Celebrating unity and Augustinian education, the University of San Agustin (USA) came alive with vibrant celebrations honoring the Feast Day of its patron saint, Saint Augustine of Hippo. These festivities not only highlighted the significance of unity amidst diversity but also showcased the institution’s commitment to holistic education and community engagement.
This year, the traditional annual feast day celebration, observed on August 28, coincided with a national holiday and faced unexpected disruptions due to adverse weather conditions this week. As a result, the university made necessary changes and adjustments to university-wide events to align with the prevailing circumstances.
On August 28, a holy mass was held at the Main Chapel led by His Excellency Most Rev. Jose O. Lazo, DD, Archbishop of Jaro. The Augustinian community was joined by friends from various religious groups, alumni, and stakeholders. After the mass, a communal lunch was shared, fostering connections and camaraderie among attendees. To mark the start of the academic year 2023-2024, the university observed the annual “Red Mass” on August 30, symbolizing the unity of minds and hearts. His Excellency Most Rev. Renato P. Mayugba, DD, the Bishop of Laoag, emphasized the teachings of Saint Augustine, urging individuals not to succumb to hatred and anger but to strive for harmony. Students and personnel were encouraged to choose someone to pray for throughout the school year and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
(Red Mass celebration for A.Y. 2023-2024)
Following the mass, student leaders led the call for in-kind donations for the victims of Typhoon Goring, in collaboration with the Social Advocacy and Community Engagement Office (SACEO) Bulig Agustino donation drive. Furthermore, new Augustinian Medical Technologists passers, and topnotchers were recognized. Through these endeavors, the commitment to extending the Augustinian service beyond the immediate community is evident.
Centering on the celebration of thanksgiving, the Augustinian community blessed and inaugurated the Atty. Henry T. Villegas Law Library and the Fray Luis de Leon Learning Commons. The blessing and inauguration were led by Rev. Fr. Frederick C. Comendador, OSA, University President, and the Augustinian friars. Present also at the event are the Learning Resource Center personnel headed by its Director, Ms. Rhea L. Espina, the faculty, staff, and students of the College of Law, key officials of the University, and the family of Atty. Henry T. Villegas, benefactor of the Law Library.
These state-of-the-art facilities reflect the university’s dedication to academic excellence and provide modern spaces for students and members of the academe to learn, study, and collaborate. Notably, the Law Library houses historical copies of the Official Gazette of the Philippines, underscoring the institution’s respect for its cultural heritage.
This event marks another milestone for the University as it continues its Augustinian educational legacy of providing academic excellence for 120 years.
As part of the celebration, the university organized an Augustinian Forum and offered free reflexology and manicure sessions to faculty, staff, and personnel. The Augustinian Forum, a collaboration between the Center for Religious Studies (CRS) and the Human Resource and Management Office (HRMO), facilitated deep philosophical and theological discussions rooted in the teachings of Saint Augustine. Rooted in the teaching of St. Augustine, Fr. John Elmer Abad, Ph.D. – the guest speaker of the said forum – delved into profound philosophical, theological, and spiritual discussions.
Complementing the spiritual and intellectual aspects of the celebration, the HRMO’s offering of Free Reflexology and Free Manicure sessions gave a touch of physical rejuvenation and relaxation as a thoughtful gesture in acknowledging the dedication and hard work of the University’s faculty, staff, and personnel.
Augustinian Forum at 7th Flr, CPMT Bldg. with Fr. John Elmer Abad, Ph. D.
Free Reflexology and Manicure Sessions for faculty and personnel at Herrera Hall
The celebrations culminated with the Cassiciacum Prayer Dialogue themed “Saint Augustine: Builder of Unity.” Students gathered at the USA Gym to engage in a question-and-answer session with His Excellency Most Rev. Renato P. Mayugba, DD, followed by reflections on the gospel, candle lighting, and praise and worship. This event underscored the university’s commitment to spiritual growth and fostering a sense of togetherness.
Cassiciacum Prayer Dialogue: “Saint Augustine: Builder of Unity”. Photo grabbed from USA Publications Facebook Page
In celebrating the Feast Day of Saint Augustine, the University of San Agustin demonstrated its dedication to unity, holistic education, and community engagement. Through these festivities, the institution paid homage to its rich heritage while embracing a future of continued excellence.