Daet bishop urges Thomasians to build ‘Catholic culture,’ unite in faith

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Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon of Daet leads this year's Misa de Apertura on Aug. 1 at the Santisimo Rosario Parish, marking the start of the Academic Year 2019-2020. (Photo by M.J. F. Uy/ The Varsitarian)

BISHOP Rex Andrew Alarcon of Daet, Camarines Norte urged Thomasians to build a Catholic culture and be united in the Christian faith amid growing diversity in society, in the annual Misa de Apertura on Thursday, Aug. 1.

Alarcon, incoming chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Youth, urged UST administrators and faculty to allow themselves to encounter Christian wisdom as well as the “culture of the young” in pursuing their educational mission.

“Difference in color and culture is more pronounced [nowadays,]… causing distraction, confusion, complexity and uncertainty, but as we recognize these, may we find hope in the possibility of working together,” Alarcon said in his homily for the Misa de Apertura, also known as the Mass of the Holy Spirit that marks the beginning of the new academic year.

Alarcon, a UST alumnus, reminded professors that the search for truth is not only through the path of reason, but also of faith. “While we sharpen our intellect, let us also do so with our faith…It is not our academic degrees that hold us together, but our faith,” he said.

What’s important, he added, “is not only the delivery of lessons and the number of board passers but the building of the Catholic culture of the University.”

“May we exert effort and go out of our comfort zones to meet, encourage one another and become united…Even if our search for truth is not always very clear [because of our limits], we cannot live in doubt or we will live in fear and anxiety,” the prelate said.

Alarcon, who confessed his nervousness at the beginning of his homily because of the presence of his former Dominican professors, also reminisced on his stay in UST 25 years ago, recalling one meeting in the Main Building during which the use of email was introduced on campus.

The theology alumnus, now the country’s youngest Catholic bishop, officially opened Academic Year 2019-2020 after the Mass. R. R. L. Arugay, C. R. C. Magpali and C. A. H. Torres

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