University of the Assumption conducted an interfaith dialogue and meeting called “Sangbigkis” at the Msgr. Ricardo Serrano Auditorium, February 1, 2017.

With its theme “Sangbigkis: Peace and Harmony amidst Religious Diversity”, the focus of the gathering was to bring in one assembly UA students who belong to different religious traditions to discuss matters about their faith.

This is also in response to the call for interfaith dialogue by Pope Francis. Speaking at an ecumenical and interreligious meeting at the Franciscan international study center of Sarajevo on June 6, 2015, he said, “interreligious dialogue . . . must also extend as far as possible to all believers . . . to young men and women (in particular) who are called to build the future of this country.”

According to Mr. Reynald Velardo, Campus Ministry Student Agents (CAMSA) coordinator, the event was held to promote unity in the university despite differences in faith especially in this times when many wars in the world today are caused by religious differences and extremism. Putting together in one room young people with different beliefs may be a small step towards avoiding wars, it is still a big leap in building unity in the campus.

“We are diverse in many aspects including religion and faith . . . (and) by gathering students they may know that . . . (in UA) we do not discriminate,” said Velardo. He further explained that the assembly hoped that by listening to one another the participants will have a better understanding of their beliefs and appreciate each other better.

Sangbigkis, as Velardo mentioned, is envisioned to be an annual event in the future with more participants.

“That is one of our prospects in the future, to be able to invite various religious leaders and more students so that unity among different religions will be fostered here (at UA),” explained Velardo.