[A New Year’s Message for the Community of the Ateneo de Davao University]
The shepherds “found Mary and Joseph and the Infant lying in a manger” (Lk 2:16). It was the sign through which they knew that the message of the angels heralded from on high was true, that “today in the city of David a savior has been born to you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Lk 2:11). When the time for his circumcision came, eight days after his birth “he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Lk 2:21).
On this eighth day after his birth, we celebrate Jesus, our Savior, and his mother, the Mother of God, and the new year 2022.
In this new year, through the intercession of Mary, our Patroness, we hope to:
- Continue to deal with COVID 19 as contributing to a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. We will need to go with the flow, elated by news of fewer infections, yet wary of the ongoing possibilities of new infections.
- Continue to deepen our shared commitment to the Vision and Mission of the University. To further integrate the need to work for a decent living with the need to participate in the mission of this Catholic, Jesuit, and Filipino University in Mindanao. To be continually grateful for and encouraged by those who decide daily to stay with us and to implement the mission with us, accepting its costs. To be patient with the steps that are being undertaken in grace by such as the ISFO to deepen this commitment. These include retreats in their various modes, recollections and caring circles.
- Continue to work to improve our instructional delivery as we move into a future of blended learning. This means to celebrate those who have been able to master the new technology required for successful instruction though excellent coarseware and to continue to encourage those who have yet to do so. Unto this end, continue to develop and support the ADDU Academy of Lifelong Learning (ADD-ALL) and the ADDU Internationalization for Mindanao (AIM) programs
- Continue to work on the implementation of the Renewed Province Plan (RPP) with it five thrusts:
Thrust 1: Foster integrity and accountability in our communities and institutions;
Thrust 2: Feed the hungry children and create sustainable livelihoods; this includes our Duyog program and the full development of the Malnutritian Intervention Alternatives (MIA);
Thrust 3: Summon our youth to engaged citizenship;
Thrust 4: Build faith-based hope and resiliency;
Thrust 5: Cultivate personal and institutional ecological conversion
even as the RPP is now integrated in our university strategic plan, One Ateneo, One Plan.
Here the intermeshed importance of administration, formation, instruction, research and outreach is to be appreciated.
- Continue to pursue the promise of the Mindanao Consortium of Ateneos (MCA) – XU, ADZU and ADDU – for improved Jesuit education in Mindanao based on the Jesuit mission.
- Continue to share our educational services with the Xavier Learning Center in Chiangrai, Thailand and with the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Institute of Higher Studies (SAG-IHS) in Taunggyi, Myanmar. Continue especially to stand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and the Jesuit mission there which we now formally share.
- Continue to confront the contradiction between faith and non-faith, belief and non-belief in Mindanao even as we ever more deeply appreciate the connection between faith and the diversity of faiths in Mindanao.
- Continue to confront the contradiction between faith and social injustice, as well as the contradiction between truth (faith, fact, science) and non-truth (lies, conspiracy theories, induced political blindness, historical revisionism and the like).
- In the face of the forthcoming elections, we pray to be able to provide through the ADDU and the MCA space for conversation and dialogue on making responsible choices for the May 2022 local and national elections. In the nation, we must show concern for the difference between democracy and autocracy and the need to make a sustained political choice between these two. In Mindanao, we must draw forth positions that show concern for (1) Enduring Peace, (2) Empowering Communities, (3) Ecological Sustainability, and (4) Economic Recovery in Mindanao.
- Pray and work for deep personal conversion in order to be enabled “To see all things new in Christ” as we continue to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius, look forward to the commencement of our Diamond Jubilee Year on June 28, 2022, and prepare to contribute to the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October aspiring to ”A Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.” As a Catholic university we wish to join all the members of the Church in walking together on the same path towards the fulfillment of God’s rule on earth in following Jesus, “the way, the truth and the light (Jn 14:6).
All this because we are convinced, Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. And because we know Mary, his mother and ours, intercedes for us.
Happy New Year 2022!