Bernardo M. Villegas
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Message to the Millennial Generation (Part 2)

          The final book is “From Third World to First:  The Singapore Story” by the Founder of Modern Singapore, the late Lee Kuan Yew.   That book will help you identify what you can contribute to institution building so that the Philippines can avoid the middle income trap and become a First World country in your lifetime.  The “Singapore Story” is a first hand account of the institutions that made it possible for the pioneering work of Lee Kuan Yew and the leaders he handpicked to be sustained by future generations.  Also quoting from the cover review of the book: “Delving deep into his own meticulous notes, as well as previously unpublished government papers and official records, Lee details the extraordinary efforts it took for an island city-state in Southeast Asia to survive at that time.  Lee explains how he and his cabinet colleagues finished off the communist threat to the fledgling state’s security and began the arduous process of nation building, forging basic infrastructural roads through a land that sill consisted primarily of swamps, creating an army from a hitherto racially and ideologically divided population, stamping out the last vestiges of colonial-era corruption, providing mass public housing, and establishing a national airline and airport.”  The millennial generation and Generation Z (all those born after the year 2000) can find a road map to First World status in this book. 

         Third, Ryan Gosling sings of his fears that his dream might not come true.  Don’t be afraid to dream.  As St. Josemaria Escriva said very often:  “Dream and your dreams  will fall short of reality!”  If you told me on August 15, 1967 when we started CRC in literally a hole in the wall of a building in Malate that today I would be addressing more than 500 graduates of a university called the University of Asia and the Pacific, I would have told you “You must be dreaming!”  I must confess I dreamt much less and you can see how amazing reality is today.  At this point, I want to especially address all the alumni and alumnae that CRC and UA&P have produced over the last fifty years, whatever their ages.

      I want you to dream with me about at least the next twenty years of UA&P.  Let me give you a visual representation of the dream (as I was speaking, photos of the architectural design of the buildings of our future campus were flashed on the screen).  On the screen you will see the future campus of the University of Asia and the Pacific in a property more or less fifty hectares in size in a town of Batangas just one hour away from Makati.   In this future campus, we will house all the undergraduates of our schools, not only the seven schools we have now but additional schools of medicine, architecture, and more specializations in engineering and the physical sciences.  The campus will be big enough to accommodate residential colleges for men and women, a teaching hospital, and a sports complex that will include, considering my personal bias, a FIFA-compliant football pitch. I am already giving advanced notice to you, your parents and friends that in no time at all, we will be going around with our begging bowls to ask for your financial help for us to put the buildings you are now looking at.   Please be generous and don’t disappoint us.

         Finally, what dreams are sure to come true?  The dreams that go much beyond your personal happiness and are meant to show your love for God, for your country and for all men and women.  That is why the most striking line in the song we just sang is “It’s love.  Yes, all we’re looking for is love from someone else.”  In his famous Apostolic Exhortation entitled “The Joy of Love,” Pope Francis wrote:  “When a loving person can do good for others, or sees that others are happy, they themselves live happily and in this way give glory to God, for ‘God loves a cheerful giver.’ Our Lord especially appreciates those who find joy in the happiness of others. If we fail to learn how to rejoice in the well-being of others, and focus primarily on our own needs, we condemn ourselves to a joyless existence, for, as Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.  The family must always be a place where, when something good happens to one of its members, they know that others will be there to celebrate it with them.”  That is exactly what you will be doing tonight with your respective families.

         You may protest that I am asking too much of you.  You may say that we are not yet saints although we know from our years at UA&P that all of us must strive for sanctity in our ordinary lives. But you may complain that it is so hard to seek sanctity in the midst of the world, that there too many obstacles and roadblocks to the sanctification of ordinary work and family life.  That brings me to the other song we will sing at the end of these exercises, our university hymn, “Star of the Orient.”  Don’t be overwhelmed by your human weaknesses and limitations.  If we turn to her, Star of the Orient, the Mother of God and our Mother, the one you have prayed to in your visits to our Stella Orientis Chapel, she will surely lead us to the light.  With her radiance in the sky, she will guide us through the night.  For comments, my email address is