Following Christ with Mary, in the footsteps of St. Francis, towards Becoming Like Christ...
An important dimension of a Catholic School is the development of the spiritual and moral character of each member of the school community. Only in the fulfillment of its special mission of evangelization can the school realize its true and full meaning as a Catholic School. Therefore, as a Catholic institution of basic education, Lourdes School of Mandaluyong provides a Campus Ministry to assist school personnel and students in the formation, development and deepening of their faith and religious values so that the light of faith will illumine the knowledge which students and community members gradually gain of the world, of life and of mankind. (GE, 8)
The Campus Ministry Program has three arms or components that work hand in hand to help concretize Lourdes School of Mandaluyong’s vision of forming FULLY INTEGRATED CHRISTIAN PERSONS. These are: CLEd- which provides Instruction/Knowledge; LITURGICAL-PASTORAL CARE- which focuses on Prayer, Liturgical Celebrations and Reflect-ion; and SOCIAL ACTION-which offers opportunities to put knowledge and reflection into action or service in the spirit of Franciscan Brotherhood, minority and solidarity with all of God’s creation—people and the environment.
Christian Living Education lies at the center of the whole educational endeavor of Lourdes School of Mandaluyong so as to fulfill the mission given by the Church. The Second Vatican Council enunciated the distinctive role of a Catholic school in the decree Gravissimum Educationis (GE). GE speaks of the aim of every Catholic educational institution in the following terms:
It aims to create in the school community an atmosphere enlivened by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity. It aims to help the adolescent in such a way that the development of his own personality will be matched by the growth of the new creation which he became by baptism. It strives to relate all human culture eventually to the news of salvation, so that the light of faith will illumine the knowledge which students gradually gain of the world, of life and of mankind. (GE, 8)
Moreover, in discharging her educative function, the Church is pre-occupied with all appropriate means to that end. But she is particularly concerned with the means which are proper to herself, of which catechetical training is foremost. Such instructions give clarity and vigor to faith, nourishes a life lived in accordance with the spirit of Christ, leads to knowing and active participation in the liturgical mystery, and inspires apostolic action. (GE, 4)
In consideration of the Church’s mandate for Catholic institutions, Lourdes School of Mandaluyong through its Campus Ministry Program ensures that employees’and students’spiritual needs are addressed. Broken down into its various components, the Campus Ministry program enables the academic community to deepen its faith, through education and formation programs, social action and an experience of God in prayer, liturgical activities and other spiritual activities.
Hence, the Campus Ministry must be seen in the total context of the whole educational endeavor. Since all educational endeavor of Lourdes School of Mandaluyong is directed towards “Becoming Like Christ”, and the formation of “fully integrated Christian Person,” the Campus Ministry IS NOT regarded as a mere component of the educational process but the source of meaning and purpose for living a full human life. The program enables and empowers each member of the community to see the deeper meaning of life, participate in human society with a mission and vision of Christian Person, and be led and grow into a deeper relationship with God and fellow human beings.
LSM SOCIAL ACTION IS FAITH EXERCISED IN JOYFUL SERVICE
Lourdes School of Mandaluyong as an educative community permeated by Gospel values and participating in the mission of Church states in its vision-mission to “critically assimilate culture in the light of faith", to "be permeated with a deep concern for justice and the common good" and to "actualize lives manifested in solidarity with the poor and God's creation" as part of its commitment to excellence. It is therefore imperative that the educational processes within the institution always include not only the development of awareness and consciousness of the society of which it is part but also springing from its own spirituality and conscientization, take active part in social transformation in its own unique way.
The Social Action Program, an arm of the CAMPUS MINISTRY, is therefore faith exercised in joyful service,in care for the needy and care for the earth, and is part of the action carried out by the church and its members to promote human development, justice in society and peace without which the task of evangelization is not complete. (PCP II, 165). It becomes a necessary link between the classroom and the social reality, between faith and life.
The Social Action Program focuses mainly on the deepening of the social consciousness and the formation of a proactive attitude among all members of its community and upholds the core values of GOSPEL BROTHERHOOD and MINORITY. It brings together under one program individual and small group efforts of the different sectors of the community in the past. It also systematizes and organizes different activities thereby involving the whole institution in the implementation of the program itself, and while providing new avenues whereby the school's response to the call for "preferential option for the poor" is realized and concretized.
