of foreigners in our land. In our Catholic education set-up our Filipino Bishops and Archbishops have very little, if any, control over our catholic schools, colleges and universities. The heads of the foreign religious orders are lording over us…” the bill was opposed by the CEAP on the ground that it was against the liberty and rights of the Church.

A Church in Transition:
Diocesan Priests and Lay in Mission to Catholic Education.

In the Sacrament of BAPTISM we share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ who is Priest par excellence. Priesthood is divided into two: Common and Ministerial. Ministerial Priesthood is for the Ordain people. This is the Spirituality of a Priest in particular for the Diocesan clergy. The Spirituality of Diocesan Priests is to share in the function of the Local Ordinary (Diocesan Bishop). It is the deep sense of relationship between the priests and Bishop and vice versa. The Diocesan Priests share in the function of the Bishop/s in SHEPHERDING, SANCTIFYING AND TEACHING authorities. By virtue of the sacrament of Initiation the lay has the right and duty to help the Church in her mission of Evangelization including secular concerns.

“Perfect schools are the result not so much of good methods as of good teachers, teachers who are thoroughly prepared and well grounded in the matter they have to teach; who possess the intellectual and moral qualification required by their important office; who cherish a pure and holy love for the young confided in them, because they LOVE JESUS CHRIST and HIS CHURCH.” Therefore, a Catholic lay Teacher in a parochial school must be and should be a lover of the Church in the context of the local church and with a deep sense of commitment in developing an authentic character of the young.

PCCians a gift to the Local Church of PASIG

The Second Plenary Council states that “It is impossible to think of the Philippines      becoming what it is today without (i.e. Catholic Schools, colleges, and universities) contribution” (PCP II 622).

Pasig Catholic College was established to be a concrete manifestation of Christ’s mission of proclaiming God’s Kingdom. This Kingdom of God can be expressed through Evangelization. Throughout the years and in the dawn of PCC’s centenary Christ mission echoes in all areas of PCC’s operation to make Jesus Known and Loved. PCC provide the venue for a systematic reflection of one’s experience of being evangelized by others, such as the family and the parish. Every PCCian must be a PARISH ORIENTED PERSON, he/she must be a member of any mandated and non-mandated organizations of his/her parish.

“ABLAZE IN MISSION”

Mission is Evangelization. The effective tool for Evangelization is the School. We ask this fundamental question: Have we been faithful to the mission of evangelization through our curriculum, programs and activities for the past one hundred years? “Paul VI’s notion of evangelization faithfully restates Christ’s teaching, the Church’s tradition, and the insights of the Second Vatican Council. It is a comprehensive notion which avoids the pitfall of overemphasis on one or other aspect of this complex reality, to the detriment of others. In Pope Paul’s view, evangelization includes those activities which dispose people to listen to the Christian message, the proclamation of the message itself, and the catechesis which unfolds the riches of truth and grace contained in the kerygma. Moreover, evangelization is directed not only to individuals but also to cultures, which need to be regenerated by contact with the Gospel. Human development and liberation are integral parts of this evangelizing mission, but they are not identical with it, and they are not the end of evangelization. Paul VI was clear about the fact that evangelization cannot be reduced to a merely temporal project of human betterment. It must always include a clear and unambiguous proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who brings that “abundant life” (Jn. 10:10) which is no less than eternal life in God.”

PCC’s RESPONSE TO THE CALL FOR EVANGELIZATION

Borne from the heart of the Church is Catholic Schools. Every Catholic School, as Catholic Institution is an academic community which advocates protection and advance of human dignity and of cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to local, national and international communities.

We are move therefore to celebrate the Past but also look forward to a Future where we can give only the best catholic education to young people.

The Holy Father in “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” as a challenge states that:

“Every Catholic University, as a university, is an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local, national and international communities.”

As we celebrate our Centenary, we need to discern as an institution. Are we making a difference as the only College in the Diocese of Pasig in local, regional or even in the national and international communities? not only in terms of academic achievement but in the protection and bulwark of morality of human dignity as well as exercising the tradition of Catholicity into day to day living?.
“Since the objective of a Catholic University is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture, every Catholic University, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics:”
1. a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such;
2. a continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research;
3. fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church;
4. an institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life”
Let me contextualized the above mentioned characteristics of a Catholic Institution from the “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” to the spirit of Catholic Education in the Philippines and the missionary service of Pasig Catholic College to the Church.

