THE UNIVERSITY on April 30 marked its 75th anniversary as “The Catholic University of the Philippines,” a title given to it by Pope Pius XII in 1947.

The conferment was made known to the archbishop of Manila, Msgr. Michael J O’Doherty, through a letter signed by Joseph Cardinal Pizzardo of the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and University Studies.

“In the audience that I had with the Holy Father on the 27th of April, I asked and obtained from His Holiness (Pope Pius XII) the title of The Catholic University of the Philippine Islands, for your University,” Pizzardo said in the 1947 letter.

“I pray and wish that the Catholic University may be glory for the Holy Church and an object of pride for you,” he continued.

Front page of the June 27, 1947 issue of The Varsitarian

The title was “in recognition of the work that the University has been doing for the education of the youth, its outstanding accomplishments in various fields of learning, and its constant efforts to forge ahead in the all-important task of giving adequate Catholic education to the country’s youth,” UST Secretary General Fr. Louie R. Coronel, O.P. said in a circular last March 14, quoting the September 1956 issue of The Varsitarian magazine.

Coronel noted that during the celebration of the 350th anniversary of UST in 1961, Pope St. John XXIII called UST “the most resplendent light of Christian Wisdom.”

Also, Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, papal envoy to the UST Quadricentennial celebration, underscored in 2011 the qualities of a Catholic University as “a continued reflection in the light of the Catholic Faith, fidelity to the Christian message, and institutional commitment,” he said.

“The title of ‘The Catholic University’ bestowed upon UST is not just a very special privilege granted by the Pope, but also a responsibility to fulfill the mission of preaching the Good News of Our Lord,” Coronel said.

“For more than four centuries now, Thomasians have been known, not only for their competence but also in their commitment and compassion in serving the Church and the country. We have produced not only heroes and presidents for the nation and leaders for the various professions and industries, but also generation upon generation of good Christians, among them seventeen (17) beatified and canonized saints. Let us continue to fulfill our mission to love,” he added. 

Former UST Secretary General Fr. Jesus Miranda, O.P. said the title serves as a “reminder of the commitment of the University to embed Catholic values even in its civil programs and the degrees it offers [and] observe the practices of the Catholic liturgical and sacramental life.”

“A Catholic school needs to be instrumental in the serious and conscious discernment of its members concerning what they can contribute to the intellectual and ecumenical tradition of the Church,” Miranda wrote in his April 24 column for The Manila Times.

“The privilege of having the title ‘Catholic’ is truly something to be held in high esteem but this honor should be matched with diligence, prudence and fidelity,” he added.

The title “Catholic” was the third title bestowed to UST after King Charles III of Spain conferred upon it the “Royal” title in 1785 and Pope Leo XIII the “Pontifical” title in 1902. Eduelle Jan T. Macababbad


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