Our gathering today was made possible by a series of events that eventually led us here today. After many failed attempts in the past years by various groups, we have finally reached a point where we are about to embark on a new journey together as a formally established professional association of Catholic teachers particularly as teachers of religion/values education/religious studies.
We acknowledged our indebtedness to the initiative started by Fr. Hubert Javellana, Supervisor of the Diocesan Association of Parochial Schools (DAPS), whose fervent desire to professionally equip the religion teachers under his supervision enlisted the support of two other institutions namely the La Consolacion College – School of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education headed by Dr. Maria Mercedes Joson and the Diocesan Commission on Biblical Apostolate headed by yours truly to provide a series of lectures for six week-ends during the First Semester of School Year 2015-2016. This occasion, with the support of the above mentioned institutions, provided the impetus for a new attempt in organizing the religion teachers.
After this series of lectures, the participants on their own volition and desire to strengthen their identity as religion teachers decided that an association that will help continue their professional growth be formed. Consequently, an Ad Hoc Committee was organized and mandated to formulate the Constitution and By-Laws.
It was fortunate that those who were chosen to undertake this task were persons of commitment and devotion. Under the leadership of Dennis Madrigal, PhD together with the AdHoc Committee members (whose name are listed below), I have witnessed the dedication and zeal with which the Ad Hoc Committee pursued the dream of establishing an association of religion teachers here in Bacolod and beyond. They wholeheartedly contributed their valuable time, resources and above all their presence in making the Constitution and By-Laws of our association find the light of day. It was a tiring but fulfilling task knowing that we are participating in a mission directed for the good of our students and in a way contributes to the transmission of our Catholic Faith to future generations of Catholic disciples.
As the process went on, new possibilities and new horizons emerged. Even the composition of those present here today testifies to the growing interests in our envisioned association. Although, we have missed some of the original participants who have decided not to join or an unable to be here today for one reason or another, still we are very happy to welcome those who have come to join us. In fact, almost an equal number of those present here today are not alumni of the “Scripture Alive Lecture Series” which proved that even at this early stage, a new face and a new direction of our envisioned association is already at hand.
At this point, I would like to personally emphasize the nature of our association as an “independent, professional, national association of Catholic religion teachers.”
It is INDEPENDENT, in the sense that the association is fully under the governance and direction of the members themselves through their duly elected officers. In fact, this association is NOT a Lay Association, Religious Organization or a Diocesan Association BUT a PROFESSIONAL organization fully established in accordance with our Civil Rights to form associations as guaranteed by 1987 Philippine Constitution. It is a PROFESSIONAL group because it is composed of educators who have the desire to contribute to the welfare of society and common good. Furthermore, as professionals we treat each other as equals manifested in our mutual cooperation and support for each other. It is a NATIONAL association because our envisioned membership goes beyond the confines of the Diocese of Bacolod and the Negros Island Region. Even before we have formally started, we already have the desire to spread far and wide our envisioned association to other schools in the country. This I might say is a bit ambitious but with our hopeful prayers we believe that this can be made possible. Above all, it is a CATHOLIC association because we profess fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church and to its Magisterium as well as offer ourselves to serve our beloved Mater et Magistra.
This is the dream enshrined in the drafted Constitution and By-Laws we are about to present to you. This is the result of the mandate with which you have placed upon the shoulders of the Ad Hoc Committee. In as much as possible that we wanted that this Constitution and By Laws will be ratified in toto, we in the Ad Hoc Committee humbly place in your hands the power to accept or reject this because after all we are just your humble servants working together with you as your equal and “fellow workers in the vineyard of the Lord” without “lording over” anyone of you.
As the adviser of the AdHoc Committee, I would like to express our gratitude for the trust and confidence you have placed on us.
May God prosper the works of our hands.
DEOGRACIAS AURELIO V. CAMON, PhD
AdHoc Committee Adviser