LAST year, the University welcomed its freshmen by letting them enter through the Arch of the Centuries. Before the Baccalaureate Mass last March 24, the cycle was completed as the graduates of 2003 bade goodbye to the University by exiting out of the arch.

In his homily, Rector Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P. urged the University’s 4,709 graduates to “be peacemakers in a world constantly threatened by the viciousness of men.”

Using sand castles as an analogy, the Rector said that a sandcastle, like dreams, does not last long because it is soon washed away by the sea. But the sandcastle will be cherished in memory.

“How long will the sand castle last? Perhaps until the receded seawater goes back to its level on the shore and washes it away completely. The sandcastle becomes as good as a shattered dream,” Fr. Lana said. “But will the sandcastle, when finally washed ashore, be gone forever? Maybe not, for surely it would thrive in memory, and the vestiges left by those who built the castle.”

Fr. Lana stressed that realizing dreams comes through the concerted efforts of different individuals.

He also warned that these dreams can be destroyed by “imponderable means crafted by human ingenuity.”

“Many of them appear massive and indestructible as the old palaces and fortresses of the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations and the American Twin Towers of recent times,” Fr. Lana narrated. “But where are they now? What happened to the symbols of economic power that aimed to control the world? Razed to the ground.”

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Like sandcastles, Fr. Lana said the fallen structures are forever etched in memory and will continue to captivate the minds of generations to come.

Furthermore, Fr. Lana expressed concern that the dreams representing peace, unity, and solidarity would just remain as dreams because of conflicts happening around the world, especially in the Middle East.

“Faced by the sad reality of war going on in Iraq, we once again realize how vulnerable the world has become and how elusive peace is because of differences in cultures, beliefs, moral persuasions that result in mistrust and hostilities in the hearts of men,” Fr. Lana said.

He explained that when stubbornness prevails over peace, there occur hostilities and war.

“How many more lives, especially innocent ones, will be wasted in this on-going bloody confrontation? We could only pray that this will come to a quick end, and would not cause much suffering to many who are already burdened by the adversities of life,” he said.

Despite the crises happening around the world, the Rector put his faith in the graduating batch. Emphasizing that the University was a key factor in their formation, he said the values they imbibed in the University –– the pursuit of the truth and love for others, will come out as competence in their chosen fields, compassion for others, and commitment to their profession. Fr. Lana challenged them to know their roles in the society so they can contribute to the promotion of unity.

The Rector also asked the graduates to support the University and its mission. He cited a group of young alumni who sponsored the scholarship of an elementary student.

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“These little generous acts coming from young grateful hearts bring hope to a world that is starving for compassion and love. They may be insignificant acts in the eyes of the world, and yet when linked with many more insignificant ones can make a long, long bridge to connect and bring people together on whom peace and unity will certainly take a stronghold.” Billy Joe I. Allardo

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