A school for the mind and for the heart. This was the rallying call of Fr. Ramon Bautista, SJ as he lead the faculty and staff of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University in their recollection held at the University Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In the two-hour event, Fr. Bautista, who holds a doctorate in Ignatian Spirituality from the University of London, urged the congregation to fight depression, violence, materialism, careerism and secularism and embody a deeper sense of gratitude rooted in faith. He went on to invite everyone in attendance to share this renewal with their students and colleagues, highlighting the message that Jesuit schools do not only aim for intellectual excellence.
As classes resume in the afternoon, students were treated to a campus literally filled with characters straight out of anime and manga series. A cosplay convention was held at the Brebeuf Gymnasium dubbed as “Otaku Attacku” that catered to AdZU students who have been caught with this recent Japanese pop culture craze. Participants who came in their best costumes were recognized in the closing.
Late afternoon witnessed an inspiring gathering of volunteers, victims and fire-fighters –all lead characters of the Great Fire of Camino Nuevo six years ago. Students, faculty and staff members were treated to an hour of stories and images of the conflagration that nearly wiped out AdZU’s depressed neighbours. In attendance was Fr. Bill Kreutz, SJ who was university president then and who also recounted the valiant effort of the Ateneo community to assist the victims. Acting university president Fr. Wilfredo Samson, SJ and Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, assistant to the president for social development were also present. The Gallery of the Peninsula and the Archipelago which hosted the gathering, has on display photographs of the largest blaze Zamboanga City has ever witnessed in history.