January 26, 6:30 p.m. -- THE THREE-day conference of the International Council of Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas (Icusta) formally opened this morning with a Concelebrated Mass at the Santisimo Rosario Parish led by Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.
President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered a short keynote speech, announcing that the Commission on Higher Education has ordered a moratorium on licenses for courses with too many students, such as nursing.
In his homily, Adams noted that the four landmarks of the University, the UST Main Building, the Central Seminary, the Arch of the Centuries, and the University’s open spaces, had been declared national treasures, “the first time in this country’s history where an educational institution received such recognition.”
But the Dominican fathers would have been “happier” if what the government recognized as a national treasure is the University itself.
“The University of Santo Tomas is a national treasure because its history coincides with the history of the Catholic Church in this country,” Adams said.
Thousands of alumni have been pioneers of different professions, inspiring and leading many movements and organizations, he added.
Adams further outlined reasons which make UST national treasure, saying that in its 400 years of existence, and despite the countless man-made and natural calamities that have visited it, “UST has remained alive” and "energized" by the dedication and devotion of the Thomasian community.
By being both old and new, traditional and contemporary, UST is a “classic," he said.
A “special kind of education,” Adams said, is also found in the University where, for the last four centuries, the “Christian message has been nurtured by studying.”
This offers every generation the opportunity to discover the truth about life and the whole of history which comes from a disciplined study guided by faith, he said.
Adams concluded his homily by congratulating all the members of Icusta for continuing to uphold the ideals of St. Thomas, “the vocation to be at the forefront of the intellectual formation of people.”
The 10th biennial meeting of Icusta, an international association of Catholic institutions that adhere to the ideals and teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, is being held alongside the Quadricentennial festivities. The University was chosen to host the conference in 2009 during the Icusta meeting in Ireland, where the Rector, Fr. Rolando de la Rosa was elected president.
Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver; Fr. Bruno Cadore, O.P., Master General of the Dominican Order; Peadar Cremin, former president of Icusta and president of the Mary Immaculate College in Ireland; and Joseph McFadden, executive director of Icusta attended the opening ceremonies.
Meanwhile, the Q Parade, held simultaneously with the Icusta opening, was joined by 7,200 students and 150 registered alumni.
The parade passed from UST to Morayta and then Recto and Mendiola. There were five floats, one each representing the four centuries of the University, and the "Q" float.
The first float represented the first century of the University with a replica of the statue of the founder, Msgr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P. The second float showed a model of the Arch of the Centuries. The third float was designed after the Main Building which was built on the España campus in the 1920s. The fourth float was patterned after the UST Central Seminary with the Fountains of Wisdom and Knowledge. The Q float showcased models of the yet to be unveiled Quattromondial, the future Martyrs' Monument, and the Tria Haec, or the statues representing faith, hope, and love atop the Main Building.
The first to fourth floats carried candidates for this year’s Search for the Ideal Thomasian Personalities (TSITP) while the Q float carried reigning Thomasian Personalities, Ms. Earth 2009 Angela Fernando, businessman Joel Cruz, and alumni who have won beauty pageant titles. Jilly Anne A. Bulauan with reports from Alexis Ailex C. Villamor, Jr.
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