Page 1


ar ch



Vol. III, No. 2, 2016

SALESIAN PONTIFICAL UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF THEOLOGY, JERUSALEM The Salesian Pontifical University's Jerusalem Campus of the Faculty of Theology (Studium Theologicum Salesianum - STS) carries on the academic tradition of the former Salesian Centre for Theological Studies established in Bethlehem (1929), then transferred to Tantur (1949), to Cremisan (1957) and to Jerusalem in September 2004. It is located a short 20 minute walk from the Old City of Jerusalem, site of the major events of Christ's life. The Studium Theologicum Salesianum offers a four-year Pontifical Bachelor's Degree in Theology and from 2015, a Diploma in Biblical Geography and History, and a Diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism. All courses are taught in English. The STS follows a two semester system (September-January and FebruaryJune). In addition to students who do the regular four-year degree programme, STS welcomes students who want to study a selection of courses in theology. The lay and religious students and faculty come from various religious orders and congregations and rites within the Catholic Church. You can get to know us better at We also have a well furnished, computerised library containing over 40,000 volumes and close to 100 periodicals in various languages - the majority being in English, Italian and French. You can check our library catalogue on our website. You can contact us at

CONTENTS President’s Message NEWS: Opening of the Second Semester Mercy without Boundaries Educating for Leadership Diploma Classes Priest Gardener for God

3 4 5 7 8 9

CONFERENCES: WCC General Secretary Violence in Religious Texts

10 12

ARCHAEOLOGY & TOPOGRAPHY: Topographical Visit to Mount Zion Topographical Visit to Temple Mount Archaeological Excursion

13 14 15

CREATIVE CORNER: God forgives with a caress 16 Necessity and Relevance of Prayer 17 Mary and Humanity 18 Strive for Excellence 18 What is the purpose of Studying Theology? 19


PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION Sign and Proof of the Resurrection of Christ

Dear Friends Happy Easter! It is that time of the year when we are reminded of the second part of the Apostles' Creed on Jesus Christ. “I believe in Jesus Christ who … suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead…” Among the many proofs offered for the resurrection of Christ, we speak of the tremendous transformation of the apostles caused by the event of the resurrection. The apostles after the resurrection were very different from what they were before the resurrection. Before the resurrection, on the day of crucifixion, they were sad, dejected, afraid and hopeless. After the resurrection, they became enthusiastic, courageous and filled with hope. Their transformation in such a short time of three days is itself a proof of the resurrection of Christ. The birth of the Church in only seven weeks from the crucifixion is also a proof of the resurrection, for nothing else could explain the transformation of the disciples in this short time. Nothing but the resurrection of Christ could give birth to the Church - the first Christian community. The resurrection is so important to the Church, because it is the sign that God has accepted the sacrifice offered as atonement for human sins, that we are justified in Christ (Cf. Rm 4:25; 8:11; 1 Cor 6:14; Phil 3:21; 1 Jn 3:2). The resurrection proved Jesus' claims to be the Son of God (Cf. Jn 2:19; 10:17; Mt 12:38-40; 16:21; 17:9, 23; Mk 8:31; 9:9; Lk 9:22; 18:33). This is why Paul would declare only a few decades after the death and resurrection of Christ that: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain”(1Cor 15:14-15).The Resurrection could not have been a myth. At the time of Paul claiming the Resurrection as the most important tenet of faith, people were only a few decades from the event of the resurrection and could have contested it if it was not an accepted fact. The change of worship from Sabbath to Sunday is a proof of such an important event. The resurrection is the central message of Peter at Pentecost (Cf. Acts 2: 22ff). The apostles were so convinced that they could induce many of the people who put Christ to death to believe in the resurrection of the same Christ. Peter within seven weeks of the crucifixion of Jesus, insisted with the people who had been involved in the crucifixion (according to the plan of God) that God raised the same Jesus from death (Cf. Acts 2:23-24; 4:10; 5:30). The apostles gave their lives in years of dedication to preaching the resurrection of Christ and even preferred

