MANILA, Philippines, Feb. 19, 2016 – In celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Order’s foundation, the UST Center for Religious Studies and Ethics (CRSE) and UST Faculty of Sacred Theology (FST), held a three-day conference on “Building the Church the Dominican Way” from Feb. 9 to 11.
The Conference featured ten lectures, which all aimed to explore particular Dominicans’ valuable contributions to the Church, especially those who served in the Philippines.
Fr. Gerard Francisco P. Timoner, III, OP, the Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, and a member of the International Theological Commission, delivered the keynote address.
Dominicans and Marian devotion
Fr. Roland Mactal, OP, Prior of Santo Domingo Convent and Associate Professor of UST Faculty of Sacred Theology gave the following lecture on the “Dominicans and Marian Devotion”. Mactal traced the beginnings of Marian devotion and the Dominican role in its spread. He also spoke of Dominican-run Marian shrines in the Philippines and their roles in the promotion of current-day devotions to the Blessed Virgin.
The lectures of the second day began with the presentation of Fr. Emilio Platti, OP, the Italian-Belgian Dominican who also works at the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies in Cairo, Egypt. Also a professor emeritus at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, Platti traced the historical evolution of Islam, and its relationship with Christianity. He admitted that “dialogue with Islam” was never easy, but this is no reason to abandon the efforts for peaceful and harmonious collaboration. During the open forum, Platti pointed out that Islam needs to resolve “a particular crisis of identity” that has also been responsible for the emergence of many extremist groups nowadays.
Fr. José Antonio E. Aureada, OP and Assoc. Prof. Augusto de Viana, Ph.D. Fr. Aureada talked about the contribution of Fr. Francisco Marin Sola, OP, also called “Pare Quicoy”, who earned his Theology degrees from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila and taught at the Catholic University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
Aureada’s talk was followed by the presentation of Assoc. Prof. Augusto de Viana, Ph.D., Chair of UST Department of History, who focused his lecture on the contributions of Fr. Fidel Villaroel, OP as a Dominican historian, and a prolific “saint-maker.”
Fr. Virgilio Ojoy, OP, Associate professor of dogmatic theology at UST Faculty of Sacred Theology, and Fr. Rodel E. Aligan, OP, former Dean and current Assoc. Professor of the same faculty, delivered the afternoon lectures of the second day. Ojoy talked about the contributions of Fr. Pedro Salgado, OP in the area of social justice, and Aligan spoke about the significant efforts of Bishop Leonardo Legaspi, O.P., D.D. in the area of Ecclesiology.
The last day started with the talk of Fr. Michael Sherwin, OP, professor of Moral Theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, who spoke about the works of Fr. Servais-Theodore Pinckaers, OP in the renewal of moral theology.
He was followed by Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P., Dean of UST Faculty of Sacred Theology, who shared about the importance of preaching in the ministry of the Dominicans. de la Rosa’s lecture challenged the Dominicans, and the participants, to become better preachers. He also laid down helpful principles that would help preachers develop and improve their craft.
Fr. Quirico T. Pedregosa, OP, present Rector of UST Central Seminary and former Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, delivered the last lecture. Pedregosa talked about the “missionary impulse of preaching to the peripheries.” He ended his lecture with a moving narration of the lives and ministry of two Dominicans: Fr. Anthony Leo Hofstee, OP, who spent his life with the lepers of Tala Leprosarium, Philippines, and Bishop Pierre Claverie, OP, who offered his life for the poor of Oran, Algeria. These Dominicans, the priest emphasized, lived the “path of downward mobility” exemplified by Christ in the Gospels.
Part of the Research Fortnight activity of the University’s Office of the Vice Rector for Research and Innovation (OVRRI), taking the place of the bi-annual Theology Week Conference of the Faculty of Sacred Theology, the event was organized in collaboration with the Office for Grants, Endowments, and Partnerships in Higher Education and the UST Theological Society and convened by Fr. Jannel N. Abogado, OP, Director of CRSE, and Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, OP, Dean of the Faculty of Sacred Theology
The conference lectures will be published in the Philippiniana Sacra, an academic journal of the University of Santo, that is also currently celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.
The conference participants were composed of priests, religious sisters, Dominican laity, catechists, theology teachers, and members of the laity who sought to learn more about their potential contributions to the Church. (Joel Sagut / CBCP News)