‘Build bridge between rich and poor through education,’ Thomasians urged as new academic year opens

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Catholic education should build bridges instead of walls to connect the rich and poor, and the educated and uneducated.

This was the message of Bishop Roberto Mallari, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, to faculty members and students in the traditional Misa de Apertura or Opening Mass of the new academic year at the Santisimo Rosario parish on Aug. 1.

“If our educational attainment makes us untouchable, then it is not of God. If educational institutions build walls between rich and poor, learned and unlearned, instead of bridges, it has lost understanding of its purpose,” Mallari said in his homily.

Mallari underscored the importance of education as part of the Church’s commitment to social transformation.

“Catholic schools and universities must offer an approach to education that aims for the whole human development while respecting freedom of expression,” he said.

While Catholic schools are attended by believers and non-believers, these institutions must provide students with a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ and present Him as the meaning of life, the prelate said.

Mallari also declared officially open Academic Year 2017-2018, during which UST will mark its 407th year.

The traditional Discurso de Apertura or Opening Lecture was delivered by Senior High School (SHS) Principal Pilar Romero after the Eucharistic celebration.

“These learners, steeped in the values that the University staunchly advocates, with fervent hope, will become advocates of social transformation,” Romero said.

Amid the growing population of the SHS, UST is adopting “alternative organizational strategies,” as an estimated 8,000 senior high school students are enrolled in the University this academic year, she said.

Last year, a total of 4,910 senior high students enrolled in UST.

Grade 11 students will still occupy the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. building, while the first batch of Grade 12 students will hold classes in college buildings where their tertiary programs are offered, Romero said.

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