Masses for Master Amiel Alcantara (4-Manobo)

Julian Carlo Miguel (Amiel) Alcantara, 10 years old, a Grade 4 Manobo student at the Ateneo de Manila University, passed away on February 24, 2009. He was a victim of a vehicular accident that occurred at a drop-off/pick up lane inside the Ateneo campus.

He was hit by a van driven by an Ateneo parent, Ma. Theresa Torres. While official statements have been issued by the Ateneo and the Alcantara and Torres families regarding the accident and with different details provided by various news reports and blog posts, it is still not very clear what had actually happened.

There will be a ninth day Novena Mass for Amiel on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 7pm at the Holy Guardian Angels Chapel. There will also be a community mass on Friday, March 6, 2009 at 7:30am at the Ateneo Grade School covered courts. Let us all continue praying for Amiel's soul, for strength for the whole Alcantara and Torres families, and for the entire Ateneo community.

While updates and news on Amiel Alcantara were available to all via the internet and mainstream media (newspapers, radio, and television), yesterday (March 3, 2009, Tuesday) was the first time that Ateneo parents received official communication directly from the school via our sons. Most of the information provided are also available at the Ateneo website, particularly regarding the school's statement on what had happened and the creation of a multi-stakeholder committee to review traffic conditions and to strengthen traffic education on campus.

The parents were likewise informed of the conduct of counselling sessions for the students by the faculty during Homeroom periods on February 26 and 27, 2009. The objectives of the sessions were for the boys to understand their feelings better; to deepen their feelings of empathy; and to develop a sense of community.

Effective March 2, 2009, the Ateneo has deployed more traffic enforcers in areas where there is a heavy convergence of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. We shall eagerly await updates on the multi-stakeholder committee's work to ensure that the Ateneo campus will be safe for all.

Fr. Kit Bautista, SJ, Headmaster of the Ateneo Grade School, states in one of his letters: "Let us show Amiel that his sorrowful death was not in vain because from it, we are blessed with the opportunity to appropriate cura personalis."

Cura personalis is a Latin phrase, commonly used by the Society of Jesus and connotes "care of the entire person." It is providing individual attention to the needs of the other by focusing on the person's unique concerns and circumstances and with an appreciation for his or her unique gifts as well.

We trust that all parties in the community shall work together to improve traffic safety and education in the much bigger tribe that is the Ateneo. We owe that much to a child named Amiel Alcantara of Grade 4-Manobo.

For other updates and details, particularly regarding what is being done regarding traffic safety and education, you can visit the official Ateneo website at

[By Angelica Viloria | Wednesday, March 4, 2009]

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