PROPOSALS seeking to transform society are “bound to fail” as they ignore Christ and are not guided by the Holy Spirit, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle said on the last day of a three-day University retreat.

He also called on UST to pursue its mission “to mirror to the wider society the picture of renewed humanity.”

“From the perspective of faith, true renewal of the history of structures, of creation and of humanity, will happen only through the action of God,” Tagle said in a one-hour talk during the “Neo-centennial Retreat” held from Feb. 22 to 24 at the Quadricentennial Pavilion.

Renewal and mission is a good way to continue reaping the fruits and graces of the University’s 400th year, the prelate also said before some 2,000 administrators, faculty members, and support staff.

He warned that proposed programs of renewing the society that eliminate God would make things worse, adding that what are needed are personal and structural renewal in Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Meanwhile, Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., Rector of UST, said in his homily at the closing Mass on the same day that everyone’s mission in life is “to change for the better, to be renewed, to be transformed, and to become a better person.”

“Habang tayo ay buhay, ang misyon natin ay magbago,” De la Rosa said, noting that the University is full of life because it is made up of living persons who have the right to change.

Fr. Enrico Gonzales, O.P. and Bishop Pablo David discussed “remembering and gratitude” and “conversion and healing” in the first and second days of the retreat, respectively.

Be open to 'acts of faith,' Thomasians urged

Gonzales said people come together to create a memory and that “all sins are rooted in forgetfulness.”

In his homily during the Mass for the first day of the retreat, Bishop Teodoro Bacani, said the “most potent enemy of our salvation” is our “egocentric self” as it can affect our most religious acts.

“They (holy acts) can be done not for God, but for ourselves,” said Bacani, the bishop emeritus of Novaliches.

Bishop Pablo David, auxiliary bishop of San Fernando, Pampanga, presented three images of conversion and healing through Zacchaeus, St. Augustine, and St. Paul.

“Conversion is turning away from sin but it is [also] turning towards God, towards the grace of God,” David said. “Healing is reorientation to the right direction.”

Inspirational speaker Michael Angelo Lobrin said “life is a choice” and God’s love did not begin as an emotion but as a decision.

Fr. Joey Faller held a “Healing Mass” on the second day of the retreat.

“The healing that we have to receive will come from our forgiveness,” he said. “Healing is the experience of transformation and renewal one’s life.”

In a chance interview, the Rector said the administration decided to start the retreat last Feb. 22, Ash Wednesday, because it is a day of renewal.

“We wanted it [to happen] before [the] school year [ends so that] we’ll have a sort of a renewal period, and at the same time, a period to thank God for the Quadricentennial celebration that we have had,” De la Rosa said.

The retreat also featured the Way of the Cross, the rosary and morning prayers, group sharing, Holy Hour, and confession.

Crossing boundaries

Participants were called on to be “agents of renewal” and were each given “mission crosses” before marching through the Arch of the Centuries on the last day of the retreat. Bernadette D. Nicolas


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