To the UA&P faculty, administration, students, alumni, benefactors, members of the Board, and friends:

It is natural to hope that 2021 be a better year than 2020 that saw a litany of devastating natural calamities on top of the pandemic and its consequences, all of  which caused so much misery, anxiety, and difficulties to so many. While we hope for better things to come, however, in reality, the future before us is packed with uncertainties. Planning for the long term and even inching forward becomes very tedious, as tasks tend to focus on just getting over the near-term humps. It is normal to feel anxious because, ready or not, the new future or the new normal has arrived.

The parents of the Baby Jesus must have experienced the same anxiety on that first Christmas night. Mary and Joseph knew that the babe before them wrapped in swaddling clothes and born on a manger was the Son of God—completely dependent on them, totally subjected to the elements He himself created, and to the temporal powers that were threatened by His birth. And yet, ordinary people as they were, the Holy Family persisted, ever attentive to fulfilling their respective mission of service. This is because they knew that despite the seemingly powerful forces around them, they were confident that God—the center of history and the final end of the future—was, is, and will always be with them.

For us in UA&P, whether as an institution or as an individual, as long as we anchor our life, our struggles, and our aspirations on Jesus, we will always have the courage, the confidence, the serenity, and the joy to face the future and to fulfill our mission. The path forward may even be uncharted, the skies dark and the seas rough, full of obstacles and contradictions. Yet, we are and will be ready to forge ahead and to do whatever it takes to fulfill our mission of generous service to society, to our colleagues, to our families, and to God. From these struggles to fulfill our mission, we discover the real priorities in life and the true meaning of our existence.

While we are hopeful for better times ahead, we stand ready to face whatever 2021 and the succeeding years will throw at us. With the Beacon of Light illuminating our path and our mind, despite the storms that buffet our ship, we focus our sight on the same direction before us and, with all hands on deck, we steer toward the bright horizon ahead.

A Blessed Christmas to all.

Dr. Winston Conrad B. Padojinog
President, University of Asia and the Pacific