Catholic education goes to Caramoan
By Myrna Bermudo
Instituto De Caceres – Caramoan, the first Catholic School in Caramoan, was blessed on December 30, after a thanksgiving mass. Planning of the establishment of the school started in 2018. Construction began in 2019 and it opened its doors to students in School Year 2020-21. It was built through the initiative and efforts of the Most Rev. Rolando Octavus J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, Archbishop of Caceres, in realization of his dream to build a school that will provide a strong solid Catholic Education for the children of Caramoan.
“God inspired us to open a Catholic education here in Caramoan. There is always joy when we see children going to school. Any society that does not place importance for these children cannot be called a real human society,” said the Archbishop in his homily.
“In the Gospel, Jesus grew in age, strength and wisdom. Jesus underwent the process of growing in mind, body and spirit, inako niya an humanity except sin. This is also our dream for the children, that they grow in mind, body and spirit,” he explained.
“We are here gathered to give thanks to God. We ask and pray that more families will avail of this Catholic education. Let us unite to have quality Catholic education here in Caramoan. Just like Jesus, may the children show their adherence to Jesus as Lord and Savior and may they grow in faith, hope and love,” he said.
The thanksgiving mass presided over by the archbishop was livestreamed in the social media pages of the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel-Caramoan, Instituto de Caceres- Caramoan, St. Bridget School of Buhi, Parish of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and Family Ministry of the Archdiocese of Caceres.
Present during the occasion were the parents and students who came in their school uniform; Bishop Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, DD, bishop of Daet, whose family hails from Caramoan; Nena Sancho, the president of the parish pastoral council; the priests of the Vicariate of St. Michael the Archangel; Marilen Socorro H. Co, the mayor of Caramoan; Arlene Breis, the vice mayor; and Jeremy Lo, representing the family of the late Rosario Lo and the Lo clan whose benevolence made the realization of the construction of the school building . Friends and benefactors of the Archdiocese of Caceres has been supporting the initiative and efforts on the diocesan Catholic educational system.
“Our hope is that these children grow in mind, body and spirit, “ says Bishop Roly during the blessing of the First Catholic School in Caramoan on December 30. Students of Instituto de Caceres - Caramoan pose with Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, founder of the school; Daet Bishop Rex Andrew C. Alarcon, DD; Fr. Jaime Danilo Viola, parish priest of St. Michael de Archangel Parish in Caramoan; Mr. Jeremy Lo, benefactor; and priests of the Vicariate of St. Michael Archangel. (Photo credit: Insituto de Caceres - Caramoan)
Rev. Fr. Jaime Danilo Viola, the parish priest of St. Michael the Archangel, also the school director, oversaw the construction of the school building. He was assisted by Fr. Fermin Valiente, Jr., parochial vicar, and the parish pastoral council. The new building has four classrooms and houses the offices of the school director and principal.
Every Sunday, at nine in the morning, the parish has a children’s mass where the school children, together with their parents, participate actively in the Eucharistic celebration.
According to Fr. Viola, “the parents are happy to see that their children are active and have roles to play during the mass. They read, they are enthusiastic in singing and they say aloud the mass responses. Iba palan talaga palan an Catholic education, the parents said.”
Since the pandemic, the teachers meet their students to collect and distribute the modules after the mass.
Minene G. Ruiz, school principal, said the parents are happy with the establishment of a Catholic school. Seventy-two (72) children are currently enrolled for grades 1 to 4. For the next school year, the school will be offering grade 5.
Fr. Viola is grateful to those who have helped realize the establishment of the Catholic school in Caramoan especially Archbishop Tirona.
Since his appointment as the 34th bishop and 4th Archbishop of Caceres, Tirona has initiated the establishment of Instituto de Caceres so that Catholic education will become accessible and affordable in remote parishes without Catholic Schools.
He gave attention to the formation of youth through the Instituto de Caceres, a diocesan educational school system, that has campuses in the towns of San Jose, Magarao, Goa, and Caramoan.
The Instituto de Caceres - San Jose opened in school year 2014-2015. It offers Catholic and holistic education for children in the towns of San Jose and Partido area. According to the school registrar, the establishment of the school, was an answered prayer of some parents who had been dreaming that a Catholic school be opened in the town. Fr. Luisito A. Occiano is the present school director. It has 231 students enrolled in pre-school, elementary, and junior high school until grade 9.
The school’s mission-vision states that: “It provides a Catholic environment to students. It is a school of the Educational System of the Archdiocese of Caceres inspired by Ina, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, forming God-loving, virtuous, just and responsible citizens, excellent leaders at the service of the Church and of the community. ”
Instituto de Caceres – Magarao, now on its seventh year, was the former St. Anne Parish Kindergarten School founded in 1993. The school offers nursery and kindergarten classes. It is on modular learning since the pandemic. Fr. Balbino B. Gumabao is the school director.
Instituto de Caceres schools has remained open amid the pandemic. Between the 2019-2020 school year and the current year, there was a drop in the enrolment.
Education of children is one of the top priorities of the Archbishop in his episcopate.
“It is for this that the Church gives tremendous importance in Christian education. One of the most important ministry of the Church is to teach, especially the children. They are the foundation of what they will become as persons. Thus, the Church emphasizes Catholic Education,” the Archbishop said.