[Address. ADDU College Graduation, April 6, 2019]
In the 70th year of the ADDU, in the Church’s Year of the Youth, where we celebrate you beloved, gifted and empowered as college graduates of the Ateneo de Davao University, I would like to take this last opportunity of addressing you to remind you of what is expected of you as graduates of the ADDU.
You graduate from Ateneo de Davao University with its particular vision and mission. This includes its being a Catholic, Jesuit and Filipino university in the service of the faith, the promotion of justice, sensitivity to cultures, inter-religious dialogue, and the protection and promotion of the environment. It challenges you to participate in the Father’s work of reconciling humanity with himself, of reconciling humanity with humanity, and of reconciling humanity with Creation that can only happen through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
In this context, we expect that through your studies, personal reflection and growth here at the Ateneo de Davao you have imbibed the values and challenges of that mission and vision. Let me mention nine distinct points:
First: you are to be educated leaders in society for the common good, especially in Mindanao. You are to be learned, not ignorant; competent, not inept; life-long learners not dated has-beens. You are to be ADDU sui generis leaders: leaders for the good of all with no exception, not just leaders for private benefit.
Second, you are to live your faith through your commitment to justice, especially social justice.
Third, you are to contribute to belief in God in a secular world.
Fourth, you are to engage in dialogue with peoples of different faiths and cultures – and work for peace. This, especially today in Mindanao. Labor to let the one God bring together differing faiths in peace; labor to let one humanity harmonize cultural and ethnic divides. Be guided by the Document on Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmad Al Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi last February 5, 2019.
Fifth, you are to live out and promote environmental stewardship. For this, you do not need to be Greenpeace volunteers. But you can cut your use of fossil fuels, and cut your use of single-use plastics; you can insist on substantial green spaces in our city and work urgently to protect our fresh air and our sources of fresh water wherever you are.
Sixth, through your spirit of entrepreneurship, you are to fight poverty not by pity and dole outs, but by producing wealth and insisting on its equitable distribution. Use your knowledge of science, technology, sociology, and entrepreneurship to find innovative solutions to problems in society that can start-up and inspire new industries beneficial to all.
Seventh, you are to work for and with vulnerable communities for their development. In Mindanao today, this means especially with the Lumad communities.
Eighth, as Catholics, you are to serve the Roman Catholic Church, or as peoples of other faiths, you are to serve your religious communities, with the openness that allows you to be confirmed and enriched in your faith as you encounter the life and holy witness of believers in other faiths.
Ninth, you are to promote educational reform. Promote access to quality education. Promote genuine complementarity between public and private education.
Finally, be happy. You are Ateneo graduates beloved, gifted and empowered. Be happy in your relationship with God and others. Be happy in the integrity and fullness of your life. Be happy in the generosity of your love!