The UP Student Chaplaincy Program

NOTE: The UP Chaplaincy from 2003-2008 had this program for the students and faculty of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. As a result of the expansion of the vision of the University in its Centennial Celebrations that ended on 17 December 2008, the service of the Jesuits went beyond the walls of the University into every nook and cranny of the world.  A new mission is now given to us. The succeeding posts endeavors to share the Gospel in a Global University.

VISION: What is the Vision of a Jesuit Youth Chaplaincy?

First, a Student Chaplaincy facilitates the building of a Wisdom Community. The sense of community is “an undergraduate experience that helps students go beyond their own private interest, learn about the world around them, develop a sense of civic and social responsibility, and discover how they as individuals, can contribute to the larger society of which they are a part.” A wisdom community cultivates wisdom learned through conversation, in friendship, in small communities, from and with wisdom figures such as teachers and ministers. Wisdom is an interpersonal endeavor. Wisdom is more than knowledge and skill; it includes values and a grasp of one’s own ultimate meaning. Meaning is where religious tradition becomes relevant to the university’s search for wisdom.

Second, the Student Chaplaincy hopes to contribute constructively to culture. In the dialogue between faith and wisdom, faith makes a contribution to culture and to leadership. The Katipunan Block of UP, Ateneo and Miriam forms future leaders of the Philippines.

Culture tends to overlook the depth dimension of human life and the realm of ultimate meanings. The chaplain and the campus minister can be an instrument for helping an individual to see the relationship between one’s faith commitment and the need to make the culture more human and more Christian. In an increasingly secularized society, campus ministers can alert the culture to its religious roots and help individuals achieve personal integration.

The Student Chaplaincy thus considers several factors for its effective ministry. Ateneo’s campus is metropolitan and public. The university has four student residences or dormitories: Cervini, Eliazo and the newly-constructed North and South University Residences. Ateneans can be classified as residents who live in university-owned housing, and commuters who live outside of the university premises. A commuter is any student who does not live in campus-owned housing.

Each type of student has specific needs. In Ateneo, residents have roommate problems, privacy and financial needs, and specially the freshmen, they struggle with adjustment. Many of them suffer from homesickness. The commuters of Ateneo and UP have mobility problems. Travel presents a stress source. They need a support system in a huge university. They lack independence; they suffer from parental pressure for grades; they have domestic duties; and their parents may not be able to understand the university environment. In addition, the commuter needs to have sense of belonging, that they find a home in the university. Thus friendships and organizations are important to them.

To minister to students, these factors are considered. And thus, the program for the Chaplaincy and the qualifications of Chaplain and mentors should be built around these profiles.

PROGRAM: How does the UP Chaplaincy provide pastoral care to students in UP Diliman?

First, the chaplaincy forms a wisdom community. This community gathers together in one primary event: the Eucharist. Isolation is one of the most commonly described experiences on a university campus. The call to form community based on faith flows from the nature of the gospel itself and offers the real possibility of overcoming differences based on age, roles and social position. The Eucharist is the primary focus for the creation of faith community and a venue for cultural appreciation and development in the Church’s mandate to inculturate our faith. This is also in the spirit of Fr. John P. Delaney SJ who initially formed the community in UP Diliman.

In UP, the primary venue for gathering is the 11:00 AM Sunday mass at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice. The choirs are composed of students. Lectors, servers, commentators (members of the Student Campus Ministry Group or SCMG) are all students of the university. Sometimes other non-religious groups such as fraternities and sororities, co-curricular organizations serve at mass. Dance Groups such as the UP Filipiniana Dance Group have lent their talents in the mass. Choral groups of international fame such as the UP Concert Chorus and the UP Singing Ambassadors have sung during these masses. Choirs such as the UP Employees, Canto Cinco, Sandiwa, Catholic Students Community Choir, and Koro Emerenciana of student boarders sing regularly in student-sponsored masses at 6pm weekdays and 11 AM Sundays. We have formed Musica Chiesa or Church Music, composed of volunteer musicians from the College of Music. They play every Sunday at 11AM.

