THOMASIAN priests were honored during the 78th alumni homecoming of the Alumni Priests’ Association (ALPA) at the UST Central Seminary.

Fifteen golden and 19 silver jubilarians who have served the Church for 50 years and 25 years, respectively, were recognized.

“UST has so much to offer us, that’s why I came to thank UST,” said Tarlac Bishop Florentino Cinense, D.D, in his homily during the thanksgiving mass.

A total of 244 ALPA members attended the event hosted by members of the Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) Class of 1988.

The homecoming, which had the theme “Celebrating Life and Ministry with Steadfast Faith” was held last Jan. 28-30.

According to Rev. Fr. Jesus Bufete, president of 1988 class, this year’s celebration was different as it included recreational activities that gave a chance for the priests to unwind.

A sports festival was held in Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park, Kawit Cavite last Jan. 27.

In one of the talks during the ALPA reunion, Fr. Enrico Gonzales, O.P., professor emeritus of the Faculty of Philosophy, said “love” identifies and defines the life of a priest.

“Jesus is telling you the impossible in matters of loving, and that is a life-long training. Our priesthood and vocation will have no meaning if our hearts cannot be taught because the primary task of a priest is to teach the people how to love truly,” Gonzales told Thomasian priests.

Average teachers are those who only inform and instruct their students, while the best teachers are those who inspire. “We are priests, we inspire, what we teach inspires; what we live, inspires; what we celebrate, inspires. We celebrate the Eucharist everyday not only during the ALPA Homecoming.”

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The celebration of the Year of Faith meanwhile serves as a time for the priests to rekindle their passion for Church service, said the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto.

“The celebration of the Year of Faith will be a favorable opportunity to remind those who belong to UST-ALPA to renew their commitment to live the faith and present it, as instilled on them by the Dominican Fathers,” said Pinto, in his message published in ALPA’S homecoming magazine.

Bastion of priesthood

A study by Jun Arvie Bello of the UST Central Seminary showed that there are 66 Thomasians out of 137 bishops of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), including retired bishops.

Since 1958, the CBCP has elected 15 presidents, 12 of whom were UST alumni, including the current CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. Filipino Cardinal Jose Sanchez is also a Thomasian.

Dominican historian Fr. Fidel Villaroel, O.P stated in his article “The Colegio de Santo Tomas: Forerunner of the UST Central Seminary,” that Colegio de Santo Tomas, the former name of the University, originally offered courses on priesthood.

During the annual general conference of bishops in the Philippines on January 1926, UST was chosen as the seat of the Interdiocesan Seminary of the Philippines. This was confirmed by the Holy See in 1927.

On Nov. 27, 1928, the Sacred Congregation on Universities and Seminaries, mandated by Pope Pius XI, issued the decree “Quod Iam Provide” for the establishment of UST Central Seminary as the Interdiocesan Seminary of the Philippines.


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