Xavier School Nuvali took part in the worldwide celebration of the recent feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, by holding the Ignatian Heritage Week from July 27th to July 31st.
The celebration started off with the grand Mass of the Feast of St. Ignatius last July 27, Sunday, held at the Ateneo de Manila High School Covered Courts. The whole Philippine Province of the Society took part in this Mass; all of the Jesuits’ friends and apostolates were welcome as well. A number of faculty and a select number of students from XSN—those part of the student council—were able to attend. Campus Minister Fr. Xavier Olin, S.J., was even able to tour the group around the grounds of the Loyola House of Studies and the Loyola School of Theology, where Jesuits stay and study for most of their formative years as scholastics in training.
The Monday after, July 28, saw the CLE classes momentarily shift their focus to the life of Ignatius: who, really, is this “Ignatius of Loyola” we are always praying to, what does a cannonball have to do with anything, and how did he become the founder of the Society. Campus-wide week-long activities also started to take shape: a video loop of Ignatius’s life was played in the LRC, a photo booth where one may take a photo with a Jesuit was set up, and several student artworks were also on exhibit.
The day concluded with an intimate, half-hour gathering of some students, a handful of parents, faculty, and staff at the Oratory. Isa Liquido (9A), Clarice Bernal (9A), Iñigo Magtibay (7B), Mr. Michael del Mundo, Mr. Abner Dormiendo, Mr. Marck San Juan, Mr. Kevin Cordoviz, Mr. Marvin Ong, and School Chaplain Fr. Munching de Guzman, S.J. sang a wonderful selection of songs, all to raucous applause: “Roar,” “Jar of Hearts,” “Warrior is a Child,” “Pilgrim’s Theme,” and “Pananagutan.” Entitled IgNIGHTS @ XSN: A Night of Acoustic Music with Ignatius, the activity is established as a creative outlet for both the students and faculty in line with a particular theme. Similar to its conceptual forefather, First Fridays Unplugged in Xavier School San Juan, this event is envisioned to be a monthly tradition brimming with talent from students and even the faculty.
A couple of days were also devoted to going around the campus in a pilgrimage for Grades 7-9, exposing them to the religious figures, places, and images on campus. English/Filipino Department Chair Mr. Frederick Perez and CLE/SS Department Chair Mrs. Elsa Magtibay headed the tour, as they explained the meaning and significance of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Xavier Pilgrim, the images of Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier, and the Oratory of St. Francis Xavier.
The day itself of Ignatius’s feast, July 31, saw XSN burst into the week’s wondrous culmination: two Masses for the Feast (one for K-G2, another for G3-G9), both immediately followed by an agape. The children’s Mass held in the morning for the younger children saw Fr. Munch in his creative, theatric best, wowing the children with an effective, enjoyable, and entertaining homily. The younger children’s agape consisted of a smorgasbord of all types of siomai, home-made baked goodies, doughnuts, hotdogs, and much else shared to all.
The Mass in the afternoon, on the other hand, had a guest Jesuit, Fr. Francis Alvarez, celebrating. As Fr. Munch, Fr. Xave, and newly-minted Reverend Chrys Exaltacion, S.J. looked on in co-celebration, Fr. Francis delivered an engaging and emphatic homily about the transience of life as we know it. These things will. not. last! The enthusiasm of some of the students were off the charts as they actually wanted to recite as the homily was being delivered!
As we settle back into the routine of school, onward to the close of a typhoon-ravaged first quarter, the Ignatian Heritage Week invites us to take an introspective look into the heart of Jesuit education by giving due focus to Ignatius, the man who started it all. The giving of self is ever total, ever more (magis)—embodied most by his famous prayer:
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding, and my entire will,
all that I have and possess.
Thou hast given all to me.
To Thee, O lord, I return it.
All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will.
Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.
Happy fiesta, St. Ignatius! In omnibus amare et servire Domino! (“In everything, love and serve the Lord!”)