Ateneo holds the Horacio V. de la Costa SJ Commemorative Lecture Series starting this February

January 28, 2016
Soledad S. Reyes

The lecture series, initiated by the School of Humanities, is the centerpiece of the activities to commemorate the centenary of the birth of the eminent Jesuit and foremost historian, and first Filipino Jesuit provincial,  Fr. Horacio V. de la Costa, SJ (1916-2016).

Designed to re-introduce Fr. de la Costa to those who knew him in life (he passed away in 1977 at the age of sixty), and as importantly, to introduce generations who had not yet been born when this Jesuit engaged the world—from the heyday of American colonialism in the 1920s and 1930s,  the trauma of World War 11,   the complex  and shifting socio-historical movements of the postwar period, and the turbulence of the 1970s, the series provides a prism to view this Jesuit priest. 

To see him as a college student and young Jesuit seminarian showing his remarkable creativity as he wrote poetry, plays, and short stories,  and demonstrating his acute intelligence as he published essays on the key issues of the day in campus and national magazines is to get a glimpse of the mind that in later years would lead him to write history books, a history of the Jesuits, deliver lectures with eloquence and lucidity on various aspects of politics, economics, and culture.  And as a Jesuit priest which informed his being,  he wrote on faith and Ignatian spirituality, on the Church and her role not only in the country but in Asia.  He is officially considered the founder of Loyola House of Studies and Loyola School of Theology.

How Fr. de la Costa impacted the lives of his classmates (seen through the eyes of a daughter of his closest friend, Jesus Paredes, Jr), a Jesuit theologian (Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ), a fomer student (Amb. Rodolfo Severino), a former student and colleague (Benito Legarda, Jr.) constitutes a major strand of this lecture series.

On the other hand, this Jesuit who was a foremost historian and his impressive contributions to historiography and the study of culture, are woven into the narratives from such pioneering historians as Reynaldo Ileto and Edilberto de Jesus,  the cultural sociologist Fernando Zialcita, the Jesuit scholars Jose Mario Francisco, SJ and Rene Javellana, SJ,  and cultural historians Coeli Barry  and Vince Rafael.  A young scholar and outstanding poet, John Labella, uses Fr. de la Costa’s poetry to argue how the early poems shaped the Jesuit’s latest writing and its profound humanism.
The task of this commemorative lecture series is daunting—to make Fr. de la Costa present and thus speak to us by retrieving, through personal reminiscences and through his voluminous writing, traces of his greatness and deep spirituality.  So much to remember, so much to share regarding this remarkable Jesuit. 
 What we can muster, due to the limitations of language and our own paucity of thought, are fleeting glimpses of what he was in life, on one hand,  and intimations of what role he should play not only in our individual lives, not only in the life of this University, but in the life of the country in the 21st century. This is the Philippines in the grip of uncertainties and confronting awesome challenges in a globalized and conflicted world. 
Fr. Horacio V. de la Costa, SJ  was and remains, in the words of T. S. Eliot, a “still point in a turning world.”  To him we return again and again for insights that illumine our lives and help us become truly “men and women for others.”  


The Commemorative Lecture Series

Date Title Speaker
4 February 2016 An Introduction to Horacio V. de la Costa, SJ : Friend in the Lord Rev. Catalino G. Arevalo, SJ
11 February 2016 Fr. Horacio V. de la Costa, SJ : The Filipino Historian and the Unfinished Revolution Dr. Reynaldo C. Ileto
18 February 2016 Sources, Influences, and Silences in The Jesuits in the Philippines  Rev. Rene B. Javellana, SJ 
3 March 2016 Remembering Fr. de la Costa, SJ Dr. Benito J. Legarda, Jr. 
10 March 2016 Making a Living Identity Out of Diversity Dr. Fernando N. Zialcita
17 March 2016 The Three Summas- Horacio de la Costa, SJ, Leon Ma. Guerrero, and Jesus Paredes, Jr. : Their Life and Times Ms. Paulynn P. Sicam
31 March 2016 The Filipino and the Other: De la Costa's Notion of Hybridity Rev. Jose Mario C. Francisco, S.J. 
7 April 2016 More Honored than Read? : De la Costa and the Vagaries on Intellectual Life in Southeast Asia  Dr. Coeli Barry
14 April 2016 Power, Play and Pedagogy: Reading with Fr. de la Costa, SJ Dr. Vince L. Rafael 
21 April 2016 Fr. Horacio V. de la Costa's Filipino Humanism: Poetry and Valuing in a Time of Transition Dr. John B. Labella 
28 April 2016 Learning from HVC  Dr. Edilberto C. de Jesus

All the lectures will be livestreamed at