UST plans to bring back the highly anticipated fireworks display during the baccalaureate tribute to the graduating Batch 2023 on May 30, subject to favorable weather conditions.

During an information session held on May 19, UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said plans for the University’s Baccalaureate Mass and ceremonies include a fireworks exhibition.

“We are praying for good weather. May Plan B po. Pero Plan A po ang gusto natin,” Coronel said.

“And in case Plan A would be pursued, let us expect fireworks,” he added.

The Varsitarian learned that the fireworks display would last six to seven minutes.

The University did not stage a fireworks display in last year’s Baccalaureate Masses, which were planned to be “as solemn and as austere as possible.”

The Baccalaureate Mass is the annual send-off ceremony for graduating Thomasian students held at the UST Field and Grandstand before their Solemn Investitures (graduation ceremonies). 

The program this year will begin at 4 p.m.

“Ang Misa ay pagpapasalamat natin sa ating Panginoon. Sa mga achievements and accomplishments natin throughout the academic year, we want to thank the Lord. And that is the highest form of prayer. And we want to give back everything to the Lord. That’s why meron tayong Baccalaureate Mass,” Coronel said.

Traditionally, the event starts with a processional walk of graduating students from their respective buildings. It is followed by the introduction of academic units, the entrance of the Philippine flag and the UST flag, and the singing of the Philippine National Anthem.

The actual Mass begins around 6 p.m. It is followed by the recognition of academic units, video presentations, a graduation message, the blessing and imposition of the Thomasian mission cross, the declaration of the Thomasian pledge of loyalty, the Ceremony of Light, and the singing of the UST Hymn.

The event is closed by the traditional exit of the graduating students through the Arch of the Centuries.

Coronel said the Thomasian mission cross, which will be imposed by the graduating students to their classmates, is a reminder for them to remain faithful, hopeful, and loving every day once they leave the University.

“[The Thomasian mission cross] is the love of Christ for all of us. And it is our mission as Thomasians. We are to spread the light… Therefore, that light, who is Christ, is the one who we are preaching, the one that we are sharing,” Coronel explained.

Carless day

The University has declared May 30 a “carless day” to avoid the traffic congestion during the Baccalaureate Mass.

Facilities Management Office (FMO) Director Fr. Dexter Austria, O.P., said only limited parking spaces at the UST Carpark will be available on May 30.

“We encourage people to do carpooling so that we can accommodate a lot more people,” Austria said.

“Since we have a little parking [available] inside the University, we will be encouraging carpooling,” he added.

Austria also advised against bringing party poppers, glitters, confetti, and single-use plastics during the Baccalaureate Mass.

“Iiwasan po natin yung kalat. Lalo na po [kung umulan,] it would stick to the ground, mahirap po linisin,” Austria urged.

Minimum health protocols will be observed during the event, such as accomplishing the health declaration from the Thomasian Online Medical Support and Services (ThOMedSS) portal and wearing well-fitted masks.

Health stations will be set up on all sides of the field. Students are encouraged to bring caps, umbrellas, light meals, and water tumblers to prevent heat exhaustion.

Month-long graduation season

The Student Awards Ceremony on May 26, which will recognize outstanding contributions of Thomasian students inside and outside the University, will kickstart the graduation season this year.

The Solemn Investitures and Completion Ceremonies (basic education) for different academic units of the University will be held from June 1 to 30.

Parking spaces inside the University will be made available to the Thomasian community during these days, said Austria.

Coronel said the University was fully committed to making the graduation ceremonies “not just memorable, but, most importantly, a meaningful and solemn occasion.”

“While we navigate through the challenges posed by the current circumstances, we want to emphasize that the safety and well-being of our students and the entire Thomasian community remain our utmost priority,” Coronel said. N.B. Bautista


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