death to giving up that faith. The religious leaders of the time were annoyed precisely because of the apostles preaching the resurrection of Christ (Cf. Acts 4:2) Saul the persecutor of the Church turned to be an apostle because of a vision of the resurrected Jesus. He would suffer much in his life for this: imprisonments, countless floggings, beatings with rods, stoning, shipwrecks, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure (Cf. 2Cor 11:2328). The apostles transformed, like Peter, from being frightened of a woman servant who asked if he was associated with Christ, to preaching Christ to nations, without fear, and to appear before authorities in the name of the resurrected Christ (Cf. Acts 4:8ff). The resurrection of Christ became the symbol of hope (Cf. Heb 6:19-20) and the guarantee of the words we pray at the end of the Apostles' Creed, “I believe in … the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.” Hope was so central to Christianity that the anchor became a symbol of Christianity itself. The crucial criteria for the election of successors to the apostles, as proposed by Peter, is their being witnesses of the resurrection (Cf. Acts 1:22). It is not surprising that even today the transformed life of the Christian continues to be the proof of the Good News - the victory of hope over despair. How can we today become witnesses and proof of the resurrection and of hope? Pope Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est tells us, “Hope is practised through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God's mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness. “Just like in the life of the apostles, what can strengthen us in the face of apparent failure is the personal experience of the Risen Christ. They had the opportunity to spend “face time” with Jesus after his resurrection; he taught them (Cf. Lk 24:25ff); they touched him (Cf. Mt 28:9; Lk 24:39; Jn 20:27); and they ate with him (Lk 24:42-43; Jn 21:12-13). The daily celebration of the Eucharist where, he teaches us through his Word, where he allows us to touch and feed of him can be our strength. Each day we can walk out of the celebration of the Eucharist to live the Good News amidst our fellow human beings – to be signs and bearers of hope among them by the practice of the virtues of patience and humility. Rev. Dr Biju Michael President/Principal |3


OPENING OF THE SECOND SEMESTER 1 February 2016, STS-Jerusalem Adam Dupré, SDB On the morning of February 1, the students and faculty of the STS gathered to open the second semester. Deacon Tomek Sage, the Student Representative of the STS began with a moment of prayer and invited Br. Lam Dang, SDB to lead a hymn invoking the Holy Spirit to guide the STS for the coming semester. Immediately after the prayer, Deacon Tomek, SDB invited Fr. Biju Michael, SDB, Principal of the STS to the podium. Fr. Biju introduced some of the highlights for the second semester. Before introducing the highlights of what is to come, he invoked our Blessed Mother and the STS prayed a Hail Mary, entrusting the studies to her. Fr. Biju explained the importance of the study of theology over the course of the students' tenure of four years. The importance being that our study is our ministry at this point in the lives of the students. He pointed out how St. Luke the Evangelist spent time in research and study to write the Gospel for the sake of Theophilus and others who through this orderly account written by Luke will be able to know the full truth about Christ. Our study and research has the same purpose, namely to make the truth of the Gospel known to our contemporaries. This was the spirit of St. John Bosco when he said, “For you I study.” Fr. Biju went on to introduce the newest member of our faculty, Rev. Dr. SebyKidangan Ouseph, SDB, JCD. Fr. Seby's credentials include a BSc in Mathematics, MA in Christian Studies, JCL with the title of his paper being, “Missionary Dimension; Institute of Consecrated Life”, and a JCD with the thesis “Right to Evangelization of Christian Faithful; A Post- Conciliar Doctrine.

March 2016 | 4

Fr. Biju then introduced Fr. Francis Preston, SDB as a guest of honour. Fr. Preston is Rector Emeritus of the Salesian Ratisbonne Community; he was a lecturer of Salesians Studies at the STS. Before coming to Jerusalem, Fr. Preston was the Provincial of the Great Britain Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Fr. Gianni Caputa, SDB introduced the Chief Guest for the Assembly of Students, the Most Reverend GiancintoBoulos Marcuzzo. Bishop Marcuzzo is the Patriarchal Vicar for Nazareth and the Titular Bishop of EmmausNicopolis. He was born in Italy but later moved to the Holy Land in 1960 to begin his priestly formation and studies at Beit Jala; he was ordained a priest on June 22, 1969. After his ordination he worked as a chaplain in Ramallah and later as a missionary in Malakal in Southern Sudan. From 1977-1980 Bishop Marcuzzo studied Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University and Spiritual Theology at the Teresianum in Rome. When his doctoral work was completed in Rome, he returned to the Holy Land where he lectured at the Major Seminary in

