Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ’s welcome message as the new President of Ateneo de Manila University

Below is my transcription of Fr. Jett’s welcome message as shown in this You Tube video.

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Let me welcome everyone to this new school year. I am glad to be back. I came from Mindanao. But now that this is my new mission, I look forward to serving you, to serving this nation through the Ateneo. I’d like to welcome our new students, especially our freshmen. I go with you in needing to be familiarized again with the Ateneo.

What woulde excite me of course is this possibility that we will continue to rebuild this nation, our people. The Ateneo has always been instrumental in the life of this nation. And therefore, I will continue what Fr. Ben has started. This has been embodied those three themes of the sesquicentennial: celebrating excellence, deepening spirituality, and building the nation. I hope that we will put together…I am hopeful and that is not just a function of youth. I think this is an opportunity to make lasting change and we should not miss it. We should seize this opportunity. Many of our alumni are now in positions of power, of leadership. We can make a difference. I am sure that—I know that this will take several administrations, but change is on the way. And therefore let us be open to change as well. I hope that the Ateneo can truly make a difference in the lives of our people, especially our poor.

This is the place where I learned to dream, to dream of greater things, to do greater things. I honestly believe this is the place where heroes are made, where our heroic desires are nurtured. And so I plan to just build that environment and continue to nurture those great dreams for ourserlves, for our people, and as we say, for the greater glory of God. I also believe that this is not just ours. This is not mine. This is God’s. And so God himself has a stake in what happens to this great institution. So I’ll also pray that we will cooperate, we will be open to His action in us and in the world.

So my wish right now—well, what I’ll do is I’ll be listening and I will try to meet you as best as I can, as often as I can, to listen to you, to listen to your dreams and your desires as well [….] I hope to discern some patterns. And at some point we will initiate some change. And I hope you will be open to change, because this change is good and it would be for the better. As we say in magis, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, we’ll never settle for what is merely good, for what is merely mediocre. Tomorrow will always be better and we will give what is better.

So Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. And welcome!

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Jose Rizal’s statue of the Sacred Heart: Travel history and other notes

RIZAL’S TRAVELLING STATUETTE
by Fr. Victor Badillo, S.J.While a student at the Ateneo Municipal in Intramuros, Jose Rizal (14) made a small statue of the Sacred Heart, about nine inches in length.  He carved the statuette in baticuling wood with a penknife at the request of his professor Fr Jose Leonardo S.J.  Father intended to take it with him to Spain, but the domestic helper forgot to place it in his trunk.  It was left behind and was taken by Rizal’s fellow students.  It was placed on a shelf above the door of their study hall where it remained for twenty years.

In August 1887, Rizal (26) returned to the Philippines and stayed till early 1888.   Now a liberal in matters political as well as religious, he visited his Jesuit friends at the Ateneo.  On his way out, the Jesuit porter showed him the statuette.  Rizal replied, “Other times, Brother, other times.  I no longer believe in such things.”*

In December 1896, after Rizal (35) was sentenced to death by the Military Tribunal which had tried him for treason, he asked for some Jesuit priests to visit him.  Fr Miguel Saderra Mata, S.J., Rector of the Ateneo Municipal, together with Fr. Luis Viza, S. J., went in haste to Fort Santiago to the cell where Rizal was imprisoned. They were greeted warmly by Rizal.

Rizal asked them if the statuette of the Sacred Heart which he had carved as a boy was still at the Ateneo.  Fr Viza, in reply, took the statuette out of the pocket of his soutane.  He had guessed rightly.  Rizal would remember it at the hour of his death.  Rizal took it and kissed it in his hands and placed it on the table where he would soon write the Ultimo Adios.

The statuette remained in the cell.  On the night before his execution, it was to Fr Jose Vilaclara, S.J., his former Physics teacher, that Rizal made his sacramental confession and be reconciled to the Church.

The following day, 30 December, before leaving his cell to go to Bagumbayan, Rizal held the statuette to his lips for the last time.  With two hands holding it close to his heart, he moved slowly to give it back to the Jesuits who were with him to the last day.

When the fire of 1932 engulfed the Ateneo, the principal concern of the Jesuits was the safety of the students.  No one got hurt.  Many valuable irreplaceable collections went up in smoke and presumably the statuette.  The Ateneo resumed operations in Padre Faura.  In 1945 the Ateneo was destroyed completely during the liberation of Manila.

Some time in 1952, when Ateneo was in the Loyola Campus, Q.C., the statue was returned, presumably by the student who saved it from the 1932 fire, and inadvertently from the 1945 fire as well.

Replicas made from ash from the bowels of the earth hurled into the sky by
Mt Pinatubo in 1991 were distributed to friends.

After some twenty three years in the Board of Trustees room, Fr. Bienvenido
Nebres, the President, turned it over to the Ateneo University Archives.  I
wish to thank Miss Carina Samaniego, Archivist, for sending me photos of the
statuette and of the plaques.

