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The Ceremony of Sophia University 100th Anniversary was held

The Ceremony of Sophia University 100th Anniversary was held on Friday, November 1.

The Sophia University Centennial Memorial Mass was held at the Main Chapel of St. Ignatius Church in the morning. His Eminence Raffaele Cardinal Farina, a special envoy of Pope Francis, has performed a mass in which he called on people to thank our past 100 years and prayed that prosperity would come to us in years ahead.

In attendance of Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, the centenary ceremony was held at Tokyo International Forum. About 4,200 people, including distinguished guests of honor, current students, members of Sophia University Parents’ Association, graduates, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the centennial celebration together.

The honorable members of the platform party were Raffaele Cardinal Farina, a special envoy of Pope Francis; Bishop Dr. Dominikus Schwaderlapp, on behalf of Joachim Cardinal Meisner of Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany; Their Royale Highnesses Prince Félix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg; Archbishop of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Hollerich, former Vice-President of Sophia University; Archbishop Takeo Okada of Tokyo Archdiocese; Father Mark Raper, S.J., President of Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific; Dr. Atsushi Seike, Chairman of Federation of Japanese Private Colleges and Universities Association, President Michael Calmano of Nanzan University, President Ki-Pung Yoo of Sogang University, President Jose Ramon T. Villarin S.J. of Ateneo de Manila University.

The ceremony was a 2 part event. The singing of the Alma Mater opened the first part of the ceremony which was followed by an opening statement by Master of the Ceremonies and a welcome address by the host of Centenary Ceremony, Chancellor Toshiaki Koso. After the congratulatory messages delivered by the guests of honor, the audience watched a film "Sophia – Bringing the World Together" featuring our mission in pictures. The legacy of 100 years of Sophia University was put on the screen against the background music performed by Sophia Orchestra and Sophia Centennial Choir which was specially organized for this occasion by bringing together the members of Sophia University Choir, Sophia Glee Club, and Sophia University Amadeus Chor.

Then a procession of overseas students from our affiliated schools carrying their national flags invited great applause from the audience. Two student leaders announced the Declaration of Sophia 100 years and closed the curtain in a joyous atmosphere.

The main theme that ran through Part II was the role Sophia University should play in our globalized society over the next 100 years. The ceremony began with the conferment of testimonials to people who have given us their support over many years, and this event was followed by 2 memorial lectures on a current issue of peace and the environment by Father Mark Raper, S.J. and Professor Anne MacDonald in the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies. Their lectures were followed by the presentation of Takumi Oyama, a senior in the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanity, who won the first prize in the 100th Year Anniversary Proposal Contest. Sophia University President Tadashi Takizawa delivered a lecture on the topic of Sophia’s engaging role in its next 100 years.

During the ceremony, Sophia University was conferred a certificate from the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU). IFCU is made up of about 200 catholic universities and institutions of higher education from 59 nations across the world and recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), thereby becoming an Associate Non-Governmental Organization with consultative status.

The sound of the bells of St. Ignatius reverberated through the ceremony hall gathering momentum of this unforgettable event. The orchestra played the 100th Anniversary song of Sophia University “Symphony of God,” making its debut at the ceremony. This song was orchestrated by Mr. Man Arai, a graduate of Sophia University, who is a writer, composer/sing song writer by profession. The song is his original lyrics and composition of the well-known Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. With help from Sophia Centennial Choir and Sophia University Orchestra, Mr. Kazutaka Ishii, also a graduate and musical star, along with a soprano singer Yucca brought the centenary celebration to a grand finale.

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