(Acceptance speech after receiving the award from the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines during the 2020 CEAP Congress or Community online national gathering for renewed and empowered stewards in schools last Sept. 21 - 25, 2010. The CEAP is the national association of Catholic educational institutions in the Philippines. Fr. Salazar is a former president of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City.)
THANK You, CEAP. Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines. You have accorded me a great honor. You have given me this prestigious award Pro Deo et Patria. For God and Country. In the name of God and Nation. For service to God and Fatherland, Motherland.
In my time with CEAP, I had a hand in giving it to others. I never thought, never dreamed that I would get the same award myself. I accept it with the deepest gratitude that my heart and soul can muster. And I thank you.
Father President, Elmer Dizon, and Board of Directors, sir Allan Arellano, our dynamic executive director. Father Alain Manalo, chair of the awards committee, dear someone who nominated me for this award, and dear everyone who approved the proposal.
I receive this award for myself, but also with and in the name of all that is part of me: My family and my friends; my congregation, the Society of the Divine Word, which allowed me to work within and beyond the particular SVD assignments that I was given so that I could share myself with the wider field of Catholic Education in our country, our continent, and our world; my colleagues in the different organizations that I have been part of and to which I still belong. I stand here today, not alone, but with everyone whom I have met who shared their life with me in whatever way, as I shared my life with theirs.
For, as John Donne once said, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” So this treasured award I receive with them all. I have been asked what drives me to do what I have done. I have answered and do declare now that I have not done anything good by myself alone, but only with the grace of God and the help of others.God has given me a great, loving family, our motto being ONE LOVE.
God has gifted me with the talents that I have: a good enough head to understand what must be understood, a heart that seeks to care, a soul that aims to be one with God and His creation, a sense of humor, a taste for music, a love for words, a feeling for what must be taken deep into the self.
I have not always been successful. I have sinned. I have hurt people. I have made them mad, made them cry, angered them, failed them, disappointed them. Some of my relationships are broken and cry for healing. So today, I include with my gratitude, my apology, my contrition for the bad things that I have done and the good things that I have failed to do.
If this sounds like the Contrition at Holy Mass, it is. It really is. Eucharist, after all, is Thanksgiving. Within it are those elements that I share today: A listening to the Word of God, an offering of my self and all that I am. A saying to God and to you all: This is Me. This is My Body. This is My Blood. For you.
This award, I take as a Communion of heart and soul between ourselves, among ourselves. I thank each of you who have accepted me as I am and have been, with all the joy that I bring and may have brought, together with my faults and my sins. Your acceptance of my total self is what has kept me going all my life. Other mottoes have helped me live from day to day.
1. My parents taught us, a big family of 10 children to love and to share. To learn to speak to one another face to face, and heart to heart, even in the most embarrassing moments. To share even when there is little to share. In Bicol, ang diit pag-diriit-diiton. No matter how few, things may be, try to still divide them so everyone may have a share.
2. From St. Agnes Academy in Legazpi City, I learned the rule of St. Benedict: Ora et Labora. Pray and Work.
3. From Liceo de Albay which is now Divine Word College of Legazpi, I learned Duc in Altum, the words that Jesus said to Peter one day by the shore of the Lake of Galilee: Launch out into the deep. There you’ll catch fish. Go deep. Take one step beyond. But come back to shore and share your catch. Then Come and Follow Me.
4. From University of San Carlos, I learned the motto Scientia Virtus Devotio. (SVD) Learning. Virtue. Devotion.
5. From the Society of the Divine Word, I take my identity as Witness to the Word. To have as goal for my whole life, such an intimacy with the Word of God that I see Him listen to Him, obey Him, follow Him, wherever He is, whenever He comes, in whatever form, in whomever He chooses. And from that personal, intimate relationship preach the Word and reach out to others from the heart.
In big ways and small ways, in trials and difficulties through the years, I have tried to remember and live one or the other of these mottoes and goals or all together. If somehow, somewhere, sometime I have touched you, reached out to you in such a way that you agree that I receive this award today, I thank you. I thank God.
“The voices of a million angels cannot express my gratitude. All that I am, and ever hope to be I owe it all to You. To God be the glory, to God be the glory, to God be the glory for the things He has done...."
Thank you, CEAP. Thank you, all.