MANILA, NOVEMBER 8, 2003 (STAR) AT 3:00 A.M.By James B. Reuter, S.J. - On Nov. 27, 1928, the Sacred Congregation on Universities and Seminaries, based in the Vatican, by the authority of Pope Pius XI, issued the decree "QUOD IAM PROVIDE" for the establishmment of the Central Seminary of the University of Santos Tomas as the Interdiocesan Seminary of the Philippines.

So on Thursday, Nov. 27, this month, this year, the Central Seminar of UST will celebrate its 75th anniversary, its diamond jubilee. The Dominicans, facing reality squarely, are taking this occasion to promote, as strongly as they can, the renewal of the clergy in the Philippines.

They began this campaign a year ago, when they hosted the National Consultation Congress on Seminary Formation, from Nov. 22 through Nov. 24, 2002. The keynote address was delivered by Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Archbishop Quevedo said: "Seminaries have to form a new breed of priests, servant leaders, with credible lifestyles, ways of thinking, valuing, relating with the poor, and shepherding. They must be like Christ. this is the challenge to seminary formation in the new millennium."

For that Consultation Congress, the Dominicans mustered very strong speakers: Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, of Imus Cavite; Msgr. Gerardo Santos, Father Filemon de la Cruz, O.P. and Msgr. Mylo Vergara of Manila; and Father Daniel Patrick Huang, the Superior of San Jose Seminary in Quezon City.

The celebration of the Diamond Jubilee will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 1 p.m., when the Dominican priests and seminarians will meet with the lay alumni of the Central Seminary! Men who entered the seminary, but left, to become the fathers of families. Many of these ex-seminarians are leading very apostolic lives, doing their best to bring God to men, and men to God. They will be given a chance to reminisce with their Dominican mentors. Very often, years spent in a seminary are an excellent preparation for facing the hardshps of the world.

At 4 p.m. Father Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., the former Rector Magnificus of the University of Santos Tomas, will deliver a Conference on: "Remembering the Past with Gratitude. Living the Present with Enthusiasm." In the wake of the sexual scandals that have besieged the church, and the call for renewal ten years after the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Father de la Rosa will share his reflections on the challenges to priestly life and ministry, and on the challenges to the conscientious layman of our day.

The Eucharistic Celebration will take place at 5:30 p.m. Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi, O.P., former Rector Magnificus of the University of Santo Tomas, and the present Archbishop of Caceres, will be the main celebrant at the Mass. It will be followed by dinner and the Jubilee Awards. On the second day, Thursdays, Nov. 27, the Mass will be said for the Alumni homecoming at Villa Escudero. Bishop Patricio Buzon, of the Salesian Society of Don Bosco, will be the main celebrant.

On the third day, Friday, Nov. 28, at 8:30 in the morning, Father Tamerlane lana, O.P., the present Rector Magnificus of UST, will give a talk on "Forming a New Breed of Priests". The title of his talk is "Looking Forward to the Future with Confidence". On the panel to reflect on this will be: Father Honorato Castigador, O.P., the Rector of the Central Seminary; Professor Romulo Hermida of the Ateneo de Manila University; and Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan, the Archbishop of Tuguegarao.

The theme of the Diamond Jubilee is Renewal. This renewal involves an honest acceptance of weaknesses and limitations and the cost of letting go of old ways, dying to old selves, daring to risk new and unfamiliar paths and patterns.

Archbishop Antonio Franco, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, will be the main celebrant at the concluding Eucharistic Celebration. The Mass will take place at 10:30 a.m., to be followed by the final dinner. The Symphony Orchestra of UST will play at this time, and the "Coro Tomasino" – like the good wine at Canada – will close the celebration.

Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, O.M.I., President of the CBCP, says:

"We all know of course that the age of the UST Seminary goes way beyond the span of a simple diamond anniversary. We are all truly grateful for the outstanding contributions of the UST Seminary to the life and growth of the Church in the Philippines. Recalling the past 75 years, God has made his presence felt in UST Central Seminary. He has lavished the riches of his grace on this seminary with thousands of graduates through the years who served in parishes and taught in seminaries, gave retreats, and most of all taught others about God. UST Central Seminary has continued to contribute immensely to the life and growth of the Church in the Philippines. A great number of its graduates became Bishops. They were the first leaders of the Church in the Philippines. They lead their flock zealously, faithfully, and wisely."

Father Daniel Patrick Huang, S.J., the Rector of San Jose Seminary, says:

"I am edified by the way you chose to open your jubilee celebrations: not in a burst of triumphalism and self-congratulation. There is thanksgiving and celebration present, the emphasis has been to reflect on our life and mission as a seminary. So I thank you too for teaching us the way to celebrate anniversaries: an occassion for thanksgiving and renewal."

To contact the Central Seminary:

* Cellphone: Sem.Jek 0917-4562558

Sem. Benjo 9017-9534341

* Telefax: 731-1066 or 740-9715

* E-mail: cparadajr@yahoo.com


* Website: www.centralseminary.com/ust_alpa.asp

The challenges to the Catholic clergy, which have been sweeping over us like a tidal wave, have had one good effect. The Bishops, priests and seminarians are examining their conscience, trying to serve the children of God, reaching out to the poor, and making an effort – as far as in them lies – to become like Christ Our Lord.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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