DWAD History:

And a man of God. And his Vision. 

The Word, of course, was the love that God had for men that impelled him to make Himself as one among them. 

The man was a bishop. Because he preached the Word, he was expelled from China by the communist and so he found himself in the Philippines in 1953 still driven by a special dedication to serve the Chinese. This man was Bishop Therode Schu, SVD. 

And his vision was to keep the Word alive by establishing a parish and a school to take care of the apostolic needs of the Chinese.

 But where shall this be realized? Tarlac, Baguio and Dagupan were considered. Deciding wasn’t easy, until a prominent citizen of Dagupan by name of Eduardo Kang Tan, Sr. came in. He convinced Bishop Schu to make it here in Dagupan City. And Dagupan it was.

 And so, in 1955, the Parish of Saint Therese was officially established with Father Joseph Kwo as the first Parish Priest. At the same time, plans for the school were made with the assistance of concerned citizens led by the indefatigable Eduardo Kang Tan, Sr.

 Finally in 1957, the school formally opened its doors to students from kindergarten to first year high school. It was then known as St. Therese Chinese Academy with 130 enrollees and 8 teachers. The first director was Fr. Richard Hartwich, SVD. Other administrative officials were: Fr. Peter Joseph Kwo – school treasurer, Fr. Matthias Ning – school disciplinarian.

 In 1958, Fr. Aloysius Yang, SVD became the acting School Director but was replaced after a while by Fr. Hubert Lohrbach, SVD.

 In 1960, the Society of the Divine Word (SVD0 formally took over the ownership and administration of the school, Henceforth, the school was known as the Divine Word Academy of Dagupan (DWAD). In 1961, Fr. Henry Schmitz, SVD became the School Director, a position he was to hold for 15 years. The year also saw the High School Department holding its first Commencement exercise with 8 graduates.

 The years quickly rolled by, people faces came and were gone, and the school kept growing in buildings, in population, in prestige.

 In 1976, Fr. Matthias Ning, SVD became the School Director, a position he held for 11 years.

 In 1988, Fr. Jess P. del Rosario, SVD was at the helm as the Director of the school.

 In 1995, Fr. Ambrose L. Ponce, SVD became the Campus Minster, and then in 1996, he became the School Director up to the present.

 DWAD is one of the few schools which offer a complete and well-balanced education in Chinese culture in addition to the regular curricula required by DECS and by the Private Schools in unique combination with ideals of catholic Education.

 The Academy is under the direction of the Divine Word Missionaries and is primarily established for the benefit of the Catholics of Chinese decent, residing in Dagupan City and in the various towns and places all over the country. However, the school equally welcomes all children regardless of race, color and religious creed.












  Blessed Arnold Janssen, SVD (1837-1909)

jan.jpg (34964 bytes)    Arnold Janssen founded three congregations: The Society of the Divine Word, The Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters and the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters.

    Arnold Janssen was born on November 5, 1837 in the town of Goch, Germany, a town near the Dutch border. He was ordained a diocesan priest in 1861, and began his ministry as a teacher.

    He began a magazine for mission awareness, The Little Messenger of the Sacred Heart. In the Messenger, he began to promote the idea of beginning a seminary to train diocesan priests for the missions.

Because political conditions in Germany were unfavorable to Catholics, Fr. Janssen purchased land in nearby Holland to begin his seminary. On September 8, 1875, St. Michael, the Archangel Mission House in Steyl, Holland was dedicated. The Society of the Divine Word was born.

Within a few years of its founding, scores of seminarians, priests and brothers were preparing for missionary service at Steyl and the first two missionaries were sent to China. One, Fr. Joseph Freinademetz, was an outstanding missionary who was beatified, along with Blessed Arnold Janssen, in 1975.

In the late part of the 1800's the Society of the Divine Word experienced tremendous growth and expansion. Mission Houses were opened in Austria and Germany, more mission fields were accepted by the Society, and Fr. Janssen founded two congregations of Sisters.

December 8, 1889 marked the founding of the Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit. The Sisters, carrying the charisma of the Founder, began missionary work in many of the same areas where Divine Word Missionary priests and brothers served, often building and operating schools and hospitals.

In 1896 Fr. Janssen also founded the Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration. The "Pink Sisters", a name taken from their pink habit, also spread all over the world, performing their ministry of prayer through perpetual adoration of the Eucharist.

Today, Divine Word Missionaries serve in over 50 countries and number over 5,000 members.