NEWS Beit Jala and was later appointed Rector of the same Seminary. The Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah ordained Bishop Marcuzzo a bishop on July 3, 1993. Bishop Marcuzzo spoke to the students about “the splendor and importance of the serious study of Theology”. He opened his talk by stating “Theology is life…one cannot think or write about theology without realizing the impact it has on one's life.” He insisted that studying theology is not done for the sake of studying itself but for introducing theology into one's life. He told the students that the study of theology is a journey. Some of the advice he gave was for the students to read the introductions to the Documents of Vatican II. He went on to explain that theology is more than a science - it is wisdom. The vocation to theology means to understand God, to go deeper into the Word of God, in order to preserve the Deposit of Faith so that those who study theology can then offer what they have learned by presenting it to mankind. Bishop Marcuzzo told the students that faith is openness to the Word of God in their lives and for this reason theology cannot be created but rather it is accepted because God reveals theology. He encouraged the students to be always in a state of thinking. The Bishop accompanied the canonical process for the canonizations of Saints Marie-Alphonsine and Myriam Baouardy. He asked the students of the STS to pray for the beatification of the Venerable Simaan Srugi, a Salesian Lay Brother from Nazareth. After a word of thanks to the students, he reminded them that the time for

study is the present moment and warned them that what they do not learn now they will not learn later. The Bishop led the lecture with a prayer, using the prayer of St. Thomas Moore, “Prayer for Good Humor”. The opening ceremony ended with the Chief Guest and the Guest of honor presenting the STS Football Tournament Trophy to the winning team. In the second part of the opening ceremony, the students had their Student Assembly in which Bro. Erastus Nduati Chege was elected as the new Student Representative. Deacon Tomsz Sage who had served two semesters as the Student Representative was thanked for his most efficient and dedicated service. The following Yeargroup leaders were elected: Jerone Warnakulasuriya – 1st Year; Patrick Raphael Sebyera Ndirenganya – 2nd Year; Dieunel Jean Paul Victor – 3rd Year; and Tomasz Karol Sage – 4th Year.

MERCY WITHOUT BOUNDARIES 10 March 2016, STS - Jerusalem Romero D’Souza, SDB On the 10 March 2016, the Studium Theologicum Salesianum (STS), Jerusalem Campus of the Salesian Pontifical University was privileged to host the conference on “MERCY WITHOUT BOUNDARIES” in celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Words of welcome were given by Rev. Fr Biju Michael SDB, the President of STS, who introduced the theme of the conference by reflecting briefly on Art. 23 of Misericordiae Vultus “There is an aspect of mercy that goes beyond the confines of the Church. It relates us to Judaism and Islam, both of which consider mercy to be one of God's most important attributes”. He then introduced the Panellists – His Lordship Most Rev. William H. Shomali (Auxiliary Bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem); Rabbi David Rosen (International Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs &

Understanding); Khadi Iyad Zahalka (Judge and the head of Sharia courts in Jerusalem and active in interreligious relations); and Rev. Fr Francesco Voltaggio (Professor at the Neo-Catechumenate Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Domus Galilea and regular speaker for Radio Maria). In his opening words, Bishop Shomali (the Chairperson) highlighted the relevance of the topic to the current reality of the Holy Land and the Middle East where there is a need to root out violence and let mercy rule. Quoting Pope Francis, he exhorted: “I trust that this Jubilee year celebrating the mercy of God will foster an encounter with these religions and with other noble religious traditions; may it open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; may it eliminate every form of closedmindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of 5 | March 2016


