Two activities occupied much of the public ministry of Jesus: the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, and the healing of the sick and making whole those afflicted with illnesses. The teaching part can also be seen as a form of healing. Teaching is a cure for ignorance, fear, and prejudice.
Today is the feast day of St. John Neumann, the father of Catholic education in the US. He started the first diocesan school system in his diocese in Philadelphia. Teaching and education has always been a vital activity of the Church. It was in Catholic universities and institutions of higher learning, including abbeys and monasteries, that arts and sciences initially flourished. Religious orders, notably the Jesuits, have established for themselves a franchise for their brand of Catholic education.
I spent all my working years in these two arenas: health and education. I have always been proud of being a teacher. Tatang was a teacher and I followed in his footsteps. My first job was teaching where I met Anabelle. She would go on to teach all her working life too – 30 years at the Ateneo. Even when I was pursuing a corporate career, I set aside time to teach – more than 20 years at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.
I have come to appreciate the value and great service in working in the health arena: dealing with doctors and other health professionals, as well as their patients, in my work with pharma companies, managing a health delivery system as an HMO executive, engaging health leaders and institutions as a health management consultant.
I thank God for these opportunities to have serve and shared in His work of teaching and healing. I have always looked at my work more as an act of service rather than a career.