Brother Sockie: Educating youth, promoting sustainable development in Philippines
By Rechilda Estores
Brother Francisco Sockie de la Rosa, a Filipino Lasallian Christian Brother, and president of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas (DLSU-D), a recognized most-sustainable campus in the Philippines and known as one of greenest universities in Asia (UIGM World University Ranking), has shared his vocation towards taking care of the environment and teaching young people about God.
“I’ve made a commitment to human and Christian education, especially of the poor,” he continued. “My commitment to education is closely related to that of nurturing the environment.”
As part of a Catholic University, he aims to lead young people towards God.
“I live out my vocation faithfully conducting my duties. De La Salle Brothers believe that schools are a special place where young people encounter God and with this encounter become closer to Him,” he told Vatican News.
Caring for our common home
Br. de la Rosa reminded people that the earth "is our only home and if we ruin it, where do we go?”
The president of the sustainable university responded to the call of the Church to participate in improving the environment by ensuring that policies are “geared towards protecting the environment". He highlighted that "our curriculum teaches all students to love our common home; and that all stakeholders commit to a clean and green future.”
The Lasallian brother highlighted that educating people as early as childhood will impact our environment.
“Education is a major factor – and if we start at a young age it will be more effective. Teaching little children simple acts that become habits will build a generation that cares for our common home,” he said.
The president of the university also encourages people to venture out and be exposed to mountains, beaches, and nature, and ask themselves: “Is this something you want to see gone in a matter of years?”
Br. de la Rosa hopes that more youth will realize the importance of our environment.
“I hope that more young people love and care for the Earth – that they see the relationship between the destruction of the environment and our quality of life and education,” he added. “Our fancy diplomas mean nothing if we have no fresh air to breathe or clean water to drink.”
Christian education for the young
As a Christian Brother, he shared that De La Salle Brothers have a preference for educating the young people, especially the poor and vulnerable of society.
“De La Salle saw that children of the poor and working class were 'so far from salvation.' Their ignorance would lead them farther from God,” he explained.
Br. de la Rosa emphasized the role of educating the youth and letting them have closer a relationship with Christ.
“Youth are the future Catholics,” he asked. “If we don't guide them and educate them, where will our next generation of religious, priests, married men and women, etc. come from?”
He believes that education is “the basis for forming the future generations of Catholic men and women in the world. Catholic schools offer a 'fast track' for, hopefully, faithful believers.”
In his 15 years of service as a Lasallian brother, Br. de la Rosa noted that “the best way to share one’s vocation is to live by example."
He concluded the interview by urging others to also join in the Lasallian mission for disseminating the Christian education to the young and the poor.
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