Coffee table book ‘Saga’ of Saint Joseph School launched

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NAGA City, June 21, 2013—St. Joseph School is now one among the few schools in the City of Naga which have their own coffee table book or their history written in book form.

Launched Friday, June 7, 2013, at the school’s auditorium, the coffee table book with the title “Saga of a Jubilee School” marks the ten- year administration of St. Joseph School and the 20-year pastoral work in the Philippines of the Congregation of the Roman Catholic Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The book was launched after the First Friday Mass and the blessing of the school’s newly constructed covered walk by Rev. Fr. Eugene A. Lubigan.

The coffee table book is taken from the initials of Saint Joseph School —SJS —which the writers has given the new appellation of  “Saga of a Jubilee School”. The book goes down memory lane from 1960 to the present — the 50 years of the school under its founding Fathers, all exiles from China when taken over by communist elements, who found themselves in the more hospitable land at the foot of Mount Isarog.

These Chinese seminarians who finished their ecclesiastical studies in Metro Manila and were given pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Caceres and elsewhere in the country were Rev. Msgr. Joseph Chen, Rev. Frs. Joseph Ly, Joseph Limingchin, Stanislaus Chin, Didacus Ma and Joseph Kung.

Very notable is the name “Joseph” among these priests, a name after which they agreed to name their newly-established school.

Written jointly by Jose Fernando P. Obias and Melinda Susana Dy, an alumna of Saint Joseph School and its former principal, the story of the school spans through the past 60 years —from 1960 when it rose out of the vast cogon fields along the Philippine National Railway tracks up to the present when its administration was passed on to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

The journey and the choice the Founding Fathers took as to whom to pass on the administration of the school is an interesting read.

Story of faith 

The story of Saint Joseph School is a story of Faith in a country so unfriendly to Faith. This Faith took flight in search of a place where it could grow. And grow it did in the company of people living in a land known as “Maogmang Lugar”.

That story is captured in a coffee-table book “Saga of a Jubilee School”. This book, however, does not tell about the trials and threnody of the great escape of these six Chinese seminarians from their homeland in China, overtaken as it was by the Communist elements in that government. It rather tells how the Faith of these seminarians was so purified that it urged them to establish a school. For it is only Faith that can establish schools.

The coffee-table book does not tell about each and every detail of the first 50 years of St. Joseph School in the Maogmang Lugar, the City of Naga and what the school will be in the next 50 years. It rather tells, without counting the years, what that gift of Faith has done for the school and its Founding Fathers:  they were gifted with the gift of tongues which enabled them to speak for and about their mission in a land where they were total strangers; they were gifted with the gifts of the Holy Spirit which enabled them to live and lead others to desire for the things of God, and to direct their whole life and all their actions to His honor and glory. Without even their knowing it, the past 50 years have been Pentecost season for the school and these six Chinese priests.

The book is a story of the wonders and of the handiwork of Faith even in most unpropitious times, stirring the hearts and minds of men — be they priests, nuns or laymen, be they Chinese or Filipino.

The “Saga of a Jubilee School” does not end in its launching. It is open ended, like the saga of Harry Potter. The book is a compulsive page-turner, paced with the Faith of its Founding Fathers, racing at work, going beyond the borders of Naga and Bikol, beyond the throbs of every Bikol heart, beyond the “dulo na walang hanggan” of the Third Millennium. For Faith defies space and time.

As a book on Faith, it is a fitting and fascinating reading material — perhaps even better than Dan Brown’s “Inferno” — on this Year of Faith.

The cover book depicts a branch of the plum blossom in flaming red against the white cover of the book. The plum blossom, the national flower of China, symbolizes courage, perseverance and endurance —virtues that evidently have made St. Joseph School for the past 50 years and will make the school for the next 50 years and the next.

Tyrone Joven and Karylle Maree Salamat provide the design and layout of the book. Photographers are Maury Joward Guadalupe and the St. Joseph School Photography Club. Contributing their recollection of Saint Joseph School are Mark Escalada, Rhodora Cantos, Rosalinda Segarra, Desamparado Rejante, Emily Santiago, Fe CoSay-Chua and the Saint Joseph School Faculty. Editor is Kim Angelo Honrado and Project Director is Sr. Stephanie Chang, SSH. (Jose Fernando Obias)

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