violence and discrimination” (Misericordiae Vultus, 23). Bishop Shomali went on to present four challenges: one, how does one reconcile social evils and human suffering with a God of mercy? Two, why does God not interfere in the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians? Three, the need to reconcile divine mercy and divine justice; and, four, how to educate young people to mercy? The audience was challenged to reflect as Christians, as followers of different religions to visualize how mercy has socio-political and economic dimensions. He also led the prayer asking God the merciful Father to enlighten and guide our minds and hearts as we come together in discussing and reflecting on MERCY. The conference had two main sessions: the presentation of the papers by the panellists and the group discussion focusing on the themes presented and discussed in the first session. Khadi Iyad Zahalka, the first speaker presented the Mercy of God in Islam. He elaborated on the following themes: Islam is the religion of mercy, and mercy is the basic idea of Islam; Sharia is based on mercy and has five objectives: Serving God; Serving people without discrimination, all lives are holy in Islam; Serving the mental ability of every person; Serving the children, to create an identity for children, to belong to family and Serving the wellness of everyone. Another key component of his presentation was the element of “punishment”. He further spoke of mercy, not only limited to human beings, but also to and for animals. He responded to questions from the audience on how to bring a coherence between the tenets of Islam and actual practice in the context of terrorism and violence propagated by some groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram. The Mercy of God in Judaism – Rabbi David Rosen elaborated on a number of different words of mercy from the Jewish tradition such as God as the Merciful one (Harachamim), Divine Transcendence (Elohim), Divine March 2016 | 6

Immanence (HaShem). He noted the inherent tension between the two Divine attributes: Justice and Mercy (midatharachamim). He further dealt with themes such as creation and mercy, judgment and mercy, the sayings of the Rabbis on mercy (quoting from varied sources), the concept of Teshuvah (Return) which testifies to Judaism's affirmation that God's mercy always has the upper hand over His judgment, God's mercy experienced by the Jewish people within the context of His Covenant with Israel, finally and most extensively elaborated on Divine Mercy and Chesed (loving kindness, steadfast love, and mercy) making use of the Books of the Pentateuch and the Prophets. At the end of his presentation, issues such as interpreting obscure texts that speak of violence, the reality of historical wounds suffered by the Jewish people and the current situation of the Holy Land were addressed. Dr. Francesco Voltaggio, the third speaker, presented the Mercy of God in Christianity. He developed his presentation in four parts: The concept of mercy in the OT as fatherly faithfulness (hesed) and motherly tenderness (rahamim); in NT as Jesus feels compassion in the deepest sense of the word (splanchnizesthai); the mercy and maternity of the Church; and the works of mercy according to Christian Tradition. Citing extensively the Church Fathers and Church Documents, Dr. Voltaggio stressed the movement of transformation from the “homo homini lupus” to “homo homini Deus”, giving importance to the fact that for Christians this is a true fortiori, after the incarnation of Jesus Christ. He further argued that speaking of God as infinite mercy and as perfect justice are not contradictions. After the presentation of the papers the participants were divided into groups to reflect on key issues that emerged from the presentations with regard to the understanding of the word and meaning of MERCY and the acts and works of MERCY. The groups presented answers to the question: How can the understanding of Divine Mercy lead to the practice of “mercy” as a way to peace among God's children?”

After the groups had a chance to present their insights and concerns, the panellists responded with their final comments. Bishop Shomali in his concluding remarks said that we have to uproot and take away violence by using the medicine, which is mercy. He spoke about the works of mercy taking place in the Holy Land where 640 Palestinian children are treated at the Israeli Hadassah

Hospital. He also referred to Germany and other countries that welcome and support over a million Syrian refugees as examples of mercy at work in our world. The symposium was brought to a conclusion with the vote of thanks proposed by Erastus Nduati Chege, the Student Representative of the STS.

EDUCATING FOR LEADERSHIP 18 February 2016, STS- Jerusalem

Holding the Future – Educating for Leadership was the theme of the very thought provoking and inspiring sessions led by Rev. Dr Peter Bray, FSE, EdD, Vice Chancellor of the Bethlehm University at the STS. On the occasion of the “Teaching Staff Study Day” of the STS, Brother Peter Bray generously poured out his vast experience in Educational Leadership to inspire the STS teachers. Peter Bray, a De Le Salle Brother from New Zealand, was Principal of Schools for many years before serving eleven years as the Director of the Wellington Catholic Education Centre. He earned his doctorate in leadership from the University of San Diego under the mentorship of Joseph Rost, the author of Leadership for the Twenty-First Century. He has taught on Leadership in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Ireland, England, the Philippines and other countries. He has been serving the Bethlehem University as Vice Chancellor since eight years. Dr Bray began by calling the attention of the participants to the power of the golden circle in which, one begins by answering the “why” rather than answering only the “what” and “how” questions about one's identity and mission. It is the answer to the “why” that gives purpose and meaning to people. It truly motivates the human being. Unfortunately, most people spent their time only answering the “what” and “how” questions. He then challenged the participants to articulate the “why” for the

