2019 Graduation Address by Fr. Rogel Anecito L. Abais, S.J., Vice President for Academic Affairs of LST

St. Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate

Commencement Exercises 2019

Graduation Address

Fr. Rogel Anecito L. Abais, S.J.

 

Fr. Rector, Pham Tuan Nghia, Fr. Dean, Nguyen Thai Son, Professors, Guests, Dear Graduates of Philosophy and Theology,

I greet all of you on behalf of the Loyola School of Theology in Manila, Philippines. This is the second year that Loyola School of Theology will be granting the ecclesiastical degree, Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology, to the graduates of St. Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate, its affiliated institution. My warmest congratulations to the 17 graduates of Philosophy, 16 Jesuits and 1 Dehonian, and to the eight graduates of Theology, 5 Jesuits, 1 Carmelite, and 2 Camillians. My congratulations also to all those who have contributed to the academic formation of these men in the Jesuit tradition of magisand excellence.

We at LST are happy with our partnership  with SJJS and we look forward to years of cooperation in the field of Theological formation. We affirm our desire to support and help St. Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate develop its programs in the task of forming future servant leaders in our Church.

Let me address those who are finishing Philosophy: you have completed your first stage of formal academic formation towards your future ministry. This stage has prepared the way for you to engage in what will hopefully be deep and meaningful theological engagement at the next stage of your academic training. Equipped with the tool of critical thinking which was the goal of your years in Philosophy, you now have an opportunity to look at our world and help those you meet to see how God is more than ever relevant in our lives.

And now to those who are finishing theology: you bear three important names in the Christian tradition: two are called Paul, six are called Joseph, and one also bears Mary’s name. We can perhaps reflect briefly on these three big names of our faith.

Paul is called the Apostle to the Gentiles. He is our model of missionary zeal. Theologizing is not simply a classroom enterprise. It is first and foremost a lived out experience of faith. This faith is something that we wish to share to all peoples, to those who already believe in Christ and to those who yet have to know him and acknowledge his presence in their lives. You, my dear graduates, have the task of bringing what you have learned in the classroom to the very lives you will be sent to minister. May the guidance of St. Paul strengthen your resolve even amidst a world fraught with skepticism and disbelief.

Joseph is the father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. He is the silent presence who nurtured Mary and Jesus with love, devotion, and instilled a strong familial bond in the Holy Family. He is the patron of this institution. He is also known as Joseph, the worker, Joseph, the carpenter. The wisdom in our theologizing lies not so much in the complex elaboration of theories but in our capacity to bring God into the lives of people even in a quiet way. Joseph worked quietly and instilled much of the wisdom that we see in Jesus. Joseph is our model of the quiet but hardworking theologian.

Mary is our mother and our model par excellence of Christian life. A theology bereft of her presence is not Christian theology. More so, my dear graduates, your future life in ministry must be one guided by Mary. As you now bring the years of study into practice, do not fail to call upon our Lady for she will always be willing to aid you. But more importantly, you can trust that she will point you towards her son, our Lord Jesus.

Mary, Joseph, and Paul in their witness remind us that behind every theology is a narrative of the human response to God’s invitation to share in his divine life. After your years of study, may these persons whose names you bear as your own continue to inspire you in your mission and in witnessing to the world that God is indeed a God who is present and interested in it.

Again my congratulations to all and God bless you!