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ORA takes TEACHing to a higher level

Elementary and high school teachers strengthen their spiritual health.

The University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi (UST-Legazpi) puts a premium on each student’s overall well-being and education, and the spiritual aspect is not exempt from it. We do not lack in priests and nuns to guide us to faith, and activities that enrich our spirit. Other educational institutions are not as fortunate. As a Catholic institution, we place utmost weight on the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Freely you received; freely give” – this is just one of them.

Our administrators did just that on Oct. 27 and Dec. 5, 2017.

TEACH-ing to a higher level

Partnering with the Department of Education Regional Office V (DepEd RO-V), our university conducted a recollection for public school teachers at the Daragang Magayon Hall from 7:30 am to 5 pm. More popularly known as TEACH or Teachers Encounter Christ, the recollection was participated by a total of 112 delegates on December 5, 2017. These are elementary and high school teachers and EsP coordinators who came from schools in Ligao, Old Albay District, Naga, Iriga, Legazpi, Tabaco, and Sorsogon City.

Key departments worked together to make the event possible: the Office of the Rector and President (ORP), Office of Religious Affairs – Center for Campus Ministry (ORA-CCM), Office of the University Controller, Office of Media, Alumni and Public Affairs (MAPA), and Office of Guidance and Testing (OGT). Everything was shouldered by our university, save the transportation expenses of the participants. “It wasn’t supposed to be the case,” explained Sir Fernandino Pancho, the Director of Center for Campus Ministry (CCM). “Our initial thought was that the participants from our partner schools would provide the fees for the food and other expenses, and we would take care of the venue and the program. But our administrators were gallant enough to shoulder everything that would be needed to spend for the event.”

The whole-day recollection was presided by Rev. Fr. Felix Legaspi III, O.P., and the teachers were able to dance and sing praises to God in a graceful and happy way with the aid of the Dominican Network (DomNet) worship team. Our very own Rector and President Rev. Fr. Ernesto Arceo, O.P. also took the time to give the teachers an inspirational talk. Later on, the participants were able to relax their weary souls through the message of Rev. Fr. Enrico Gonzales, O.P., who talked about timely issues that modern teachers face today, such as the struggle in juggling between work, rest, and making time for family. He also reassured the participants that our God is one who desires for us to be happy, both in and out of work.

According to Fr. Gonzales, there should be a healthy balance between work and rest. He went further as to show that in the Creation story in the book of Genesis, God purposed for man to rest and to enjoy God’s creation but at the same time, to care for and protect the environment. That was considered work. And why should we humans get enough rest every day? Fr. Gonzales’ answer was simple: so that we would have enough energy to perform our tasks well.

Prior to that, our administrators and staff at ORA facilitated a recollection for teachers of Cabagñan National High School at Pacific Mall Activity Center on Oct.27, 2017. Some 70 teachers attended and found rest for their tired hearts. Sir Joseph Endraca of CCM presided over the recollection, while Rev. Fr. Roman Santos, O.P. preached a healthy and encouraging message. Sir Pancho explained that the reason for the significant number of teachers for the said school is that there are a lot of high school students enrolled, and the only way to cater to their needs is to provide a shifting schedule – thus the staggering 70 teachers. And in an environment such as that of Cabagñan National High School, spiritual health is one that does not get prioritized. That is why they were very willing to help the teachers in the way that they can.

The Call

Before, our university administrators focused mostly on our inward spiritual rest and maturity. But over the years, we have begun to impetus the Gospel to neighboring educational institutions and to share the blessings that we have been receiving. Numerous outreaches are being conducted every year, and the horizon seems to widen. Truly, we are staying true to our calling, and are painstakingly surpassing ourselves just to make our vision a reality – that we would become a leading university in the region, nurtured to nurture not just every student or employee who walks the halls of this blessed university, but to extend the Gospel to the others, thereby following in the footsteps of our saints, and fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted on: 12.06.2017

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