Friday, February 13, 2009

cambiar el mundo

Yesterday the UAC-CP celebrated the beginning of the 2009 school year with an inaugural mass and convocation.  At 10am, all students, faculty, and staff gathered in the courtyard of Campus Manning for the official flag raising ceremony.  Lined up according to their major area of study, students sang the national anthem as Hugh Smeltekop, Msgr. Juan Vargas, and Fr. Freddy del Villar raised the flags.

Hugh Smeltekop, UAC-CP Vice Director, Msgr. Juan Vargas, UAC-CP President and Bishop of the Coroico Diocese, and Fr. Freddy del Villar, UAC-CP Director raise the flags (the Wipahla flag of the indigenous people, the Bolivian flag, and the Catholic University flag).

After an official welcome by a representative of the UAC-CP's study body council, the large crowd proceeded to the church where they were shown a Bolivian-produced mini-documentary about the UAC-CP and received a special,  recently recorded greeting from UAC-CP founder, Sr. Damon Nolan, who reminded students that she is always with them in spirit and asked them to remain true to themselves.  

The College's musical group makes use of traditional instruments, like the charengo, pan flute, etc., and incorporates these native sounds into liturgical music. 

The mass was celebrated by several priests from the Coroico diocese; Bishop Juan Vargas gave the homily.  "Why are we here?" he asked rhetorically.  "Of course we are here to look for a profession, but first we need to learn respect and love," he said.  "We are here to form a community, a family.  We are here to improve lives.  We are here to move forward."  

Msgr. Vargas reminded students that the College is an institution that was founded to respond to the needs of campesinos.  "How are we going to improve our lives?  By improving the places we come from," he said.  "People think that change within our country needs to happen with fuerza, but we are going to change the future of this country through education."

Part of that education, Vargas said, comes with teaching core values, like love and respect.  "We are here to help those people who are marginalized, in the corner; we are here to take care of our brothers and sisters who are suffering, exploited."

Hugh Smeltekop summed up the Bishop's sentiments during his personal greeting. "We are here to change the what?" he asked the student body.  "El mundo!" they responded.  We are here to change the world.

It was standing room only at St. Francis of Assisi Church on Campus Manning.

Following personal greetings from directors of academic areas and a lecture from Fr. Freddy about rules and regulations, people gathered outside for a reception of sandwiches and refrescos.

1 comment:

Nathan K said...

Damn, the Church looks good!