05312024.Web.Banner Fr Mars P Tan SJ

Message to Student’ Leaders Dialogue Amplius: XU Goes to Mars
(Fr Mars P Tan SJ, delivered on 14 April 2021)

My dear student officers and leaders of Central Student Government, College Student Councils, Co-curricular organizations, ASUL and AGGLA, formators, faculty, friends, and guests, good afternoon.  I wish to congratulate the CSG led by its President, Matt Ondap and his officers in particular the department handling this event, Student Leaders’ Dialogue, Amplius: XU Goes to Mars.  When I read the title of the event, I thought you were going to Mars to escape from Covid virus which is now impacting the entire world. We will also go with you!

I am happy that you have this dialogue as part of your students’ education and advocacy. I am also pleased to know that this started from an inspiration you had in St Francis Xavier’s life and missionary works in Asia. I would like to emphasize the four objectives you clearly indicated in the first paragraph of your letter to me,

a) that student leaders are guided by the Amplius (to do more and beyond what is now); this means that you have set goals

b) to better serve others; you consider service of paramount importance

c) to benefit from it and be formed eventually; formation aspect is included

d) lastly, to be able to sustain the work; sustainability is greatly desired

Just this week, the Fr Provincial of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines (Fr Jun Viray, SJ), promulgated the Renewed Province Plan of the Jesuits in the Philippines.

The Renewed Province Plan contains the five thrusts of the Philippine Jesuits:

Thrust 1: Foster integrity and accountability in our communities and institutions

Thrust 2: Feed the hungry (children) and create sustainable livelihoods

Thrust 3: Summon our youth to engaged citizenship

Thrust 4: Build faith-based hope and resiliency

Thrust 5: Cultivate personal and institutional ecological conversion

I would like to focus on Thrust 3: Engaged citizenship of our youth. The document says that “Forming an engaged citizenship especially among the youth is crucial for their future and of our nation. While registering for and voting during elections are integral to the exercise of one’s citizenship, even more essential is forming communities of praxis and discernment where citizens can critically reflect, discuss, plan, and act for nation-building. We hope to accompany and mobilize such communities by strengthening the foundation of their ideals in faith, in the work of justice and reconciliation, and in encounters with the poor and vulnerable of society” The Jesuit document clearly highlights the following points:

a) The crucial role of our youth and students in nation building

b) The important role of the university to accompany and guide the students and the youth in their programs and activities in schools towards nation building through reflection, discussion, planning, and action.

c) The essential part of faith in the life of the students and the youth in their work for justice and reconciliation.

I would like to reiterate the necessity for our students and young people to have an active faith to motivate and sustain them to do work for our country and our people. Being a Catholic Jesuit university, it is imperative that we draw inspiration and strength from God (or Allah, Supreme Being) and not from human ideas and efforts alone.

St Francis Xavier was like that – he personified Amplius because of his great love for God and his deep faith in Him. I hope my dear students that you also grow in your faith while you engage in studies and service to others. May God bless you all. Thank you.