July 16, 2011 is the first day of the yearlong celebration of the Lasallian presence in thePhilippines. Congratulations, La Salle Brothers and lay partners! Fittingly, the day began with a beautiful Eucharistic celebration — the Centennial Opening Mass — at the Most Blessed Sacrament Chapel, where St. La Salle’s relic was also enshrined.
The various elements of the opening mass were all beautiful, including the presence of the Brothers (several of whom I’ve missed) and the majestic voices of the DLSU Chorale accompanied by the Manila Symphony Orchestra, but what surprised me was the stunning homily of Reverend Luis Tagle, Bishop of Imus, who also sits on the Boards of DLS-Dasma and DLS-HSI. The Gospel reading was from Matthew 18:1-5, where Jesus told the disciples, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” How fitting the day’s Gospel reading is to the centennial celebration of an institute of Brothers and lay partners whose raison d’etre is to provide human and Christian education for the poor. What struck me in the homily was Bishop Tagle’s statement to the effect that the mark of Catholic education is the living, loving contact between teacher and student. It reminded me of the realization that the FORMDEV faculty facis had yesterday, that building relationships with students is a miraculous yet integral aspect of Lasallian pedagogy.
After the mass, President Noynoy Aquino gave a speech in which he thanked the La Salle Brothers for the support they gave his mother, President Cory Aquino, and also whistleblower Jun Lozada. He also thanked Lasallian educators in the Philippines for teaching and molding men and women for God and country.
After the President’s speech, I saw some FORMDEV facis and together we participated in the “countdown” to 12:00 noon (see photo) and then had a wonderful time together over lunch and delicious desert (a Korean delicacy of ice cream- and red bean-filled wafer – yum!).
After that we joined the staff, faculty, and students of the College of Computer Studies in marching along Taft Avenue and waving at everyone who passed by. The day was capped by a fireworks display, which I was able to enjoy from my balcony (see photo). 🙂
May the yearlong centennial celebration be as blessed as this day!