THE VARSITARIAN, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas, last Jan. 18 launched a special publication commemorating Pope Francis’ historic visit to the Philippines last year, as it marked its 88th founding anniversary.

“Learn how to Love: Francis in UST, The Fourth Papal Visit” chronicles the Holy Father’s apostolic journey to the bastion of Catholicism in Asia, including his memorable meetings with Filipino families and young people in Manila, and his emotional trip to typhoon-stricken Leyte.

It also contains stories of Thomasians’ personal encounters with Pope Francis, as well as images capturing the most touching moments of the five-day papal visit.

The last leg of Pope Francis’ apostolic journey included a trip to the University where he met with religious leaders and had an encounter with the youth. An estimated 24,000 people flocked to the University grounds to hear the Pope’s message of mercy and compassion.

The Varsitarian mounted the widest coverage of the papal visit among Catholic and campus publications, even rivaling some in the metropolitan press. The Varsitarian contributed content for the official papalvisit.ph website, and was the official media partner of CBCP News and Radyo Veritas 846.

Last November, the Varsitarian was given a special citation by the Catholic Mass Media Awards for its Jan. 14, 2015 special edition that put the papal visit in historical context and outlined preparations made by the University, the Church, and the government for the apostolic journey, which was held Jan. 15 to 19, 2015.

Ralph Hernandez, who was editor in chief of the Varsitarian during the papal visit and who led the production of the commemorative magazine, said it was providential that the publication came out in time for the first anniversary of the Pope Francis’ trip to the Philippines and the 88th anniversary of the Varsitarian.

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The Varsitarian, founded on Jan. 16, 1928, is the Philippines’ oldest Catholic newspaper and one of the oldest campus publications.

Founded by a group of students led by Jose Villa Panganiban, the Varsitarian produced journalistic and literary titans such as Arsenio Lacson, Felix Bautista, Jose Burgos, Jullie Yap-Daza, Neal Cruz, Jake Macasaet, Francisco Tatad, Antonio Lopez, Alice Colet-Villadolid, Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta, Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, Norma Miraflor, Eric Gamalinda, Vim Nadera, and Eugenia Duran-Apostol. It has produced four National Artists: Cirilo Bautista, Bienvenido Lumbera, J. Elizalde Navarro and F. Sionil José. Clarence I. Hormachuelos

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