(Address to those promoted from ADDU’s Junior High School to Senior High School, ADDU Matina Campus, April 5, 2016)
As I congratulate you and your parents on your graduation from the Ateneo de Davao University’s Junior High School today, allow me to share the hopes of our University in you as move on the Senior High School.
We hope that you, first, continue on the road to be educated leaders in society for the common good or for the Kingdom of God especially for Mindanao – the Ateneo de Davao sui generis leaders that are specially trained according to the vision and mission of the Ateneo de Davao. We have had many leaders formed in our Ateneo halls in the past. Unfortunately many of them have been leaders merely for private good or for the Kingdom of Money. We hope that you will become leaders who are proudly university educated, not leaders who will act without thinking. We hope that you will serve the common good.
Secondly, we hope that through your ongong education, you may express your faith through commitment to justice. Faith is a real relationship we have with the real God; real, it is willing to translate that relationship into life, into action. This faith cannot be comfortable with a society that is filled with injustice. You, we hope, shall be persons of faith who do justice, including social justice, leading to the common good.
We hope, thirdly, that you shall positively contribute to belief in our increasingly secular and disturbingly secularistic world. In this confusing world, we hope that you shall be able in freedom to live your belief according to conscience in religious freedom.
Fourthly, we hope that you shall be increasingly able to engage in dialogue with people of different faiths and cultures and work for peace. In this world of diverse religions, we hope that you enter into the realm of inter-religious dialogue where it is possible for Christians to talk to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, to our peoples of indigenous faiths, as well to atheists and agnostics alike. We hope you shall learn to handle yourselves in a diverse world of belief – so that in the diversity, you find confirmation for your own faith and convictions.
Fifth, we hope you live out and promote environmental stewardship. Through Ecoteneo you have shown yourselves outstanding here. We hope you take issue with those who would engage in environmental destruction, in large-scale mining, in toxic aerial spraying, in deforestation, in the lack of urban planning; we hope that because of your training you take care of shared common home.
Sixth, in a situation where there is still so much poverty – 40%-plus poverty in Mindanao, near 60% poverty in Muslim Mindanao, we hope you, through your entrepreneurial spirit, can produce wealth not just for the few who are wealthy and rich. We hope you shall be able to produce wealth and at the same time ensure that it is equitably distributed among the marginalized and excluded.
Seventh, we hope you can work for and with vulnerable communities for their development.. The Lumads are being murdered because of interests coming from an aggressive type of development; among the vulnerable communities is the Muslim community.
Eighth, since this is a Jesuit and Catholic school, we hope you shall grow in your ability to serve the Roman Catholic Church. But in serving the Roman Catholic Church, also, to pursue principles of religious freedom and religious inclusiveness.
Finally, we hope that you shall be willing to contribute to the promotion of educational reform. You will be part of the first national cohort of SHS students – hopefully at ADDU’s own SHS. Making this experience successful will contribute greatly to educational reform. Using your experience to improve it will make that contribution even more significant.
Ultimately we hope in the power of the Lord. Through Mary, may the Spirit make you strong in the faith – fortes in fide. Strong in the faith, may you find fulfillment in service of others, in being men and women for others.
With your classmate Jandi Navales, RIP, who in the Lord’s Resurrection continues to remain part of you, we welcome the new dawn, the ongoing and unending Bukang Liwayway.