Fr. Tito Caluagâs Top 3 ways to not lose hope
The host of Journeys of Hope shares, ‘One is find ways to be good to counter all the evil and the challenges that we face; two, find ways to do acts of kindness and three, pray and discern.’
Fr. Tito Caluag’s Top 3 ways to not lose hope
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2020 - 12:00am

If there is one busy and visible personality in this community quarantine period, it is none other than Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag, or simply Fr. Tito, who is also an educator. The weekly show Journeys of Hope on iWant formally makes him a digital show host, too.

Fr. Tito finds joy in fulfilling his duties no matter how busy his day may be. He holds daily Masses being streamed live across ABS-CBN digital platforms and attends to his work as VP for Academic Affairs and Formation of Magna Anima Teachers College, a social enterprise focusing on educating and training teachers for public schools.

“It’s good to keep yourself busy so as not to feel depressed,” declared Fr. Tito. “You get tired, yes, but your spirit is so buoyed up. In my experience, the last three months were the most hectic. Everything is now online and via conference call, mas maraming ginagawa because of the nature of my work as a priest.”

Fr. Tito has also been working with public schools since 2005 when Magna Anima introduced its program for teachers. Its first program in 2006 was the leadership formation for principals and then it evolved into training school supervisors and teachers, who work mainly in public schools. Values formation, skills training for teachers are included in the program “and we are busier now because of the new normal. We have to find a new way to facilitate learning.”

Not many know that Fr. Tito is also a professional educator, which he has been prior to becoming a priest. He started teaching in 1980 at the Ateneo de Manila High School and entered the Society of Jesus in 1983. He was ordained as a priest in 1993, and took his master’s degree in Science in Educational Administration and specialized in Jesuit Secondary School Administration at Fordham University. He then returned to Ateneo as a Jesuit priest and worked as a High School Principal in 1995 and even handled other administrative posts until 2005.

Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag

At present, Fr. Tito remains steadfast in sharing heartfelt messages of hope to people, especially at this time of pandemic. His homilies never fail to give comfort and peace of mind.

But Fr. Tito admitted that he also feels anxious at times. “Well, yes. I feel that, you know, one of the things I pray for is that my well will not run dry. Hindi naman sa nakakapagod but sometimes you cannot simply think of a nice thing to say and one of my ‘struggles,’ ever since I started my first job as a teacher, is that I cannot teach or say anything na hindi ko kayang panindigan and I think that carried over to my priesthood. That’s why when I prepare a homily, I can come up with a very inspiring thought and then I ask myself, ‘Kaya ko bang panindigan ito?’ So that’s my ‘struggle’ always kasi hindi ka p’wedeng basta magsulat ng sasabihin mo. It has to be reflected on. Fortunately, wala pa naman akong hindi napanindigan (laughs) because I just simply put it this way: if you can’t do it, then don’t say it.”

Fr. Tito knows people tend to ask questions whenever they are in misery. “But after listening to their stories, all I could say is, everything is between you and God, because part of my training as a Jesuit is (aligned with) what St. Ignatius of Loyola said, that your role as a priest or spiritual guide is to let the person discover God and the moment you see that movement in the person, get out of the way and let him/her work with God and let God work with the person.”

“I think there are people who want me to give them answers but that’s not my training and that’s not what I believe is right. I will always point to Christ, never to myself.”

In Journeys of Hope, Fr. Tito talks about the Gospel and makes it more relatable to people. Every Sunday, he invites celebrity guest who, one way or another, has a point of connection with the readings from the Bible on that particular Sunday.

Asked for his Top 3 pieces of advice for people not to lose hope in spite of life challenges, he replied, “One is find ways to be good to counter all the evil and the challenges that we face; two, find ways to do acts of kindness no matter where you are, even just sending someone a text message will make a difference; and three, pray and discern. The prayer and discernment will lead one to be good and create acts of kindness then eventually, you’ll find your purpose in life.”

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