With the appointment of a new team of religious administrators, majority of whom newly-assigned to San Sebastian College – Recoletos Manila, in a rare event facilitated by the OAPD and ETEEAP Director, Dr. Rodrigo F. Ponce, all religious and lay administrators convened to discuss the direction of the next triennium under the helm of the new SSC-R Manila President, Rev. Fr. Nemesio D. Tolention, OAR.
Rev. Fr. Emeterio D. Buñao, OAR, in his welcome remarks, mentioned that it is good to conduct such a meeting at the beginning of the term, and he hopes that similar meetings may be done from time to time. He further mentioned that administrators are also human beings who need to feel loved and cared for, and who must be able to give love and care to others. Fr. Buñao, who will serve as the Vice President for Administration and HRDC Director, meaningfully said that in such meetings do administrators experience this, as such meetings also become opportunities to “smile, love each other, and to know the warm bodies around.”
HRDC Head, Ms. Mary Grace Poblete, then introduced the lay administrators immediately after the welcome remarks, which was followed in turn by Rev. Fr. Gaudencio Geronimo L. de Mesa, Jr., OAR who introduced the religious administrators. Fr. de Mesa will serve as the Secretary to the School Board and the Dean of the Religious Education Department.
Breaking from expectation, the SDPC Head, Ms. Mary Jane Bautista facilitated a getting-to-know-you activity that allowed the administrators to shun the usual serious atmosphere and to go around meeting and knowing the other members of the administration.
Fr. Tolentin began his message with a presentation of the roles expected of a president, i.e., ensure the standard of the school and attainment of its goals and objectives. He then reminded everyone of the necessity to keep the vision and mission of the institution in mind. “We might be working on a lot of things without realizing that they are actually not related to the vision of the school. We might be going to different directions.”
He then presented the school’s “Life Purpose” and stressed that the quality SSC-R Manila must have – in contrast with that of other institutions’ – is that of the quality of individuals’ relationships with God. “Let us put emphasis on this one: focus on the person and his relationship with God.” Reiterating the goals mentioned in the school’s vision –the promotion of culture, the welfare of society, total development of man geared towards the attainment of eternal salvation – he went on to speak about certain current trends that become threats to spirituality, morality, and the concept of man such as the social media.
With the intention of inspiring the administrators to concern themselves with the struggles of the institution’s constituents, he stated: “We cannot love idea alone. We have to put it in the context of reality. The moment we become Augustinians using these principles, then we may begin forming individuals.”
While presenting the Mission, he gave importance on the last part that states: SSC-R Manila students will become “ready to meet the needs and demands of the local and global communities.” He then proceeded to a reaffirming discussion of SSC-R Manila’s Core Values.
The President also acknowledged certain challenges that the school must brace to face, but kept everyone focused on the objective of forming the students. Besides, he said, in spite of the many setbacks and problems, “we have hope, because every day is a chance for changes. We may have problems, but we must face them as opportunities for change, for development in the attainment of the vision, mission of the school; as an opportunity to grow as a community.”
In a hopeful atmosphere, some lay and religious administrators also took the opportunity of airing their concerns and hopes for the institution to which Fr. Tolentin, seemingly summing-up the tone of the meeting, answered: We are one San Sebastian, one vision, one mission, one goal, one community.
After the Closing Remarks delivered by the incoming Vice President for Finance and ICT Director, Rev. Fr. Rouel M. Sia, OAR, this year’s 1st Religious and Lay Administrators’ Meeting that began at about 9:30 in the morning with Rev. Fr. Gideon Antolin U. Lagrimas, OAR (Vice President for Religious Affairs/ Chaplain/ Campus Ministry Office Head/ SOFI Director) leading the prayer, ended at about 11:30 in a community prayer with everyone seeking the guidance of and prayers from the institution’s patron saint, Sebastian, followed by the singing of the SSC-R Hymn.