SMU commemorates 160th CICM Day; Feast of the Light celebrated

To commemorate the missionary zeal of the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (CICM) pioneers, students and personnel of Saint Mary’s University (SMU) gathered as one Marian community to celebrate the 160th CICM Founding Anniversary on November 28, 2022. The CICM Day officially began through a Eucharistic Mass presided over by SMU Chaplain Rev. Fr. Alberto I. Tamisen, CICM, held at the Fr. Cornelius Tonus Gymnasium. “Therefore, could there be anything better than to love as [how] God loves us, to give oneself to him to be completely possessed, be held over, satisfy and use for His own purposes. This is the charism of CICM,” said Tamisen in his homily. “Through mighty prayers and repentance, action, mercy, and compassion, let us ask the Lord that we may be empowered to become instruments in the deliverance of the neglected, and the oppressed, particularly the helpless children, in tyranny and cruelty,” he added. Subsequently, the mass attendees took part in the Appreciation Program for the CICM Confreres. After which, the CICM/SMU Exhibit was officially opened with the ribbon cutting ceremony for public viewing at the Jubilee Library ground floor spearheaded by the SMU University Learning Resource Center (ULRC). The exhibit was done to give the Marian community an overview of its past or the historical development of the CICM in Northern Philippines and SMU in particular, as stated by Mr. David A. Cabonero, ULRC Director. In the afternoon, the whole Marian community lit up the campus and the streets of Bayombong through a parade of different school lanterns as part of the highly-anticipated Feast of the Light. In his introductory speech, Mr. Samuel B. Damayon, Dean of Student Affairs and Services, stressed the true meaning of the annual tradition. Moreover, he challenged the whole Marian community to become light bearers like Jesus and leave a spark in the hearts of those who only see darkness and evil in the world. Following this, students and personnel gathered at Fr. Theophile Verbist Park to witness the lighting rite and blessing of the Christmas Village. In his message of hope, Rev. Fr. Philip A. Yu Jr., CICM, Vice President for Mission and Identity, underscored how the country has forgotten the spiritual importance of the tradition of lighting Christmas trees and Christmas villages. “We are trapped in secularism because we are no longer even able to teach our young children the meaning and the symbolism of the feast of lights. Our lantern parade, the lighting of the Christmas village, and the Christmas tree are all ways of expressing our faith and our belief,” he said. “This feast of the light illustrates how Jesus Christ is our light and how the birth of Jesus renews our hope and our commitment as we emerge from the shadows of darkness. As we praise Jesus Christ as our light and life, we adorn ourselves in the beauty of God’s graces,” he furthered. Afterward, students jammed to the tunes of the night, and an open mic session also tickled the listeners’ ears. The events paid tribute to the University’s founding as an institution and to the CICM pioneers who helped cultivate the University and its existing culture. (Report by Marielle Camonayan)

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