[CEAP President’s Closing Statement: CEAP National Convention, SMX Center, Pasay, October 5, 2018.]
We have come to the end of a journey, yet we know we are still at its beginning. We came in response to a call to holiness: to journey from brokenness to wholeness especially in the running of our schools, each precious in the eyes of the Lord. We came having experienced that brokenness in the violence in our society, the dysfunctionality of our families, the attack on our schools by state policies skewed in favor of public schools, brokenness in our own personal discouragement, loss of direction, sin, desolation and sometimes even despair. We came seeking deliverance from the brokenness. But we have been reminded: our journey does not move unilinearly from this experienced brokenness to blessedness. Our journey on this earth does not end, but rather continues to find blessedness in ongoing tension with brokenness, in continuing to find in the brokenness of the Cross – which we are to take up daily – the hope of the resurrection; we journey with the Resurrected Lord still carrying his Cross.
During this journey, many of you approached me to thank me for the many projects that had been undertaken by CEAP or the many presentations of experts that challenge us to continue to strive for blessedness in our brokenness. Among these: the new manual on the implementation of our pillar JEEPGY programs, the vigorous implementation of the Philippine Catholic School Standards for Basic Education (PCSS-BE), the ongoing work on the Philippine Catholic School Standards for Higher Education (PCSS-HE), the ongoing advocacy with our partner organizations for State educational policies more supportive of our Catholic schools, the ongoing efforts to improve our educational outcomes in the light of our mission to be Catholic schools. You thanked me for precious insights shared: that our teachers are sanctifiers and agents of wholeness and holiness, that our schools as well as our families are seedbeds for priestly, religious and lay vocations, that we can traverse the landscapes of change and manage the transitions from elementary to high school to senior high school, from basic education to higher education, that our schools are loci of collaboration between those blessed with religious, priestly and law charisms, that these charisms can be harmonized through appropriate school leadership, that our schools are also spaces of encounter between young Christians and Muslims, spaces of multi-ethnicity and dialogue between cultures and religions, havens for special children and, even in the best of our schools, spaces for healing. We realized how “every saint has a past and every sinner has a future” in the personal testimony of Fr. Flaviano Villanueva. We appreciated how higher education must unshape its past and re-shape its future in meeting the present challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We appreciate how we can and must use social media as an instrument of evangelization.
We came together as a gift of grace, and in grace we took heart in one another in our presence in such great numbers, grateful for the blessedness of our awesome communio even in our brokenness. We thanked God for our students represented today by Jonas Ebades and Jorjani Sinsuat who in our schools experienced blessedness from brokenness. We thanked God for our heroes in this communio: Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, a hero of dialogue and peace, and as heroes of Catholic education, Ms. Anunciation Espejo and Dr. Sylvia Flores. We encountered one another anew in this light, even as we celebrated Eucharist together, and as Jesus did, took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples as a profound blessing for their lives. So too, we prayed that we be blessed, that we be broken, and that we become God’s blessing for the lives of those God sends to us in our schools. We prayed that this be our “Sanctificatio.”
And so, at this point, I ask you to respond. I ask you to respond freely and truthfully:
- As a grace of this 2018 CEAP National Convention, yes or no, are you willing in being broken to be a blessing for others in ongoing commitment to Catholic education as our God-given mission, in excellent administration of our schools, in dedicated delivery of humanistic and Catholic education to our learners and students, in service to our communities?
- As a grace of this 2018 CEAP National Convention, yes or no, are you willing in being broken to be a blessing for others by continuing to deepen our schools in their Catholicity by using the Phoenix-partnered Philippine Catholic School Standards for Basic Education and contributing to the articulation of the Philippine Catholic School Standards for Higher Education?
- As a grace of this 2018 CEAP National Convention, yes or no, are you willing in being broken to be a blessing for others in renewed commitment to our JEEPGY objectives using as our guide our new JEEPGY Manual 2018?
- As a grace of this 2018 CEAP National Convention, yes or no, are you willing in being broken to be a blessing for others in striving for a just political order, the preservation of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the preservation of our democratic institutions, the protection of human rights, the rejection of illegal drugs and corruption, the rejection of extrajudicial killings? Are you committed not just to stand by when human life is threatened, abused, or unjustly taken?
- As a grace of this 2018 CEAP National Convention, yes or no, are you willing to be broken to be a blessing for others in fighting for our schools, in coming together as a political constituency to fight the pernicious forces that would develop public education by crowding out, smothering, and strangling private education and to strengthen the political forces that would help our schools to further serve the common good?
- As a grace of this 2018 CEAP National Convention, yes or no, are you willing in being broken to being a blessing for others in working to repair the broken implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (RA 10934) insisting that its Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) and the Student Loan Program for Tertiary Education (SLPTE) be implemented immediately and with adequate resources to benefit the needy students in our schools?
- As a grace of this 2018 CEAP National Convention, yes or no, are you willing in being broken to be a blessing for others in using the social media as the new platform for evangelization and as a major means of effective advocacy for our schools?
In witnessing this commitment, we thank God for the grace of your presence, for the grace of your ongoing work in your schools, and for the grace of this National Convention.
In your name, we thank God for all the men and women who have contributed time and treasure to make this National Convention the grace-filled success it was: we thank our sponsors, our commercial partners-in-mission, our exhibitors, our benefactors, our hundreds of volunteers from our Catholic schools of Metro Manila who were our ushers, usherettes, singers, dancers, musicians, mass servers, and technicians, and last but not least our CEAP Program Committee and our CEAP National Secretariat.
Have a safe journey home. See you next year in Iloilo!
 The Philippine Catholic School Standards (PCSS) for Basic Education were developed and published by the CEAP in partnership with Phoenix Foundation.