Upon the requests of many sectors in UP, masses are held at different areas in the university. At the request of specific groups, the UP Chaplain goes to their areas for masses and blessings. St. Ignatius exhorts Jesuits to go where the need is and where they are. As constitutive of this pastoral sense, we have been able to reach the dormitories, colleges, offices, student organizations and barkadas who request for masses. There are masses held under mango trees (for barkada masses), corners, offices and lobbies of buildings.

Second, the chaplaincy has student-group focus. Club or organizational status gives official recognition to campus ministry. By law, any privilege or benefit given to a college club at a public institution is also offered to campus ministry — especially if there is a lack of institutional support.

Thus, the presence of religious organizations like In-Christ Thrust for University Students (ICTUS), UP-Student Catholic Action (UPSCA), Christian Life Community (UP-CLC), Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA), Youth for Christ (YFC), Musica Chiesa and the Student Campus Ministry Group (SCMG) lend recognition to the presence of the chaplaincy in the university.

Non-Religious Groups also participate in the Chaplaincy. Two specific groups asked the Chaplaincy to provide spiritual guidance and support for its members. Thus, I have become part of their formation. These are the UP Filipiniana Dance Group and the UP Fighting Maroons.

Third, the chaplaincy works with the parish. The parish provides venues for meetings, planning and holding meaningful events. The Delaney Hall has been a venue for the CYA, YFC prayer meetings; organizational and catechetical events and social gatherings. Two organizations that have been present for more than 25 years, ICTUS and UPSCA and the new UP-CLC hold their tambayan or offices within the parish premises.

With this collaboration, the students support parish events such as the Shell-ter Project for the repair of the church’s dome, and provide catechism and tutorials to UP Communities such as UPCLC’s Area 14 & 17. The students also give catechism and tutorials to different areas in the Diocese of Cubao such as Krus na Ligas High School and Balara Elementary School.

Fourth, the chaplaincy involves the larger community through communication media. Traditional communication vehicles such as the Campus Ministry Bulletin board, parish announcements are used to get the support of the larger community of UP.

Posters and Flyers. In the Ignatian principle of cura personalis (personal care), we give items to churchgoers as keepsakes: Christmas Flyers and cards during the Chaplaincy-sponsored Simbanggabi mass, stampitas and bookmarks, and small gift items. We have used radio and television to announce our activities such as our rock concert last February 23, 2007.

Cyber-evangelization. The McCann Erickson survey of 2006 tells us that the young (age 20 and below which comprise 51% of the population of the Philippines) and the youth (age 21 to 39) live virtual lives (ergo, the Internet cafes). They compose the majority of the Chaplaincy’s clientele.

The regular campus ministry newsletter, UP and About, was distributed monthly every 2nd Sunday has evolved today into a website (, so that it will be read by countless others, at their own time and place.

The website contains weekly news in photos, the Rationale of the UP Chaplaincy (History, Vision, Program, etc.), Feature Articles.

It also contains the monthly schedule of the Chaplaincy, so that those who visit the site will be updated of activities in the Catholic life of students in the university.

The website’s main links has Fr. Jboy’s homilies, daily prayer points based on daily mass readings, done by Patrick Nogoy SJ who is assigned in UP. He updates this site regularly, and is helping students to pray while on the internet.

The website has links for contact information, to all religious organizations and affiliates, and a comment and tagboard for feedback and inter-active comments.

It also contains a 2-minute reflection on video, from Fr. Jboy’s Kape’t Pandasal on ABS-CBN.

Fifth, to make the connection between faith and everyday life, the UP chaplaincy provides faith-sharing activities to help students appropriate their faith. With the help of Jesuit scholastics from Loyola House of Studies and Arrupe International Residence, Execom and Leadership Faith Sharings of ICTUS, UPSCA and UP-CLC are done. The Charismatic communities of the Youth for Christ (YFC) and the Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA) are handled by their own leaders, however talks and catechism is given by the UP Chaplain. As of the moment, I have 9 Jesuits helping me in this program.

Moreover, the Retreat In Daily Life (RDL) was opened for students who would like to deepen their faith in God. The RDL spans 10 weeks. The retreatant regularly sees his/her spiritual director who provides them with prayer points and listens to their progress in prayer. We have two batches of RDL participants each school-year (August – November; December to March).