NotesRizal was condemned to death for the crime of treason.  He advocated not revolution but evolution.  He wished the Philippines to be independent when it was ready for it.  Up to the time of his death, he thought the time had not come.  For him, independence would happen like a fruit automatically falling from the tree when it was ripe.

He enrolled at the Ateneo in 1872, the year Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora were garroted to death for treason.  They were innocent of this crime.  The event so moved Rizal that later he said, “I would have been a Jesuit, but I had vowed to do something about their death.”

Baticuling is a hard wood used in carving, which now is not easily available.  Without carving tools, Rizal carved an excellent statue using just a penknife.

When did Rizal carve this statue?  He enrolled at the Ateneo when he was eleven. He lived at the Ateneo as a boarder.  He got an AB degree at 16 in 1977.  That year, he enrolled at the Ateneo and UST, both in Intramuros and a few blocks from each other.  He left the Ateneo when he was 17, certified by the Ateneo as Agrimensor (Surveyor).  I guess he carved the image when he was about 14.  He still had to study anatomy.

Musings

Rizal carved the statue for Fr Leonardo.  Did Fr need one for himself, or did he want Rizal to develop his talent?  Why did he ask Rizal to carve an image of the Sacred Heart and not of someone else, like Our Lady?  Did he specify whose statue he wanted?  Rizal was the Prefect of the Sodality of Our Lady.

What thoughts passed through Rizal’s mind as he carved?  Did he have lectures of the Sacred Heart in mind? Did he research his subject? What did he know of the devotion to the Sacred Heart?  What did his devotion, if any, to the Sacred Heart consist of?  What does the actual statue say?  What was the state of the devotion at the Ateneo?  How did he think of carving a statue with a hole in the chest?

Fr Leonardo’s sorrow on failing to bring the statuette that he could not bring the statue with him resulted in the statuette staying in the Ateneo.

It was painful for the nameless Brother that Rizal refused to even look at his statue.  Would he have a statue if the houseboy had not forgotten? Would Rizal have thought of his statue in his cell if the Brother had not brought the statue as Rizal left?  Did the Brother on his own or had someone asked him to show it to Rizal?  How did Rizal feel when he gently rebuffed the gesture of the Brother?  Did he feel sad?  Was it like meeting a girl friend he had outgrown?

On leaving his death cell, Rizal held to his heart, the statue of Jesus holding his heart against his heart.

*When Rizal received the statuette, he kissed it and placed it on the table
where he would soon write the Ultimo Adios.  Sentiments expressed in the
poem are inspired by the love of the Heart of Jesus.  Would that I had more
blood to shed, more lives to die.*

Beloved Filipinas.
Gladly now I give to thee this failed life’s best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blood,
Still would I give it, nor count the cost.
There was no rancor or anger.  Only the peace and joy of one who “had run
the course, fought the good fight and had kept the faith”

For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns o’er on high!  *
(From translation by Charles Derbyshire.)

At the incarnation, God emptied himself.  On the cross he emptied his body
of blood.  In the Heart of Jesus, he emptied his body of his heart.  In the
field of Bagong Bayan, Rizal emptied himself to enrich Filipinas.

On leaving his death cell, Rizal pressed the heart of the statuette against
his heart.  By this he expressed his acceptance of the heart of Jesus
graciously offered.  Would it be too much if the Fathers saw that the heart
in the statuette returned to them was gone?

But now, Rizal had no need for an image.  For he had with him the Risen
Jesus, walking with him and at the supreme moment carrying him over the
threshold into life.  Jesus would not desert one who so perfectly made dumb
wood proclaim eloquently the totality of his love by imaging him with an
Emptied Body.

Rizal’s request to be shot facing the firing squad was refused. But with a heroic effort, he turned his body after he was shot and he fell face forward.  To kiss Filipinas, his heart against the land.


Man hears our words.
God hears our thoughts.  Augustine
God bless you.  Victor

blog:  pedrocalungsod.blogspot.com
God bless you and all your efforts.  Victor Badillo SJ

Ateneo de Manila University officially supports the CBCP’s opposition to the Reproductive Health Bill

ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY

Office of the President

24 March 2011

MEMO TO : THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY

FROM : THE PRESIDENT

SUBJECT : STATEMENT ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL 5043

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

There is a recent article in the press that “UP, Ateneo Profs call for passage of RH Bill.” The article also lists the signatories from the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila.

A similar position paper was issued by Ateneo faculty on October 15, 2008 and, on that occasion, I issued a statement to the Ateneo community to clarify the stance of the University. In that memo, I said that the position of the Ateneo de Manila is as follows:

1) We appreciate the efforts of these members of the Ateneo faculty to grapple with serious social issues and to draw from Catholic moral teaching in their study of the bill.

2) We acknowledge their right to express their views as individual Catholics and appreciate their clear statement that their views are their own and not that of the University.

3) However, the Ateneo de Manila University does not agree with their position of supporting the present bill. As I said in my letter of October 2 to Archbishop Aniceto and Bishop Reyes, it is “the considered opinion of our moral theologians that, although there are points wherein the aforesaid bill and the Catholic moral tradition are in agreement, there are certain positions and provisions in the bill which are incompatible with principles and specific positions of moral teaching which the Catholic Church has held and continues to hold.”

