The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) invited the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) to participate in the second celebration of the Ignatian Festival, a series of events celebrating the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola last July 20, 2013 at the Ateneo de Manila campus, Quezon City with the theme, “The Atenean in Nation-building.”
John Paulo Reyes, Michael Shimamoto, Nmanuel de Leon, and Alberto Antonio Jr. of the NCAF Music Ministry led the invocation for the opening ceremonies of the Festival with a rendition of the song “Your Heart Today.”
Ateneo President Fr. Jett Villarin S.J. then gave his opening remarks before introducing the festival’s keynote speaker, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno Simeon Aquino III. As an alumnus himself, he challenged fellow Ateneans to go out of their comfort zones in the service of the Filipino people.
Later, Ms. Mika Millar, Program Director for Youth Engagements and Formation, represented NCAF in a panel discussion on “Ateneans in Social Development.”
“We launched the program in November 2010. Now we have more than 300 Journey Companions (graduates of the program) all over the country. These are 300 stories of how God loves unconditionally, and of how lives are touched by this outpouring of love that enables and moves us to serve,” shared Ms. Millar on the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey, NCAF’s core youth formation program.
Also invited from the NCAF community were Rafael Lopa for the panel on “Ateneans in Business”; John Paulo Reyes for the “Ateneans in Media, Culture, and the Arts”; and Usec. Rizalino Rivera for the “Ateneans in Government”.
The Festival concluded with a Prayer-Concert directed by John Paulo Reyes featuring the NCAF Music Ministry and Journey Companions.
Fr. Villarin echoed his words at the opening ceremonies of the Ignatian Festival, noting the value of Ignatian spirituality, particularly the practice of examen, in the lives of people constantly on the go.
“The NCAF community is grateful to have been invited to participate in the Ignatian Festival this year,” shared Rafael Lopa, President and Executive Director of the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation. “We feel that Ignatian spirituality is important not just to the Atenean but for everyone, especially the youth, who lives out God’s call to love and serve.”