UST VICE Rector Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P. called this year’s first-year students “chosen ones” of the University during the afternoon Welcome Mass for freshmen at the Quadricentennial Pavilion on Tuesday.

In his homily, Tiongco said the admission of the about 10,000 freshmen who made the cut out of the 48,000 applicants for Academic Year 2022-2023 was part of God’s “divine design.”

“Pinili ka. Pinili kayo. I think God has a beautiful plan for you that you will receive, and you will realize that beautiful plan by studying at the University of Santo Tomas,” Tiongco said.

“You were among the privileged 10,000-plus freshmen enrollees who dream of having a quality education in a prestigious institution of higher learning, with its centuries-tested tradition of excellence. Is this by coincidence? Perhaps. But if you ask me, I would say, it is by divine design that you are here,” he added.

Tiongco also encouraged students to show their true selves and forge “authentic” relationships with the people they will encounter at the University.

“When you have the courage to show up your true self, you will naturally attract people who will resonate with your uniqueness. The best relationships are those based on authenticity,” he said.

He also advised them to pray, continue walking the path God chose for them and remember the significant roles in other people’s lives through the love they give and receive.

“God is listening to all your prayers. The wishes of your heart are always heard by Him. When you allow His joyous spirit to guide your path, He rejoices at your faith and trust in the divine journey. He wants you to remember how special you are to the people in your life and the impact of the love you share,” Tiongco said.

Tiongco presided over the afternoon Welcome Mass on Aug. 9, while UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. led the Welcome Mass for the morning batch.

Like in the morning session, the Welcome Mass was followed by the traditional ROARientation and Welcome Walk, in which the first-year students of the afternoon batch entered the Arch of the Centuries.

The hybrid “ALAB 2022” will be held on Aug. 10 to welcome Grade 7 and 11 students, while the homecoming rites for Batches 2024 and 2025 will be conducted on Aug. 23. Adrian L. Parungao


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