ICTUS and UPSCA will have their RDLs cut-out for their members. Mark Lopez SJ will handle UPSCA’s RDL and Patrick Nogoy SJ will handle ICTUS. Prayer points will be available at the chaplaincy’s website. Shown is the link for retreat prayer points maintained by Fr. Jboy SJ.

Spiritual Direction for members of organizations (not just those on RDL) are provided for members of ICTUS, UPSCA. CLC’s activities are handled by Fr. Jboy and the team of CLC-Philippines.

The chaplaincy also helps give retreats and recollections to these students, as well as the faculty of UP.

UPSCA at Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila. Faculty and Alumni Retreatants of UP chose between two programs during the Holy Week: a live-in retreat at San Jose Seminary and a live-out retreat with speakers for each day.

Catechism is regularly held in UP for students who volunteered to teach catechesis to different schools. Question-and-answer or Open Forum classes provide students to ask questions about the faith, which they find it difficult to get in UP. There is no religion class offered in the university. This program is called Cat for Cat (Catechism for Catechists). However, the catechism classes are not exclusively for catechists. There are talks cut-out for questions about the faith. The picture shows Fr. Jboy explaining the Eucharist using a video.

Sixth, community-building events are not to be missed. Sports events for Student Catholic Action organizations in Katipunan (AtSCA-Ateneo, PSBA-SCA, and UP-SCA) have been organized. Inter-Chaplaincy sports events and collaborative shows/concerts have been organized.

When mudslides devastated Bicol, the UP Chaplaincy organized a 3-stage relief operation in collaboration with the UP religious organizations, the Bicol-regional organizations, Gawad Kalinga (UP-Ateneo-Miriam) and other volunteer student orgs. This 3-Stage Activity is better at bringing all organizations to work for a cause.

STAGE 1. The month of December 2006-January 2006, we began with immediate collections of relief goods sent via Philippine Airlines to the Diocese of Legaspi.

Stage 1 included an inter-school exhibit to increase awareness. Photos were contributed by UP Bicolano Students who went home for Christmas. The exhibits were displayed at various buildings in UP, then it was transferred to Miriam, and finally to Ateneo before the concert.

STAGE 2: THE CONCERT. On 23 February 2007, we had the rock concert, Sa Bicol Banda: mga banda para sa Bicol, featuring 15 popular rock bands and solo performers in the music industry with the help of the Jesuit Music Ministry and the Rock-Ed.

The pictures show the students who organized the concert, Mr. Noel Cabangon, and Sponge Cola.

STAGE 3: In April 2007, volunteer students and faculty of UP went to Bicol to build houses for the victims with the help of GK UP/Ateneo/Miriam. Transportation for the first 60 UP volunteers was free. (Check out the pictures at our website or my multiply page at

Finally, the chaplaincy has a visibility program. This enables the chaplaincy to be really present to students. Requests for blessings, masses, ecumenical events, convocations and meetings are accepted. Dormitory programs such as masses, prayer groups and the recent question-and- answer talk for students with questions about Catholicism at the Kamia Residence were well-received. Bro. Francis Xu-feng SJ and the Aruppe scholastics organized this event.

In addition, the chaplaincy helps coordinate and collaborate with different offices in the university social events such as the UP Maroons basketball games, beauty contests, song writing contests, etc.

The chaplaincy also joins advocacy events such as book drives with the National Book Development Board, environmental advocacy and disaster response. The pictures you see are the families of FIND, Families of Involuntary Disappearance of the College of Social Work and Community Development.

Special Performances are included in the Chaplaincy’s menu of activities. A prayer concert with student musicians was held in December 2006. Marian haranas on September and organizational living rosaries were organized by the Campus Ministry office. Culminating activities for each semester are done through the 2nd Sunday Mass in October (for the 1st semester), the Simbanggabi mass (last day of classes for the Christmas season), and 2nd Sunday of March for the 2nd semester.

Please note that some of these activities can achieve various goals of the Chaplaincy. For example, prayer concerts and performances are spiritual events, community-building events and visibility activities altogether.

Future Plans. Last June 2007, execom members of each organization with the choirs for the student masses met for a planning session at La Mesa. We decided to continue with our 3-year plan again for this year, but we have other exciting activities in store. The choirs have coordinated the songs till May 2008. The list of the songs is posted at our egroups. Musicians have been given guidelines from official Church documents. And mass songs will be arranged by them for vioins 1 & 2, viola, flute, cello and percussions.

