A VATICAN official is coming for the 10th International Council of Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas (Icusta) that will be held in the University next year in time for the UST Quadricentennial, the Office of the Rector has confirmed.

Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, and effectively a member of Pope Benedict XVI’s “Cabinet,” will be the special guest for the Icusta meeting on January 26 to 28, which coincides with UST’s Quadricentennial celebration.

Icusta is an international association of Catholic institutions of higher learning that adhere to the ideals and teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Father Rector Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., who currently heads the organization, had said that there are about 16 universities in the world named after St. Thomas Aquinas.

In letter to the Varsitarian, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Research Clarita Carillo, chair of the Icusta organizing committee, said President Benigno Aquino III has also been invited to deliver the keynote speech. But Aquino has not yet confirmed his attendance.

“We hope that Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, and Most Rev. Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales would accept our invitations to be the main (Mass) celebrants for the 26th and 27th, respectively,” Carillo added.

The theme of the conference is “The Role of Universities in Fostering Christian Principles in Public Life.”

Carillo said that delegates will identify and adopt common programs, projects and activities for Icusta universities; and forge mutual support strategies for joint courses of action.

“At least 24 foreign delegates have already confirmed their participation, representing 16 universities abroad,” Carillo said.

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Among them are Peadar Cremin, former president of Icusta and president of the Mary Immaculate College in Ireland, and Joseph McFadden, executive director of Icusta.

“Gerardo Rocha Jr., son of the founder of Icusta, will be here to give a message. Joining him are five other officials and representatives of the Angelicum Investments Co. and the Gerardo Rocha Foundation, institutions which have been supporting Icusta activities,” Carillo said.

Delegates will be treated to a cultural tour of Manila. They will also join the Quadricentennial Mass and grand dinner of UST alumni on January 28.

According to its official website stthom.edu, Icusta was founded in 1993 Chile by Dr. Gerardo Rocha Vera, the president of the UST Corporation in Chile. The group decided to expand and hold a biennial meeting, beginning in 1995 with the University of St. Thomas, in Houston, Texas. Since that time, the organization has expanded to its current membership of 25 institutions. UST of Manila hosted the conference in 1997.

After that, the meetings were held in Fredericton, Canada in 1999; Angelicum, Rome, in 2001; Mar del Plata in Argentina in 2003; Abat Oliba University in Barcelona, Spain in 2005; Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia in 2007; and a Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland, in 2009.

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  1. MANILA, Philippines – Pope Benedict XVI has named a replacement for Cebu Archbishop Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, an online report said Friday.

    A UCAN News report said the Pope has named Archbishop Jose Palma of Palo as the new head of the Archdiocese of Cebu, replacing Cardinal Vidal who has retired.

    Archbishop Palma is the vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

    Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, papal nuncio to the Philippines, relayed the news of Archbishop Palma’s appointment to Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, media director of the CBCP.

    “I wrote to inform you that the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has appointed His Excellency Most Rev. Jose S. Palma until now the Archbishop of Palo, as Archbishop of Cebu,” read the letter of Archbishop Adams dated October 14.

    Cardinal Vidal submitted his retirement papers to the Pope in February 2006 when he turned 75 years old. Canon law requires that Catholic bishops tender their resignation on their 75th birthday.

    Cardinal Vidal will continue to head Cebu archdiocese as Apostolic Administrator with powers of an ordinary bishop until Archbishop Palma’s installation.

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