Former UST rector Fr. Norberto Castillo, O.P. presides over the Mass celebrating the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church on Friday, Jan. 26. The feast of St. Thomas is on Sunday, Jan. 28. (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/ The Varsitarian)

ST. THOMAS Aquinas embodied the qualities of a good teacher – dedicated, humble and tranquil – that today’s mentors could emulate, former UST rector Fr. Norberto Castillo, O.P. said during Mass for the saint’s feast on Friday, Jan. 26, at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church.

In his homily, Castillo described the University’s patron saint as a “peace-loving” mentor who selflessly guided his students.

“A good teacher loves to teach and loves his students, so hindi niya ibinabagsak,” said Castillo, who was rector from 1982 to 1990.

“Love of truth and love of men constitute the good teacher, teaching man [with] the capacity of simplifying the matter to be learned and [considering] the point of view of students, respectfully,” he said.

“People observing him notice his courage [and] humility. Malakas ang loob pero magaling sa pagpapakumbaba. When he prays, observers say that he prayed to be cheerful without falling into frivolity,” he added. 

Castillo urged Thomasians to reflect on the importance of the coming Lenten season, emulating St. Thomas’s “unceasing fearfulness” in committing sins.

“Venial sins prepare the ground for mortal sins. Dapat tayo magdarasal sa Holy Week. Doblehin,” he said.

St. Thomas’s actual feast day is on Jan. 28.

Three former UST rectors led the Triduum Masses from Jan. 23 to 25: Fr. Ernesto Arceo, O.P. (2006 to 2007), Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. (1990 to 1998, 2007 to 2012),  and Faculty of Philosophy Dean Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. (2012 to 2020).

The Office of the Secretary General announced that proceeds from the offerings collected during the Masses would be donated to the San Lorenzo Ruiz and Companion Martyrs Parish and the Dominican community in Dagat-Dagatan, Navotas.

This year’s feast day falls on St. Thomas’s double jubilees, as the Church commemorates the 700th anniversary of his canonization and 750th death anniversary.

St. Thomas, a Doctor of the Church, is regarded as the greatest theologian in history and the patron saint of universities and scholars. His monumental works include “Summa Theologica” and “Summa Contra Gentiles.” Fernando Pierre Marcel B. Dela Cruz


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