  1. Ecclesial and Missionary

             PCC shares in the “Church’s mission of evangelization, that is, to proclaim the Good News of Salvation to all”. It provides education in the faith that leads every member of the school community to value the human person, and to be of service to the Kingdom of God. In a Catholic school, every member of the school community experiences personal conversion and is empowered to lead others to Jesus Christ and becomes an agent of transformation in society. Thus, a Catholic school provides a culture and environment that nurtures the Catholic faith.

  1.  Christ centered Paschal Mystery

 The Spirit of Jesus Christ permeates all of the school community’s life through the integration of God, His truth, His Church’s teachings and life in every aspect of academic life. Every member grows in his/her personal relation with God and in his/her love of the Church. Thus, they are able to see God in all experiences in the school, i.e., in the different people, in the curricular and co-curricular activities, and in the school’s physical surroundings.
In being filled with the Spirit of Christ, the school community places the Eucharist at the center of its life, and the whole school community journeys together towards holiness. In the process, they live Christian lives where faith is expressed in being of service to others, and a dialogue of faith and culture is promoted.

  1. Concern For Integral Formation

             A Catholic School and in particular PCC (emphasis is mine) is a privileged place wherein integral formation occurs through a living encounter with Jesus Christ. Thus, “the purpose of instruction is the development of the person from within, freeing him/her from that conditioning which would prevent him/her from becoming fully integrated human being. The Catholic school’s educational program is intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person.” Thus, a Catholic school provides holistic formation programs – spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, physically, socially, and culturally – that will enable the students to make Christian choices and decisions in all aspects affecting their life. Furthermore, a Catholic school faithfully participates in the works of justice, peace, solidarity and care for creation.

  1. Responsible Stewardship of the Young

             “Let teachers recognize that the Catholic school depends upon them almost entirely for the accomplishment of its goals and programs. They should therefore be very carefully prepared both in secular and religious knowledge so they are equipped with suitable qualifications and also with pedagogical skill that is in keeping with the findings of the contemporary world. Intimately linked in charity to one another and to their students and endowed with an apostolic spirit, may teachers by their life as much by their instruction, bear witness to Christ, the unique Teacher.” Thus, in a Catholic school, educators are witnesses of faith as they consciously live a life of integrity characterized by fidelity to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church. In so doing, they are co-formators of faith with one another, and lead their students to know, love and serve Jesus Christ and His people.

  1. Collaboration With The Community

             A Catholic School recognizes the “primary and principal role of parents as educators of their children”. Moreover,, “the cooperation required for the realization of this aim is a duty in conscience for all the members of the community, teachers, parents, pupils, administrative personnel.” Thus, a Catholic school forges a strong collaboration with the outside community, i.e., the families of the students and the parish. The school assists and supports parents in fulfilling their primary role in the Christian education of their children. Furthermore, the Catholic school serves the larger community through its active participation in the activities of the parish to where it belongs. Similarly, the Catholic school encourages all members of its school community to participate in the activities of their respective parishes. Therefore, collaboration between the school and community leads them to maximize their resources for their mutual growth as Church.

Our Centennial celebration is at the forefront of the five hundred years of Christianity in the Philippines (1521-2021) it also coincides with the declaration of Pope Benedict XVI YEAR OF THE FAITH (October 2012-November 2013), the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, it also marks the 20 years of the promulgation and publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the implementation of the New Roman Missal, the Silver Anniversary of the Canonization of St. Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila (1987-2012) and the Canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod de Cebu in October in time for the 13th synod of Bishops in Rome. Thus, we are challenge to contribute to Christ’s mission to set the whole earth ablaze with His love.

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Board of Educational Survey, A Survey of the Educational System of the Philippine Islands (Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1925), 12.
Crisostomo A. Yalung. A pilgrimage in Time Volume II. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, Intramuros, 2000. p. 265.
Ibid. 269.
Schumacher, op, cit., 350.
Ibid. 402.
Crisostomo A. Yalung. A pilgrimage in Time Volume II. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, Intramuros, 2000. p. 271.
As cited in Schumacher, op. cit., 364.
Roseller T. Lim, Church Leadership in the Republic of the Philippines (undated).
Legaspi, Leonardo, Passion for Catechesis; A Collection of Catechetical Talks and Articles, UST; 2007 p. 137.
Address of the Pope John Paul II to the Federation of the Asian Bishops’ Conference. San Carlos Seminary, Manila. 1995.
John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities: Introduction. Vatican, 1989, p.1 
Ibid. no.12 letter A.
Ibid. part 1. no. 12.
Ibid. part 1. no. 13.
Excerpt from Santos, Gerry; Talk on Transformation, Lipa, 2011.

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