We thus have serious objections to the present bill in the light of our Catholic faith.

4) Ateneo de Manila thus stands with our Church leaders in raising questions about and objections to RH Bill 5043.

5) It is also the responsibility of the Ateneo de Manila as a Jesuit and Catholic university to ensure that, in our classes and other fora, we teach Catholic faith and morals in their integrity.

6) At the same time, as I also wrote on October 2, we support continuing efforts on the critical study and discussion of the bill among Church groups including the University and in civil society.

The position of the Ateneo de Manila remains the same. In matters of faith and morals, the Ateneo de Manila as a Jesuit and Catholic university, stands with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. At the same time, we recognize the right of our faculty, as individuals, to express their views and appreciate their clear statement that these views are their own and not that of the University.

BIENVENIDO F. NEBRES, S.J.

President

Manuel V. Pangilinan and Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres: an exchange of letters on the Ateneo de Manila University commencement speech scandal



Commencement Address of Manuel V. Pangilinan to Ateneo’s Sesquicentennial Batch (Editor’s Note)

date posted: 2010-04-03 21:08:00

Concerns have been raised about the commencement speeches delivered by Mr. Manuel V Pangilinan, chairman of the Ateneo Board of Trustees, last March 26 and 27, which were previously posted on this site.

Below, we post the statements of Mr. Pangilinan and Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, SJ, president of Ateneo de Manila University, contained in their exchange of emails stemming from the said expressed concerns. We are sharing these with the community for its enlightenment.

Thank you very much.

The Ateneo Web Team



Dear Father Ben

Easter greetings!

I have been told last night that portions of my graduation remarks – in particular my address to the Schools of Humanities and Social  Sciences – had been borrowed from certain other graduation speeches.

I had taken a look at the side-by-side comparison @ Facebook, and must admit to this mistake.

For this, I wish to express my sincerest apology to you, the University and to the 2010 graduating class.

I have had some help in the drafting of my remarks, but I take full and sole responsibility for them.

In mitigation perhaps, the body and substance of my speech represented my own story and my thoughts.  And I have labored long hours to get those speeches done.  It is my hope that their impact has not been lost on the graduates. That said, this post  fact event I am certain has devalued the words I have uttered at graduation – whether original or copied.

I am told further that comments posted on Facebook have started to spill beyond graduation, and are now alluding to my misconduct with respect to Meralco, with former President Erap, and so forth.  Under the circumstances, it is best for the Ateneo and myself to shorten the life of this controversy and prevent it from spinning out of control.

Fr Ben, this has been a source of deep personal embarrassment for me.

I am truly regretful for it.  I already have too many battles to fight, and some of them I wish not to have to fight.  In this instance, I do not want to, and would seek only the honourable  and principled way out.  The matter at hand may rest after this public apology, but it gives me a lot of  personal discomfort to continue to be closely involved with Ateneo affairs after this incident.  I am afraid the damage has been done – wala talaga akong mukhang ihaharap pagkatapos.

With much regret, Fr Ben, I would wish to retire from my official duties at the Ateneo.

With all good wishes to you and to our graduates.

M. V. P.



Dear Manny,

I received your apology just a few minutes ago and feel how deeply embarrassed and pained you are by this event. We realize that this was a mistake and we respect and appreciate your taking responsibility and your immediate apology.

At the same time, we know that this happened without your full awareness, though you take full and sole responsibility.  Thus this does not diminish our admiration and respect for your person and for your care and accomplishments for our country and for the Ateneo. In fact, your acceptance of responsibility and apology command our utmost respect.

In reading again through your speeches, we also see that indeed the main part of your speeches were your story and your thoughts. We thank you for taking so much time to craft them and to share them with us and our graduates. We are deeply touched by this sharing of yourself.

Again I realize how profoundly embarrassed you are by this event and that you believe that resigning from official duties at the Ateneo is the principled thing for you to do. However, reflecting on the events and circumstances, I cannot quite agree, and I believe with many others that what is appropriate is the apology you have given.  Neither can I agree with you that “wala talaga akong mukhang ihaharap pagkatapos.”  I would thus like to take up your retiring from official duties at the Ateneo with our officials and Board of Trustees and discuss it further with you.

It is Easter Vigil and may the Risen Christ be Light to you.

Fr. Ben, S.J.

Ateneo Sesquicentennial Lecture Series: Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres S.J on “Jesuits and Education”

The Department of History of
The School of Social Sciences
Is honored to invite
the Ateneo community to

The Jesuits and Education

A lecture by
Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, SJ
President
Ateneo de Manila University

on Thursday, 4 February 2010
4:30-6:00 p.m.
SOM 111/Ching Tan Room

This lecture is part of
?The Jesuits in the Philippines?
a series of lectures in celebration of
the sesquicentennial of
the return of the Jesuits to the Philippines and
the founding of the Ateneo de Manila University.

RSVP:     426-6001 local 5240/5241 (Mhel or Tin)