presence of each person in the STS and for the presence of the STS as an institution. Dr Bray then drew the attention of the participants to their ministry in a University, which carries on the rich Catholic tradition of the Universities. He challenged the teachers to see if they live up to the challenging words of Cardinal Newman who described Universities as places “where inquiry is pushed forward, discoveries verified and perfected, and rashness rendered innocuous, and error exposed, by the collision of mind with mind, and knowledge with knowledge.” In the Catholic University tradition, many fundamental questions have been answered; but it remains our task to answer them further in our context and thus contribute to the wisdom of this rich tradition. 7 | March 2016

In a second session, he focused on Leadership, beginning by clarifying the many notions of leadership that each participant carried. He then showed, how, true leadership differs from management and defined leadership as “an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes.” In this complex, reciprocal relationship, leadership plays the middle role between what people have and what people want. Hence, leadership is about transformation

and changes that are intended. In it, each one, irrespective of titles and roles, plays their part as leaders in episodic patterns. Dr. Bray challenged the teachers to play their role in transformation for the achievement of the common good by formulating their personal leadership theory. Such a theory will influence the way each person thinks and works in teams.



BIBLICAL GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY 15 March 2016, STS – Jerusalem Minh Dang, SDB DIPLOMA IN INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE AND ECUMENISM The diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism is a great opportunity for students of STS to gain an adequate knowledge of Judaism and Islam and of the Protestant, Eastern and Oriental Churches. Students are able to participate and experience in the prayer traditions of both Jews and Muslims and other various Christian Churches. Ultimately, dialogue is between people rather than systems. In Nostra Aetate paragraph 2, it states the following: “The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, March 2016 | 8

preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.” Here, the Church calls her sons to be witnesses rather than defenders of the faith. Sometimes the call for dialogue is met with hesitation, suspicion, indifference or opposition from one's community and other religions. The aim of dialogue is not to produce a new world religion or to end up as a winner, but to have a spirit of openness and understanding of the other, as to avoid deception and misunderstanding. Thus, this diploma is not only theoretical but also practical. The diploma provides students opportunities to meet with leaders of various traditions and to engage in discussions and reflections. In dialogue, there is hope, because in the midst of conflicts and violence there is

NEWS hope that people can live together in justice and peace. It is through dialogue that people will no longer see each other as enemies, but as neighbors.

! Source Criticism: Investigates on the sources that

have been employed in the composition of a biblical work. ! Literary Criticism: is concerned with the text as a

DIPLOMA IN BIBLICAL GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY The diploma in Biblical Geography and History aims to provide students sufficient knowledge of Biblical texts and in the plurality of methods available in modern exegesis. Students are expose to various approaches in understanding Biblical text, one such method is the historical-critical method: ! Textual Criticism: The aim of this field of biblical

criticism is to establish the original wording or form of the biblical text insofar as this is possible.

finished piece of writing. Its main aim is to study the literary style of the language. ! Form Criticism: seeks to discover the type of

literature, which is contained in the Bible. ! Redaction criticism: is the study of editorial activity.

The aim of the diploma is to help students become familiar and proficient not only in the dialectic relationship between the text and the reader but also in the geography of Biblical Texts. History and geography help students to understand and make connections between the Old and New Testaments. Thus, the diploma will eventually help guide others to come to love the Bible more.

