UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) formally began its traditional “Paskuhan” festivities with a lighting ceremony for its campus décor and the Eucharistic Celebration at the Plaza Mayor.
Prior to the lighting, UST Vice-Rector Rev. Fr. Isaias Tiongco OP delivered a message by UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang OP, PhD at the anticipated Mass for the first Sunday of Advent: “…for the Light of Christ to be in us, as we tread the road through trials.”
Father Ang said, “A Christmas without light is not Christmas. Let there be light in our souls, in our hearts, as we continue walking down the road to triumph.”
The rector wrote: “Let there be the beautiful Light of Jesus shining upon us, and being with us always. May there be light in our hearts, in our families, and in our Thomasian and parish communities.”
To illuminate the campus, 210,000 energy-efficient LEDs lights will be turned on between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. until the Feast of the Three Kings on January 6, 2022.
According to UST Secretary-General Rev. Fr. Louie Coronel, OP, EHL, this year’s Paskuhan theme: “The Pilgrimage: Our Road through Trials, Our Road to Triumphs” is about the pilgrimage that Mary and Joseph took looking for a place where the Child Jesus would be born. He said this pilgrimage is likewise experienced in the present time, when Filipinos journey together as a people, looking for answers to the many questions related to the pandemic: how mankind will be able to conquer the health crisis, and when it will see the contagion’s end.
“Christmas Fireworks,” a musical piece composed by the Conservatory of Music Dean Antonio Africa, PhD, accompanied the lighting of the campus shown alongside a montage of the previous year’s Paskuhan lighting ceremonies, which was produced by the UST Communications Bureau.
The decorations include the 70-foot-tall Christmas tree, life-sized figures of the Holy Family at the Arch of the Centuries, the Cross atop the Main Building, including many more lights framing the Benavides Park and campus streets.
The Christmas Tree, in particular, is made up of 50,000 blue LEDs that draw attention to the Star, with meteor lights interspersed to enliven the tree. Another 160,000 LEDs, majority of which were reused from previous years, brighten up the other campus trees and structures. Some lights form the shape of gothic arches as a throwback to a time when the university was still in Intramuros.
UST’s Paskuhan season was scheduled to culminate on December 17 with the following activities: a celebration in its virtual Minecraft campus at 9 a.m.; a Eucharistic Celebration to be presided over by Fr. Ang to be concelebrated with Very Rev. Filemon I. dela Cruz Jr. OP and Father Tiongco at 5:15 p.m.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of UST’s annual Paskuhan. To bring the festive spirit to the Thomasian community that will be held minus its live audience, the event will be live-streamed via the official UST Facebook page.