President’s Office Weekly (POW) Now Online

This week’s report includes the message shared by the School President with the school community during the Holy Mass in celebration of the arrival of the Relic of St John Baptist de La Salle.

Shared Reflection for the Visit of the Relic of St La Salle

On behalf of the school community of De La Salle Santiago Zobel, we warmly welcome you Msgr Toto Suplido and thank the Lord and also our good Bishop Jesse Mercado for assigning you to our school as our full-time chaplain.

One of the reasons why I am grateful that it was Msgr Toto Suplido who was chosen to be assigned as Chaplain of DLSZ is that he and I come from the City of Smiles, or Bacolod City. Bacolod is known for its mouth-watering Chicken Inasal, the diabetes-inducing piaya and sugar centrals and of course the annual tourist attraction, the Maskara Festival. Many of you might not know this – Msgr Toto contributed greatly to the growth of the Catholic Church in Bacolod when he was still a member of the clergy of the Diocese of Bacolod. What many of you may not know also is that I owe my formation as a La Salle Brother to his family. His blood brother, Br Ray Suplido FSC, the present President of the University of St La Salle in Bacolod, was responsible for forming me as a religious novice Brother in 1989-1990. Br Ray was my novice master who was gifted in spiritual direction and religious counselling. The good things you see in me, I attribute to Br Ray’s seriousness in forming deeply committed and religious Brothers. All the bad things you see in me, I attribute to Br Arian Lopez FSC, who taught me to be mean to others by using veiled gentle words (of course this is a joke). Msgr Toto, our school community welcomes you once again.

We also welcome our special guests this afternoon, members of the Lasallian Family from other Lasallian institutions, the members of our Board of Trustees, benefactors, parents, alumni and friends, including Lasallians from San Miguel High School in Tucson, Arizona and St Mary’s College in California led by Br Dan Fenton FSC and three other young Lasallian volunteers who spent a few weeks in Bahay Pagasa in Bacolod City in service of almost 30 minors who are in conflict with the law. On behalf your Lasallian partners here in De La Salle Zobel, the students, faculty, staff and service personnel, we welcome you to our special celebration today.

Since we have American friends in our midst today, I would like to segue with a line from the opus of a famous English poet whose works are a major part of their classes in Literature. In Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, we can read this: Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Some are born great. If your parents were Prince Charles and Princess Diana and you were named Harry or William, chances are you will be called a Prince no matter what you do. Some are born great. I do not know if I belong to this category, but my father’s name at least sounds great. His name is Jesus Magbanua. Very few can claim today that he is literally a son of Jesus.

Some achieve greatness. If your family name were Pacquiao and you used to do odd jobs just to survive for a day, but now you have 8 world titles in boxing after beating a good number of Mexican compañeros of Br Lazaro, chances are your first name would be Manny. You are adored by millions of boxing fans and thousands of other poor kids in the world who wished they boxed as well as you so that they can be a Congressman and probably be the next President of the Philippines. Some achieve greatness.

Some have greatness thrust upon them. If your family name were De La Salle and you never even dreamed of becoming a founder of schools for boys and moreso, a saint, then your first name might be John Baptist. You found yourself running schools for the poor in France and training young men to become religious and consecrated teachers that after 330 years, your schools have established their presence in over 80 countries with almost a total of 1 million students across the globe. You were just a simple priest but just like the other saints, greatness has been thrust upon you.

You can almost refer to St John Baptist de La Salle as a reluctant founder of the Christian Schools who was equally reluctant to be a saint. He once wrote in his memoirs that if he only knew what he was going into (this founding of schools for poor boys which did not come easy for him), he would have abandoned it even before it started. He didn’t aim for greatness. It was thrust upon him by the needs of the moment. It was the Church and the world that ascribed greatness to him.

That is why today, we remember the past in a special way in this visit and veneration of the Relic of St La Salle. Here is a proof that our Founder was a man who had a mortal body, just like us and had immortal animo or spirit, hopefully us too. The Relic is not a piece of magical bone to ward off evil or to heal our sicknesses or to make a barren wife pregnant. Let me give you a quick piece of advice: according to Jesus, it is your faith, that heals you. While we cannot control God from making miracles through any material object, the object itself doesn’t generate the miracle. It is still God who protects, heals and saves.

The visit of the Relic of St La Salle challenges us to ask ourselves, what legacy are we leaving behind when it is time for us to depart this life? The Book of the Prophet Sirach might have have something to say to those who couldn’t care less in contributing to a better world with these words from Chapter 44: “But for others, there is no memory; they have perished as though they had never existed; they have become as though they had never been born, they and their children after them.”

On the other hand, Sirach also aptly describes St La Salle in these words: “But there also were godly men, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten; their wealth will remain with their descendants and their inheritance with their children’s children. Their offspring will continue for ever and their glory will never be blotted out. Their bodies are buried in peace, but their name lives on generation after generation. The assembly declares their wisdom and the congregation proclaims their praise.”

I am not Prince William nor Prince Harry. While I may not be born great, I have a great family which I will not give away to Princes William or Harry.

Neither am I Manny Pacquiao. While I may not be the kind that will achieve his type of greatness, with all due respect to our boxing champ and all boxing aficionados in this assembly, I do not want to hurt or knockdown my opponent in order to achieve greatness. I’d rather force my adversaries into utter submission by a flurry of jabs of kindly acts and backbreaking bearhugs.

“To be or not to be… great…” should not be our question. Nor should we ask among ourselves, “Who is the greatest among us?” Greatness was not the goal in life of St John Baptist de La Salle. Service to God through the education of the poor was. So it is with us, Lasallian Partners, our faith, not the desire for greatness, should empower our zeal for educational service for the young, especially the poor. The same with you dear students; your Lasallian education is not to make you great but a way for you to greatly contribute to the betterment of the quality of life in our country and the world especially for those who are poor.

Major Activities of the Office of the DLSZ President (July 25-30, 2011)

Monday July 25 2011
– Met with Korean student and teacher participants of the Brintone Visiting Program
– Met with Ms Jet de Mesa and Mr Jun Blas on the FIlipino Department Academic Development Program
– Met with De La Salle Zobel Alumni Association sports committee officers on the Br Felix Masson FSC Golf Tournament
– Joined the Orientation Program for the DLSZ Elite Rondalla Program

Tuesday July 26 2011
– Presided over the Operations Council – Extended Monthly Meeting
– Organized a meeting with several key administrators on the Deliberation Process for Probationary Teachers

Thursday July 28 2011
– Continued discussion with DLSZ Art Curator Ja Cabato on the possible Spark Museum collection

Friday July 29 2011
– Hosted the Launching of the BookMobile Project for the Barangays with Zonta Club of Alabang
– Joined the school community in warmly and joyfully welcoming the Relic of St La Salle to DLSZ

Saturday July 30 2011
– Watched the Junior Archers win over the FEU Baby Tamaraws in a UAAP game at the Blue Eagle Gym

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