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Mira-nila Homes, QC- June 3, 2021 was a momentous date for Recoletos School of Theology (RST) as it staged the first-ever Graduation Rites and Solemn Investiture since the pandemic outbreak (2020) in Our Lady of Consolation Parish.
Fr. Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR, RST Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, presided the Baccalaureate Mass. It was followed by the rites of Solemn Investiture and Graduation headed by Fr. Leander Barrot, OAR, (RST Rector), Fr. Ian Anthony Espartero, OAR (RST Dean of Studies), and Fr. Rodel Aligan, OP (UST-Manila Dean of the Faculty of Ecclesiastical Studies). Professors and formators from the different religious orders, congregations and pious associations were likewise present.
The investiture rites presented sixteen (16) graduates for the Master of Theology (MAT) degree program. Some of these graduates were from the previous batch since there were no rites held the previous year. From these, twelve (12) finished with a major in Systematic Theology. There was a sole Magna Cum Laude achiever and there were eight (8) who garnered the Cum Laude award. Three (3) others finished with Major in Church History. Of the three, two (2) were Cum Laude awardees. Another graduated from a non-thesis degree masteral program achieving the recognition—“with High Honors.”
The rites also presented the twenty-nine (29) graduates of the degree Bachelor in Sacred Theology (SThB) which featured nineteen (19) Latin Awardees: five (5) Magna Cum Laude and 14 Cum Laude awardees. Fray Albert Benedict Soliman, OSA, from Mexico, Pampanga, Magna Cum Laude, was named Valedictorian of RST Academic Year 2020-2021. He delivered the Address of gratitude on behalf of batch 2020 and 2021.
The event also included the recognition of RST employees who have served the institution for twenty-two (22) and twenty-five 25 years with dedication. The recipients of the twenty-five-year service award were Mrs. Deborah P. Orantoy and Mrs. Elenita D. Uy. Both served the St. Augustine Library as Chief Librarian and Assistant respectively.
Posthumous Recognition was also presented to the late Msgr. Sabino A. Vengco, Jr., HP, SThD, who passed away last May 17, 2021. He served in the theological formation of the students of RST for 22 years and contributed much to the ongoing formation of the religious and priests of the Order of Augustinian Recollects of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno. The award was received by his nephew, Mr. Carmelo Vengco Espinosa.
Observance of the health protocols was imposed throughout the celebration.
The rites concluded with the singing of RST Hymn and officially closed by the RST Dean, Rev. Fr. Ian Anthony Espartero, OAR.
By: Fray Joseph Neil E. Baygan, OAR