Thursday, September 16, 2010

Go La Salle - fight!

Catholic schools’ job is to produce saints - Bishop Soc

MANILA, Philippines - The mark of a good Catholic school is not the capacity to produce celebrities, politicians or businessmen, Archbishop Socrates Villegas reminded the new president and new chancellor of De La Salle University (DLSU) on Tuesday.

Rather, he said, "it is the ability to create saints."

Quite a tall order for DLSU’s new president, Bro. Narciso S. Erguiza, and its new chancellor, Bro. Ricardo P. Laguda, who were formally installed Thursday night. "The duty of a Catholic school is not to produce celebrities - it is to produce holiness in society," Villegas said during the Mass celebrated an hour before Erguiza’s and Laguda’s investiture at the Most Blessed Sacrament Chapel on the university’s Taft Avenue campus.

"Let La Salle produce not just good businessmen. Let La Salle produce not just good public officials. Let La Salle produce saints," Villegas told the two, who assumed the posts vacated by Bro. Armin Luistro, now education secretary...
I've often teased some of my close Lasallite friends that Letran (my elem-high school alma mater), has already produced a Saint - San Vicente Liem De La Paz, who was martyred while on a mission. Four presidents also studied in Letran: Aguinaldo, Quezon, Osmena and Laurel. Well, there are also Hero-Letranites in Marcelo Del Pilar, Emilio Jacinto, Apolinario Mabini, and Francisco Balagtas. Bishop Soc by the way, was also my high school batchmate in Letran. Now, how about Lasalle? I tease my Atenean son too that Rizal wanted to study in Letran but he was not accepted, so he was kicked-out to Ateneo :-)

All in good-natured ribbing only, of course. La Salle continues with its tradition of academic excellence, and has consistently figured in honorable rankings among Asia's top universities. Being in HR, I know for a fact that IT and Engineering graduates from Lasalle are prized hires, and they do have a great track record in producing topnotch entrepeneurs. This is already a given, so that Bishop Soc was emphasizing the need for the university to produce saints. I remember our QC Councilor Joseph Juico - a self-professed devout Catholic, priding himself as a loyal LaSallite through and through, and yet he principally sponsored the controversial QC RH ordinance.

Now we have ex-LaSalle president Bro. Armin Luistro being thrust in the spotlight as Education Secretary. He is encountering a maelstrom in there, but it remains to be seen what would be his stand in the DepEd sex-education brouhaha. Tough. As this Sunday's gospel reads: "You cannot serve both God and mammon".

Lastly, LaSalle deserves credit for producing great basketball teams. I remember their basketball cheering chant during the NCAA heydays: "O when La Salle, goes marching in..." - an offshoot of the gospel hymn "O when the saints, goes marching in...". I guess they have to revisit that chant. Go La Salle!

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