Last May 1, the whole Salesian Congregation was rejoicing for the gift of five new Salesians. One of them, the only Filipino in the batch, Bro. Jomar Castillom, hails from Canlubang, Laguna and belongs to the first batch of the High School Department of Don Bosco College, Canlubang. He thus becomes the first Salesian who comes from among our high school alumni in Canlubang. I can just imagine how he felt, the thrill that came with the night, the moments before profession. First profession signifies a reliving of one’s baptism so that our new Salesians acquire once more the baptismal innocence that they got when they were baptized. There is a feeling of joy when they embrace the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity. From that moment of profession, Bro. Jomar would have to sign his name with SDB. There is more than just that. As a Salesian, he would be another Don Bosco among the young. I invite all readers of this message to pray for our new Salesian, Bro. Jomar.
My dear Bosconians,
It seems just yesterday when I was talking to all of you as a batch during the orientation days at the beginning of this scholastic year, your year as Seniors. If you recall, I told you one strong and encouraging statement: “What the fourth years are is what the school will be.” If the senior students are good, then the whole school will be good. A lot of things depend on how the senior students fare.
It was heartening to see you, when during my birthday (still in the first days of this school year), all of you went up the stage to make a promise to do your very best in your senior year. It was a moment of jubilation for me. I did not expect that and to me, that made the impact of that act much stronger and the act itself more meaningful.
Now, looking at what you have been through for the rest of the year, I am happy seeing that all of you were able to complete your scholastic requirements. Everyone has passed. And there is more than that. That which I hold dear, which I remember vividly at this very moment are the tears that were shed during your graduation rites. I have heard from a good number of teachers that this year’s graduation ceremony was among the most moving that they have seen.
I firmly believe that the commencement exercises brought forth more tears than usual because of several factors, two of which I would like to emphasize.
First, that you are an endearing group of Bosconians—rowdy and loud at first blush, but sentimental and grateful in the inside. Malambing is an adjective that can very well fit your batch. Second, that you, both as a batch, and even more so as individuals, have gone through a lot of difficult times from the time you first stepped into Don Bosco as high school students. But as one philosopher said, “What won’t kill you will make you stronger,” I know your struggles have made you better persons. And this makes your graduation a more precious treasure.
This makes us all understand the motto that you have chosen: AD ASTRA PER ASPERA. Onstage in your graduation night, it was written: to the stars through toil. I propose a more euphonic translation: TO GLORY, THROUGH ADVERSITY. You have gone through adversity and so at the end you deserve very much the stars, you deserve that crowning glory you received in graduating from this school. This makes our father Don Bosco proud of you. This makes me proud of you.
My dear Bosconians, my hearty congratulations! There will be more toil, but there will be brighter stars. God bless every step you take in life, every choice!
Yours in Don Bosco,
Fr. Joel N. Camaya, SDB