In the process, each member of the community acquires a Christian missionary orientation and lifestyle, which reveal a deep and genuine commitment to Christ and his fellowmen.
In the conduct of social action activities, LSM also strives at development efforts for the partner communities. Partner communities according to their identified needs and according to the capacity of the school to address such needs are recipients of whatever activities are conducted under the program. Through them, LSM students and personnel observe and experience different social conditions necessary to develop a deeper understanding of social responsibilities and the need to properly respond to them.
A mutual interchange therefore ensues: for LSM, the concretization of the Church’s call for social involvement and for the partner community, a deliberate response to a need that may not be answered currently due to its existing conditions.
Since the school’s Social Action Program is defined as any FAITH- inspired good deed done to people and the environment, it is basically not synonymous to off-campus activities. The LSM Social Action can be done anytime and anywhere.
After years of exposure through meaningful interaction to different forms of poverty in charitable institutions, the community has now taken the “ACT-REFLECT-PRAY” journey of the Campus Ministry which aims to emphasize the connection between prayer and action. The students undertake an immersion (solidarity) activity prior to their retreat or recollection. Such solidarity activity provided by SAP offers opportunities to be “one” with the people in the partner communities through differentiated and developmental activities. It gives them an opportunity to really know, understand and empathize with the plight of those they normally ignore. Through this, the SAP’s role as one of the components of the Campus Ministry has been made more distinct. The SAP provides the actual experience while the other two components of the Campus Ministry, CLED and LITURGICAL-PASTORAL CARE, provide the necessary processing and deepening of the activity. The SAP activities can also be used by other subject areas in enriching the curriculum.
Guided by the words of St. Francis of Assisi: “Let us start anew for until now we have done so little or nothing at all…” the SAP of LSM will continue to evolve towards the attainment of its goals for the greater glory of God.
LOURDES SCHOOL OF MANDALUYONG AT THE FRONTIER OF FRANCISCAN EDUCATION
The history of LSM is characterized by dynamism and a blend of collective vision. When the L-shaped building was blessed by Cardinal Rufino J. Santos, the Archbishop of Manila, and Rev. Fr. Adolfo Echevarri OFM Cap., Superior of the Capuchin Order in the Philippines on October 4, 1958, it seemed prophetic what the good Cardinal said: “this school will be the center of science and holiness.” Almost a year later, in May 1959, the cornerstone of the new building was laid. June of that same year, the school opened its doors to 89 students from grades one to four as its first batch of enrollees, with five teachers in its roster. The first rector was Rev. Fr. Francisco of Pamplona and Rev. Fr. Gregorio Goiccochea OFM Cap. s the first head master. Keen on appropriately providing quality education to its students, upon the establishment of the school, the school had already started acquiring learning materials.
In 1963, during the Canonical Visit to the Philippines of the provincial Rev. Fr. Fidel Elizondo, OFM Cap. of Pamplona, the ordinance states, “Let all the brothers intensify preferably the apostolate of teaching in all its aspects from kindergarten till college and for this we order as soon as possible that more land be bought for the enlargement of the schools in Quezon City and Mandaluyong having in mind that in Mandaluyong, a college be built in the future. ” While prospects for the acquisition of more lands had not been feasible, the school maintained its focus on its dynamism and vision to offer quality education. By the year 1968, under the helm of then Rector Fr. Javier Fernandez, OFM Cap, more learning materials and equipment were acquired for the Instructional Media Center, a center believed by the school as a vital facility for improving instruction and learning. With the growing population of the school, demands for expansion and new and additional facilities were attended to. New classrooms were constructed together with various school facilities such as science laboratories, speech laboratory and the library. To facilitate teaching and learning, coordinators for English, Mathematics and Science were immediately appointed by Fr. Jose Luis Arrieta, OFM Cap. in 1971.
As a Catholic institution first and foremost, LSM has this mandate from the Minister Provincial,Rev. Fr. Aurelio Laita, OFM Cap., during the assembly of the Vice province in 1973, that “ in all our schools, we will try to give emphasis to Christian education and instructions especially by the adequate education of lay teachers in these subjects, by a greater dedication of the fathers working in the schools and parishes, to the teaching of religion and by emphasizing to the lay teachers and administrators that the religious values and activities must enjoy a certain priority in the life of the schools.”
