An excerpt from the homily of Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, during the opening Mass for the 10th Biennial Conference of the International Council of the Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas last January 26 at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church.

AdamsONE YEAR ago, the Philippine government officially declared four landmarks of the University of Santo Tomas as national cultural treasures. This is the first time that an educational institution in this country has received such recognition. But the Dominican fathers and brothers would have been even happier if what the government recognized as a national treasure was the university itself.

The University of Santo Tomas is a national treasure because its history coincides with the history of the Catholic Church in this country. Thousands of alumni from this school have pioneered the different professions, have provided the original inspiration, and have given shape and substance to many movements and organizations.

This university is a national treasure because in its 400 years of existence—and despite the countless man-made and natural calamities that have visited it—UST has remained alive, continually energized by the enthusiasm of its students, by the passion for teaching research and help to the community of its faculty members and administrators, by the dedication and devotion of its support staff, and by the loyalty of thousands of Thomasian alumni.

The University of Santo Tomas is a classic university. A classic could be defined as something whose quality is outstanding and long-lasting, whose work and significance is almost timeless. It’s very old, but new; traditional but contemporary.

Thanksgiving Mass

Rightly, this university is named the University of Santo Tomas because it incarnates the teaching qualities of St. Thomas Aquinas—the quality which we describe in Latin as perennis, something that endures, that is classic, timeless, and forever timely.

The greatness of St. Thomas derives from his fidelity to the inspiration of St. Dominic, who wanted his followers to perform one neglected ministry in the Church. During his time, that ministry was the ministry of preaching. St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers to demystify the preaching process and to bring the saintly truth of the Gospel to as many who would listen to his preachers.

But there was one qualifier—such preaching had to be nourished by study. What we say, what we do—especially those who preach, those who would seek to present the authentic view of life found in the Gospel—need to be nourished by study. They need education, but a special kind of education—the education found in this University, where for the last 400 years, the Christian message has been nurtured and strengthened by study, disciplined study. The Christian message is concrete for everyone and, in all periods of human history, it offers every generation the opportunity to discover the truth—the truth about life, the truth about the goal of history. This work of discovery comes from study, but disciplined study. And that means study guided by faith.

This kind of study is not easy, but once undertaken, it’s there to motivate every Christian preacher—every Christian educator—to ensure that the power of God and His truth permeate what they preach, what they teach, what they say, and how they live.


Dear friends, this institution, during this last 400 years, has been an instrument of this disciplined study—study guided by faith. What this university has accomplished has come about not without great effort. Hundreds of Dominicans and their friends have devoted their lives to study and preaching this radical idea of the Christ.

On this 400th anniversary, we remember them and we thank God for them and ask Him to reward them for their sacrifice. That sacrifice continues now, in this university, through its rector, its administrators, its professors, and its teaching and non-teaching personnel as they seek to address the material, intellectual, and spiritual needs of this university’s community and beyond.

A particular responsibility of believing educators is to bring the discipline of faith to study. That’s what you do. Only in faith can truth have its way and can reason become truly human, capable of directing us along the path of what is right and true and good and beautiful.

This university, for the last 400 years, has played its part in bringing God and His love to this part of the world. It continues to do so. This venerable institution is a place in which God’s active presence in human affairs is recognized and in which every young person discovers the joy of entering into Christ’s love for another.

To all of you, I say, bear witness to Christ and His Gospel of love. Nourish that faith with prayer. Live fully the truth and the life you propose to your young people. Help them to know and love the one you have encountered, the one you have contemplated and studied in prayer, whose truth and goodness you have experienced with such joy.

The Making and Unveiling of a Masterpiece


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