“Let your light shine!” - this was sort of my motto when I was back (not so long ago) in Xavier High School. It means that you do your very best in everything that you do. Yes, I must say that it wasn’t always easy. There were ups and downs, as well as moments that I slack off and wanted to quit. But, always, people would be there to support and extend a hand.

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I met Fr. Zulo in my fourth year in high school. It was an unexpected one, really. Richard and I were planning Xavier DoTA (Donate to Aid) at that time. I thank Fr. Zulo for being a bridge to Fr. Go. Also, we thank him for his support to the whole thing. It was really wonderful :)

I want to share with you the highlights of a recent article written about Fr. Zulo in Starweek (Philippine Star).

“Our job is to help the kids of today’s world prepare for tomorrow’s world,” says Fr. Ismael Zuloaga, SJ on his role in Xavier School. Throughout his more than 20 years of service, he has witnessed generations graduate from Xavier and has touched the lives of many. He has furthermore been a man for others through his work as president of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania from 1992 to 2004. Celebrating his 50th year as a Jesuit tomorrow, Fr. Zuloaga continues to shine his light on the Xavier community….

…One of Fr. Zuloaga’s legacies is the Xavier vision of producing graduates that are “Men fully alive, endowed with a passion for justice and the skills for development.” The Jesuit explains each aspect of the vision with enthusiasm: “To be fully alive,” he says, “is to be psychologically developed, happy and joyful, sharing and self-giving.”

As for having “a passion for justice,” Fr. Zuloaga explains, “our students have to understand that all that they are given - and they are given a lot - is not for themselves, but for others. As a school, we want to prepare them to be leaders in the world and stewards for development.”

Xavier strives to provide their students with the capability to enable development in the world. “I’m happy that it remains,” Fr. Zuloaga says of the vision he instituted so many years ago. He says that this vision is “alive in a number of our alumni who not just know about it, but live it! That’s one of my greatest consolations,” he says. With a content sigh, Fr. Zuloaga adds, “That’s what kept me busy, happily busy, for some 20 years… I did not get tired in those 20 years. The others got tired of me,” he laughs

Without Fr. Zulo and his team of very eager and hardworking Jesuits, faculty and staff, Xavier School wouldn’t have been into what it is today. As what the article says,

“Fr. Zuloaga’s legacy will be his students, Xavier’s alumni who are and will continue to contribute to the betterment of the communities where they live,” says Miguel A. Tan of Xavier Class 1966. As head of the Development and Alumni Relations Office, Fr. Zuloaga puts importance in the Xavier formation of the alumni “to help them live their family life and their professional life in a Christian, civic, and joyful manner.”

He stresses that,

The school’s alumni of around 13,000 actively support the school. “One reason why I am a happy man is because I often say that my 20 years in Xavier, looking at its alumni, were not wasted,” says Fr. Zuloaga.

Fr. Zuloaga, who knows most of the alumni personally, names some of those that have truly fulfilled the Xavier ideal of becoming “men for others”: Fr. Johnny Go, the current director of Xavier; Secretary of Agriculture Arthur Yap; Fr. Aristotle Dy, the director of Jesuit Communications Foundation; Johnip G. Cua, president and general manager of Proctor and Gamble; and the five recipients of the 2007 Xavier-Kuangchi Award: John Burtkenley Ong, Edward S. Wang, William Chua, Francis Chua, and Wellington Tong.

“I didn’t do much, but they are my students,” Fr. Zuloaga says modestly. “We do hope to have more people in government. I think that all schools should produce men who gradually can change the corruption in the environment.”

And I agree with him completely. I think that this is the challenge Xavier has given us. After all that it taught us, Xaverians, we should strive to excel and gradually change our environment for the better.

He adds, “One of my greatest joys is to think that students of my time are leading their life either as priests or as lay people in a type of work that is of service of others. It is a great joy to see people like that.”

Fifty bright and fruitful years as a Jesuit has passed. But for Fr. Zuloaga, this is only a promise of more to come as he continues to shine his light on all, a beacon of compassion, education, and service.

You may read the whole article at Philippine Star (http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Starweek&p=49&type=2&sec=52)

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