Blessed Joseph Freinademetz,SVD, called "Ujoep" by his friends was born on April 15, 1852, to farmer parents in a valley high in the south Tyrolean Alps. His parents and neighbors were good Catholics who taught the little boy that God, his loving Father, had created the splendid mountains and everything that surrounded him. Because Joseph also saw the power and love of God clearly in the people around him, he was moved to study for the priesthood. This meant learning languages -- seven before he was done. These were not burdens, but doors that would later open the minds and hearts of people to Fr. Joseph. As his knowledge of the world broadened, Joseph began to see that the most deprived people on earth were those who did not know their creator. So he decided to become a missionary. As a young diocesan priest, he joined the Divine Word Missionaries founded by Fr. Arnold Janssen, and after a period of formation he and Fr. John Anzer, SVD, were sent to China in 1879. Fr. Freinademetz found China a poor country with millions of people, meager stocks of food and trillions of fleas. The European nations (Russia, England, France and Germany) circled like sharks, waiting to divide up the great Chinese empire. The Chinese, whose civilization antedates Europe's by thousands of years, were resentful. Into this troubled land came the messengers of the poor Christ, preaching the love of the Lord of heaven for all his people. Understandably, they got a mixed reception! Fr. Freinademetz and his companions were first sent to help the Franciscans, but in time they took a section of the diocese for Divine Word Missionaries. The bishop of Hong Kong wanted to put Fr. Freinademetz in charge so he would eventually become the bishop. But the chagrined missionary knelt in front of the bishop and said he would stay there until the bishop changed his mind and appointed Fr. Anzer instead. The petition was finally granted.

For the rest of his life, Fr. Freinademetz would remain a simple priest familiarly known as "Fr. Joseph." Many Chinese resented the missionaries and their converts because of evils done to them by the foreign soldiers and diplomats. Others saw a challenge to their own authority and their traditional religion. Others were simply opportunists who wanted to loot the property of the Christians. Vicious stealing, beating, and killing broke out, and many of the new Christians were martyred. Fr. Joseph was attacked often enough. Once, at a place called Tsaohsien, he together with his companions was beaten most severely. As he lay bleeding and helpless on the ground, he began to tell his attackers about the beautiful religion he had come to offer to them. One by one they listened quieted down and withdrew. As priest, catechist, and mule driver stumbled to their feet, their first response was to laugh loudly, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer for Christ. Things like this impressed both the new Christians and their enemies. Chinese resentment against foreigners boiled over toward the end of the nineteenth century. The secret "Big Knife Society" slaughtered Fathers Nies and Henle. Immediately, Germany, France and Russia seized large tracts of Chinese soil.

The Chinese government scooped up all foreigners to deport them. As the missionaries were being taken from Tsingtao in mule cards, Fr. Joseph persuaded his driver to turn down a side lane and out among the sorghum fields where they could hide. There, they found a large group of Christians who prayed with them all night. In time, the deportation order was rescinded, and the courageous priest was able to return to his pastoral work. Tuberculosis, the inevitable result of years of neglect of his health, finally struck Fr. Joseph down. He could, however, live in large mission station and share his missionary zeal with younger members. His chief convictions were that love is the one language everyone understands, and that mission work is really done by Christ who uses the missionary as a gardener uses a trowel. It was the typhus germ, carried by the fleas of China, which eventually brought the life of Fr. Joseph to a close.

Given his run-down condition, the medicine of the day was useless. He knew he was dying and welcomed death. But he wanted to be buried in the community cemetery in Taikia. As usual, he asked to no help but drove himself to the village in a mule cart. On the way, he stopped off to give one last instruction to the young catechists. He asked them to remember the great examination God would give them at the end of their lives. Then he went on to Taikia. His old friend, Brother Ulrich, who met him there later, recalled his words: "From here on, the way leads up." The missionary of Shantung lasted only days. The Christians and the missionaries mourned his death on January 28, 1908. Since that day, people have prayed to Fr. Joseph, and God has worked many miracles through his intercession. (PRAYER FOR CANONIZATION) Sixty-seven years after his holy death, on October 19, 1975, Pope Paul VI declared Divine Word Missionary Joseph Freinademetz "Blessed." Today he is known simply as Blessed Joseph of Shantung.









DWAD has been primarily established for the benefit of the Catholics of Chinese decent residing in Dagupan City and in various towns and places of Northern Luzon.
Together with other SVD Educational Institutions of Northern Luzon, DWAD strives to be the center of academic excellence and evangelization. DWAD’s missionary efforts flow from the mission of the church, which is highlighted by the charisma of the SVD congregation articulated in their constitution and capsulated in their vision-mission statement (Asia-Pacific and Northern Philippines). 

