How did the Blue Vultures evolve?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-10-28
“We stand on a hill between the earth and sky. Now all is still where Loyola’s colors fly. Our course is run and the setting sun ends Ateneo’s day. Eyes are dry at the last goodbye; this is the Ateneo way.

Mary for you! For your white and blue! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!

Down from the hill, down to the world go I; rememb’ring still, how the bright Blue Eagles fly. Through joys and tears, through the laughing years, we sing our battle song: Win or lose, it’s the school we choose; this is the place where we belong!

Mary for you! For your white and blue! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true! We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!”

These are the lyrics of A Song For Mary, the Ateneo de Manila University alma mater song that’s sung during commencement exercises and after Ateneo games at the UAAP. Mary is none other than Mother Mary, patroness of the Ateneans. The so-called Hail Mary shot in basketball — a shot deemed unlikely to score a basket — was an expression of the Atenean’s deep faith in their patroness.

Per the Ateneo website, “Up to the time that the Ateneo de Manila had moved to Loyola Heights, the school anthem was “Hail Ateneo, Hail,” a song of triumph, of marching on to victory with loyalty. However, the move from Padre Faura to Loyola Heights seems to have evoked change. The new campus stood for something new, something nobler.

Fr. James Reuter, S.J. wrote a song that seemed to embody the “newness” that permeated the new Ateneo. It, perhaps, better suited what the school is all about.”

The Ateneo website added: “Its music is adapted from Calixa Lavalée’s music to the hymn “O Canada”, composed in 1880, which is why many people believe that the Ateneo copied the music of Canada’s national anthem. However, it is interesting to note that Canada only adopted “O Canada” as its own national anthem in 1980. The Ateneo de Manila adopted “A Song for Mary” as its alma mater song three decades earlier.

“A Song for Mary” speaks more clearly and more ardently from the Atenean’s heart. Life is not merely about competition or about assailing enemies “in strong array.” The struggle is, as in chivalry, for one’s Lady. And the Ateneo’s own Lady is no less than Mary, the Mother of God, and our own mother. The aim is not merely victory, but steadfast faith and commitment - to keep “constantly true,” whether we win or lose.
The song also speaks of a purpose higher than to “win our laurels bright,” a greater challenge than being able to “do or die.”

The song declares that we go “down from the hill, down to the world,” to live, to give, and to serve.

That is the Ateneo way.”

Just click on this link to enjoy the A Song for Mary alma mater hymn.

When Ateneo won its 5th consecutive UAAP Seniors Basketball championship last October 11, the alma mater hymn was humming in my mind. Any Atenean who was in the venue of victory would have sung that with the team — with a flood of emotions in their Blue Eagle hearts. It was no different for an Atenean outside the venue and watching the victory live on television.

More than the 5-peat feat, the feeling of the Jesuit inculcated value of FLY HIGH was appreciated. At the Ateneo, we were hammered to be humble in the context of the Augustinian concept of humility — of being no less than you are. The Augustinian concept of humility says: “You are not told: be something less than you are, but: know what you are.” The Jesuits drove home to Blue Eagle hearts and minds to aspire to be the best that they can be — but be men for others.

To the Atenean who spent many a year at the Loyola campus, the HILL is both a fact of topography and vantage point for Ignatian vision. The HILL is where the Ateneo is honed to be a productive member of society, ever loyal to God, Jesus and Mother Mary. Ateneans are molded to attain a position of leadership where the Atenean can be more things to more people. The Jesuits are not shy in stating that Ateneans are trained to lead and be a man for others.

If we scan the Philippine who’s who landscape, we’ll see many Blue Eagles who have attained their full potential. A good many of them have been true to their Ignatian pledge and have been a man for others. You’ll find them pour their money, heart, time and efforts in such worthy endeavors as GK (Gawad Kalinga), which is dedicated to nation building through community development.

We Ateneans share the shame of how some of our Blue Eagle colleagues have transformed into Blue Vultures. The Blue Vultures are seen in the political dynasties that choke the development of the country. The Blue Vultures have been involved in the plunder of the people’s money. The Maxim “Be no less than you are” became steal as much as you can.

In fairness to our Jesuit educators, the Blue Vultures didn’t develop from campus inputs but from deficient values that were hammered to their young minds at home. The Jesuits did warn us that they tend to produce some of the best as well as some of the worst. Among the Blue Eagle generations of Baby Boomers, and Gen Xers — there are Blue Vultures.

Indeed, it’s hard to fathom how an Atenean who underwent Ignatian indoctrination for 12 years (kindergarten, 7 grade school years and 4 high school years) could transform into Blue Vultures. What happened to the lessons learned from the life of St. Thomas More and all those other role models? Some Blue Eagles feel that the Blue Vulture character might have been genetic and too strong for Jesuit education to reverse.

If only the Blue Eagles practice ostracism in sending the known Blue Vultures the message that they have defiled their Ignatian values, we might see some positive developments. Instead of sending that message through ostracism, a lot of them allow known Blue Vultures to join alumni social events.

Many were incensed during the October 13 bonfire at the Loyola campus to see the presence of a big Blue Vulture joining the celebration. Of course, they’ll join these festivities because there has been no attempt to impress on them that there’s a wide scale disapproval of their misdeeds by Ateneo colleagues.

* * *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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