The CONFIRMATI at The GESU
Bishop Emeritus Ted Bacani
"slapped around" 160 fine young men,
thereby CONFIRMing their Catholic Faith.
In a brief but rousing homily,
he encouraged the Grade 7 "Confirmati"
to truly live by The Word;
not just by knowing the Gospel,
but by truly bearing WITNESS to It.
I'm optimistic that Bishop Ted's sermon,
which was typically grounded in the current socio-political scene,
was able to slap some sense into these boys...
they won't grow up to be like some
truly embarrasing Ateneans currently HOGging
present-day Philippine Politics.
The Sacrament of Confirmation
was held at the CHURCH of the GESU;
located on the rise of the Sacred Heart Hill,
I was surprised to realize that it is the
first church ever built inside the Loyola campus.
It's now also one of the most beautiful churches
in the Philippines.
The Church of the Gesù
is a landmark church of the Ateneo de Manila University.
Designed by Jose Pedro Recio and Carmelo Casas,
the edifice’s massive triangular structure symbolizes the Holy Trinity,
as well as the three-fold mission and vision of the school.
Its shape and design is also meant to suggest
the outstretched arms of the Sacred Heart,
and the traditional Filipino Bahay Kubo.
In front of the church is the Sacred Heart statue,
a replica of a small wooden sculpture
offered by Ateneo alumnus Jose Rizal to his old Jesuit professors
when he graduated from his beloved alma mater.
The statue depicts Jesus with welcoming, outstretched arms.
At the base of the statue is an inscription from Matthew 11:28:
"Come to me all of you who are burdened, and I will refresh you.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and gentle of heart,
thus you will find refreshment for your souls.
My yoke is sweet and my burden light."
The altar is supported by a slab of adobe rock,
believed to be in abundant supply underneath the Loyola Heights campus.
Since in Catholic practice the ultimate sacrifice of the Christ
is presented to God upon the altar,
the altar was made to be supported by the adobe rock
to symbolize that the Ateneo in itself is an altar
where many sacrifices are offered.
The crucifix inside the church is unusual,
in that it depicts Jesus looking skywards,
contrary to many crucifixes that have Jesus bowing his head.
It's skyward-looking interpretation of the crucifixion
refers in a way to the idealism and hope
that should be instilled in Ateneans.
The two Ateneans below,
Ninong Spanky and Inaanak Ico,
are trying very hard to look like hopeful idealists...