Vision Statement: Asia-Pacific Zone
“Called by the Father from many nations and cultures to participate in the life and mission of the Trinity, we commit ourselves to support and collaborate with one another as religious missionary priests and brothers in the Asia-Pacific zone of the Society of the Divine Word;
Sent to people of diverse culture and religion as followers of the Divine Word, we express solidarity with the people of Asia and the pacific by partaking of their blessings (the rich variety of cultures, deep religiosity, youth and vitality, economic and human resources), and by standing with them in their problems (poverty, rapid population growth, religious intolerance, cultural discrimination, consumerism);
Led by the spirit in living out our SVD charisma, we accompany them in their struggle to become truly and self-reliant Christian communities in their respective local churches, and so grow together in discovering our missionary identity and responsibility in the zone and beyond;
Impelled by our religious missionary vocation, seek out especially for those on the frontiers of our faith and the margins of society. We dialogue with other religions, other cultures and the people together. We witness to the Good News that the kingdom is at hand.”

Vision: Philippine Northern Province
The people within the SVD Northern Province, especially those in the frontier situations (tribal, cultural communities, the poor and marginalized and the youth), growing through the divine word, into viable Christian communities witness to the values of the Kingdom as missionary and evangelizing people of God.
UPHN North Educational Institutions:
The people of the SVD North Educational Institutions inspired by the Divine Word ass witnesses of the truth, justice, peace and love especially with the youth marginalized, tribal, indigenous and cultural groups.
Mission Statement of DWAD:

We, the Divine Word Academy of Dagupan community of students, teachers and parents, alumni and staff commit ourselves to Trinitarian relationship through:
  1. An integral formation of the intellectual, social, political, cultural and spiritual aspect of life;
  2. Living the cardinal values of wisdom, benevolence and courage inspired by love of God and country;
  3. Practicing courtesy, justice, honesty and humility among ourselves and with diverse culture;
  4. Witnessing to the Kingdom values peace, joy, love, truth and freedom… as apostles and companions of the  Divine Word.

Kindergarten Department

DWAD Kindergarten Department endeavors to provide wholesome foundation to our kinder pupils, thus, preparing them for “LIFE” rich in Christian values and a true Filipino culture.
Elementary School Department

1. To provide the learners varied opportunities to enable them to achieve academic excellence.
2. To instill in the Divinians love of family, fellowmen, and country and above all, love of God.
3. To provide the children learning so that they will realize their God-given talents and utilize them in order to become Christians who value knowledge, love and most importantly, LIFE.
4. To provide learning experiences which increase the children’s awareness of and responsiveness to change in society.
High School Department

1. To develop the intellectual and spiritual capabilities of students to become patriotic Filipinos.
2. To provide techniques which will maximize the skills and abilities of students to become leaders responsive to the needs and calls of the community.
3. To program activities that respond to students’ awareness and development of their cultural, social, intellectual, religious, economic and scientific life.
4. To provide learning experiences that will enrich students’ pastoral and spiritual values, hence, to produce the true and ideal Christians.
The DWAD logo presents a triangle symbolizing the Holy Trinity. Each side of the triangle represents each of the three virtues: love, wisdom and courage. In the middle of the triangle is the cross, the symbol of Christ, The Divine Word.
1. Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, the patroness of all missionaries. Her original feast day was October 3 as set by the Church. Now, it is celebrated every First Sunday of October.
2. Blessed Arnold Janssen, the founder of the Society of the Divine Word: His feast day is on January 15.

Green, which stands for hope and white, which symbolizes purity.

Divine Word
The Song of Songs in Holy Trinity.
In timeless bliss through Love’s eternity Creative Word
The starry sky you light and guide at night,
Yeah, now to me
You tell the Road of True and lasting Life.
D.W.A.D. Yeah! D.W.A D.
Alma Mater, My guiding star, I fondly call you mine, Laughter and tears,
You bless my springtime venture, rain or shine.
Alma Mater,
This song beats strong and gay and proud for you.
Divine Word,
I pledge my loyalty forever true.
Ever, ever, ever true! Yeah! Ever, ever, ever true!

F. DWAD in partnership with AYALA Foundation USA

                   Divine Word Academy of Dagupan now gained partnership with AYALA Foundation USA (AF-USA). The AYALA Foundation USA is dedicated in helping its members raise funds as support for social development progress/projects for non-profit organizations. Through the foundation, US based Filipinos can extend their help/assistance and support for worthy causes here in the Philippines.

                Since the foundation is a 501(C)(3) and tax-exempt organization registered with the US Securities & Exchange Commission, US-based donors can enjoy tax-deductibility incentives provided by US laws.

See pdf document for more details.