Lourdes School of Mandaluyong had already responded to this mandate when Fr. Jose Luis Arrieta, OFM Cap. in 1971 made CLED the centerpiece of its curriculum and all its activities.
The commitment to Catholic Education is made evident in the continuing faculty, student and community development programs of the school with the communities it serves.
This commitment to Catholic Education was made even stronger with the formulation of the Mission Statement of the Capuchin School Apostolate. It was in 1985, when the Capuchin Order in the Philippines was proclaimed a province, that the challenge to spell our clearly the direction, mission and identity of Capuchin Franciscan schools became the inspiration to have a Mission Statement. In 1987, Fr. Edmundo A. Tiamson, OFM Cap. (LSM) with Fr. Dominic Abella, OFM Cap. (LSQC) formulated this mission statement and on the same year was presented to the Capuchin Brothers during the Easter assembly in Tagaytay City.
It was during the First Convivencia of School Administrators held in April 1988 at Maryhill Retreat Center in Taytay, Rizal that this Mission Statement of the Capuchin School Apostolate in the Philippine Province was presented and explained by Fr. Edmundo A. Tiamson, OFM Cap. to all administrators and faculty representatives of Lourdes School of Quezon City, Lourdes School of Mandaluyong, Saint Anthony School and Santa Mesa Parochial School. The Mission Statement strengthened the administrators’ resolve to “improve the religious formation and education in the schools in response to the present crisis facing Catholic Schools worldwide.”
Franciscan values likewise permeate the school community and these give the Lourdesians a distinct positive identity as Catholic and Christian Learners. For the Franciscan founders, it was an exceptional task here in the Philippines to build schools for it was not what they were formed to do- but to minister to the poor. For this, and for whatever difficulties they were experiencing as school administrators, Fr. Troadio de los Santos, OFM Cap. during his homily in the 1988 Convivencia, appealed to the lay administrators ”to love the Capuchin brothers for being what they are, that is, despite their faults considering that they were not formed to administer schools… however, this school apostolate was gradually accepted in the Charism of the Order because of its unique contribution to the church.” Fr. Francis Garces, OFM Cap. added that ”school apostolate has never been conceived in the beginning in the life of the Capuchins. Their sole apostolate was the poor. But in the Philippines, it was an extraordinary decision to build schools.”
When the Capuchin Franciscan friars were directed to an uncharted territory, the challenge was accepted with complete submission. There may have been initial concern and anxieties. But the call to attend to build lives was a persistent call. Building schools is akin to building lives. Now, tracing the half century history of LSM, it had been a challenge worth the taking. Our Capuchin Franciscan friars have given more than what they were expected to do.
LSM continues to strengthen its commitment to provide quality education anchored on the bidding of Fr. Aurelio Laita, OFM Cap. to give emphasis on Christian education. Christian Life Education is the core of LSM curriculum. Thus, all instruction and school activities emanate from the Christian values taught in this discipline. For this, the school becomes more responsive to the school’s Vision- Mission and Philosophy, that of creating a Christian community of service and becoming Christ-like, respectively.
LSM also believes that the hallmark of quality Catholic education consists of a strong curriculum which develops the full potential of the learner thus, appropriately preparing him for the future. The student then is at the center of learning – how he learns, how he transfers, applies, and extends what he learns in order to solve problems, and create meaningful outputs. The school provides an opportunity to develop in them certain competencies for thinking and doing. The introduction of the educational reforms and curricular innovations such as the Understanding by Backward Design (UbD)curriculum in 2010, and the introduction and subsequent implementation of the K -12 Curriculum in 2012 had ushered in new and more challenging competencies for the learners: a blend of knowledge, specific skills, expertise and literacies were the goals for success. With a Level 2 PAASCU accreditation granted by the FAAP (Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines),LSM is given a special privilege to infuse its own set of standards in the implementation of the curricular innovations to enhance its own offerings in the context of sound values and Christian education.
The history of LSM is a testimony that, propelled by a clear vision and a collective dynamism, building lives through building schools can be anyone’s dream and reality. The Capuchin–Franciscan friars had paved the way. Half a century hence, this Catholic institution still remains relevant in its vision, mission and philosophy. It has contributed thousands of alumni whose lives carry on the vision and are now out on their mission to continue the unique apostolate: build schools, build lives… in the spirit of GOSPEL BROTHERHOOD AND MINORITY.