January 6 is the celebration of the EPIPHANY, the visitation of the three magi, which marks the last day of Christmas. Thus, tomorrow, Christmas decorations will be slowly taken down and kept in their boxes, waiting for another 11 months before they shall embellish our walls and halls again. On this day, let us then, recall what a joyous Christmas 2013 had been.
Christmas has always been one celebrated moment among Filipinos and Paulinians revel along with the rest of the country. One of the most common sights that signify Christmas Spirit apart from the colorful Christmas trees, bright lights, and numerous lanterns, is the BELEN–the Holy Family composed of St. Joseph, Mother Mary and Baby Jesus.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, our mother and model, has always been venerated by the Paulinian community through various activities. One memorable activity St. Paul University holds annually is the Marian Youth Camp. Last December 7, the University celebrated the Marian Youth Camp with the theme: “Paulinian Marian Camp: A Soulful Christmas Celebration.” Included in the event was the advance celebration of Christmas through fun-filled activities that filled the night at the University Gym with revelry and joyous noise.
Spearheaded by the Office of Student Affairs and the Paulinian Student Government, the Marian Youth Camp has always been an avenue to strengthen advocacies and values through Marian Prayer and community outreach. In fact, in the morning of December 7, Paulinians of different departments met prisoners at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at Unka, retired members of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres at Mere Monique Homes in Lapaz, and some urban poor communities here in Iloilo City; this outreach programs have one aim: to spread the spirit of Christmas through giving.
Other objectives of this camp are to engage Paulinians in various activities that will make them appreciate and imbibe the virtues of purity, simplicity, charity, humility, obedience, faith and a great sense of love for God and others; and celebrate dynamism of faith through prayers, worship songs, and praises. All the college are gathered to work as a team in numerous competitions like HIMIG PARA KAY MARIA (a chorale competition), DANCE DRAMA, NOVELTY DANCE, LANTERN MAKING, and LANTERN PARADE. Five teams competed: Common First-year Paulinian (CFP), a group composed of all the first year students; College of Physical Therapy (CPT); College of Nursing (CN); College of Accountancy and Business (CAB); and the 4C which is a team composed of four colleges: College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Tourism, and Dietetics, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Information Communication and Technology, and College of Teacher Education.
In the afternoon of December 7, activities were HIMIG KAY MARIA, a chorale competition, and DANCE DRAMA. In HIMIG KAY MARIA, 4C ranked first, followed by the CFP, then by the CPT. In Dance Drama, Paulinians portrayed the relevance of Christmas in spite of the Typhoon Yolanda and portraying the life of Mother Mary. CPT won first place in Dance Drama, followed by CFP and in third place, CN.
If the afternoon was solemnly quiet, reflecting prayer, the evening was filled with cheers, merry noises, and high energy. The main events in the evening were the Lantern Exhibit and Lantern Parade. Lantern is used symbolically to mean bearing light and all the five teams prepared light-bearing floats that are not less than 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide. These lanterns made use of recycled and indigenous materials and are made out of the hands of Paulinians themselves–without the help or direction from a staff or adult. These lanterns were judged according to creativity, use of recycled materials, craftmanship, and relevance to the traditional Christmas Season. All lanterns were artfully made, but the best lantern was awarded to the 4C, who artistically used paper to create an angel overlooking the world . Second place went to the CN whose ingenuous use of colors was seen in their Christmas Star, followed by CAB who presented the traditional Belen. The Lantern Parade was also a competition that marked the discipline, creative use of props, and the choreography of the students. 4C won the lantern parade, followed by the CN, then, in a tie, followed by the CAB and CFP. The last event of the evening was the Novelty Dance which was won by the CFP, then the CON, and on the third place, CPT.
The over-all winner in the Marian Youth Camp Celebration and University Christmas Party was 4C, which ranked first in three events. College of Nursing won second place and the Common First-Year Paulinian won third. Congratulations!
The entire Marian Youth Camp Celebration was a success–thanks to the energetic, passionate, and dedicated members of the Student Government! To all the winners, the Paulinian Family congratulates you. What matters is that we were able to celebrate Christmas by giving reverence to the Holy Family!
May the Love of Christ Impel All Paulinians!