After a successful healing concert, Musica Chiesa with the choirs of the Sunday 11 AM Mass will organize a healing concert for children with cancer, orthopedic and UP-PGH in collaboration with the chaplaincy of UP-PGH and UP-Manila (Fr. Richie Elot SJ).

Through these programs, we hope that we will be able to be of service to the students and contribute to their holistic formation. We hope that they will be able to become heroic leaders of the Philippines in the near future.

PARISH VS CHAPLAINCY. What is the difference between the Parish and the Chaplaincy? What distinguishes a parish priest from the chaplain in the university?

The Parish Priest. Canon Law 518 says, “As a general rule, a parish is to be territorial, that is, it embraces all the Christian faithful within a certain territory (Book II, Part II, Title III, Chapter VI Parishes, Pastors and Parochial Vicars). Thus, the parish priest who is in charge of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in UP Diliman, takes care of the faithful who reside in UP. There are 14 communities in UP, and most of those who reside there are not members of the UP academic community. Within the main university premises are the communities of Pag-Asa, Ricarte, Dagohoy, Palaris, Area 1 & 3, Area 2, Village A and Village B. Along CP Garcia Street are Areas 14 & 17, Area 11, Amorsolo, and Hardin ng Rosas. Near Philcoa are the communities of Arboretum and UP Bliss. Aside from the parish communities, there are churchgoers who attend mass in UP, but are not necessarily from the academic community. The present parish priest of UP Diliman is Fr. Raymond L. Arre of the Diocese of Cubao.

The Chaplain. Canon 564 defines the role of the chaplain: “A chaplain is a priest to whom is entrusted in a stable manner the pastoral care, at least in part, of some community or particular group of the Christian faithful, to be exercised in accord with universal and particular law.” Moreover, the chaplain is given all the faculties that are needed for the proper pastoral care of his flock (Cannon 566) and is “appointed for those who cannot avail themselves of the ordinary care of the pastor because of the condition of life such as migrants, exiles, refugees, nomads, sailors, etc. (Cannon 568).” Thus, chaplaincies are set-up for special people who does not reside in the territory but need personal care. The Jesuits have chaplaincies in Muntinlupa for prisoners (Jesuit Prison Service), for the sick (Philippine General Hospital and Culion Leper Sanitarium), for sailors (Apostolate of the Sea in Cebu City), migrants (Pastoral Ministry for Overseas Workers) and lumads. As Fr. John Patrick Delaney SJ was assigned to the UP community who had just transferred from Manila to Diliman, Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ is assigned to give pastoral care to the students whose needs vary from permanent residents.

The Campus Minister. The Catholic Church defines for those working within the university the role of ministers including the Chaplain and the Campus Minister like Sr. Sonia Aldeguer RSCJ: “Since a true education must strive for the integral formation of the human person, a formation which looks toward the person’s final end, and at the same time toward the common good of societies, children and young people are to be reared that they can develop harmoniously their physical, moral and intellectual talents, that they acquire a more perfect sense of responsibility and a correct use of freedom, and that they be educated for active participation in social life (Can 795).” And thus, the Church directs the diocesan bishop (who is Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao) “to have serious pastoral concern for students by erecting a parish for them or by assigning a priest for this purpose on a stable basis; he is also to provide for Catholic university centers at universities, even non-Catholic ones [such as UP], to give assistance, to young people (Can 813).” It is important to note that ‘young people’ here means all of them regardless of religion.

When we look at the Catholic community in UP, the Church has shown her concern and love for each member who come to deepen their lives of faith. It has explicitly assigned people to care for specific groups including those who are not enrolled or are employed in the university. The work of charity is different from legalism. Fr. Raymond, Sr. Sonia rscj, and Fr. Jboy SJ, including the parish and student religious organizations like UPSCA, ICTUS, YFC, CYA, CLC and the SCMG (Student Campus Ministry Group who serves at mass) who take on the same work as ours, work together for the UP community in general. The ministers collaborate with the academic administration and government officials for the whole community of UP, residents or transients. Hopefully, we may be able to help in the formation of all for the sake of our country, and in a wider sense, for humanity.


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