PRIEST - GARDENER FOR GOD 15 March 2016, STS - Jerusalem Romero D’Souza, SDB

The Priesthood is a vocation. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews states it very clearly when he affirms the divine vocation to the Priesthood which is Christ Himself (an expression of Trinitarian mystery, a consequence of the Incarnation – Crucifixion – Resurrection – Ascension – Pentecost). Priesthood is a gift (Hebrews 5:4). The Priesthood is a mystery (Romans 11:33). The priesthood is the nerve-centre of the Church's whole life and mission. The Priest is a man of the Eucharist. The priest is a man of prayer (Salesian Constitutions Art. 95 – Life as Prayer). The Priest is the teacher of the WORD, minister of the SACRAMENTS, and leader of the COMMUNITY. In the service of New Evangelization, the Priest is called to be the Good Shepherd (John 10), with the mission to be “alter Christus” (another Christ). It is worth reading and reflecting on Church documents like Presbyterorum Ordinis (on the ministry and life of Priests), Optatam Totius (on priestly training) Pastores Dabo Vobis (on the formation of Priests), Lumen Gentium (on the Church), and Vita Consecrata (on Religious life). STS is blest to have many of its professors as Priests. I would like to highlight on this occasion one of the many good and holy exemplary Priests present among us: Rev. Fr Stephen Kuncherakatt, SDB who is a Salesian Religious Priest. He is truly a man of God, a man of

Prayer. His virtue of simplicity and his character of hard work are the hallmarks of his life. Apart from being a Catechist in Liturgy and Lecturer in Latin and Sacraments, he has also to his credit a PhD in Liturgy and was a professor teaching various subjects at the universities in Rome and in Jerusalem. He has won the hearts of many young Salesians throughout his life (given the different roles and positions assigned to him such as Novice Master, Rector of the deacons community, Rector of Theology Centre, and currently Confessor and spiritual guide). His true essence of being and living as a Priest, is seen and fulfilled in his ministry as a confessor. This indeed sees him fulfilling his duty, his responsibility, his life as a gift and task. His sermons and good night talks are well prepared and planned, always focused on Priesthood and Religious Life. 9 | March 2016

CONFERENCES I am reminded of the film entitled: "The Gardener of God" which tells the inspiring story of Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), a Catholic priest and Augustinian monk who lived in the 19th century, and who is considered the father of modern genetics, a science that changed the world. The film reveals how he combined his vocation as a Priest and as a scientist following his passion for truth; a man of contemplation and action, of dedication and vision. Our Father and Founder, St John Bosco, had the

motto of “da mihi animas cetera tolle” and loved poor and abandoned youth. Fr Stephen, following the footsteps of Don Bosco, shares in his mission and motto. Indeed, he is a gardener for God, for he also loves flowers and plants and has a deep passion to save souls. We want to give praise and thanks to God for choosing Fr Stephen as His faithful son and humble servant. He has served in the Lord's vineyard for 50 golden years as a Salesian priest. We wish him "Ad Multos Annos".

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES’ GENERAL SECRETARY AT STS 12 February 2016, STS – Jerusalem Vladimir Plasek, SDB Rev. Dr. Olav FykseTveit, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches delivered a Conference to the STS community in Jerusalem. Dominic Kodwani, M.Afr.a student from Malawi, of the 2nd year of Theology, introduced the lecture about the World Council of Churches (WCC). It is the fellowship of Churches, which represents over 500 million Christians around the world with the intention of seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service. When the WCC came into being at the First Assembly in 1948, there were 147 member churches. At the end of 2013, the membership stood at 345 churches including most of the world's Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches. (cf. The WCC holds its assemblies every six to eight years. The First Assembly took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1948, and the 10th Assembly was convened at Busan, Republic of Korea, in 2013. Rev. Dr. William Russell, M.Afr. SThD, Professor and Academic Council member of the STS, introduced the guests. The main speaker, Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, an ordained pastor in the Church of Norway, has been the General Secretary of WCC from January 2010. He was the General Secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations throughout the years 2002-2009. Mr. Peter Kenny, a journalist and communications consultant for the WCC also participated. Dr. Tveit began his lecture by introducing the Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre (JIC), which facilitates, contacts, shares information and deliberation among Churches in Jerusalem, the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), WCC and specialized ministries with long

March 2016 | 10

involvement in the region. He set the basic question for the activities in this region: “How can we focus more on our mission by coming to the places connected to the life of Jesus Christ?” Experiencing the Palestinian war in 1948, which showed us how people can be torn apart, we are warned how churches can be driven apart, therefore: “We are committed to stay together”, said Dr. Tveit. We can offer the alternative message and link another dimension of the universal church. One of the main aims of establishing the WCC was to look for a new expression of the unity of the church. The Bishop from Oslo set the headline of the assembly “God unites, the enemy divides”. It was confirmed that this fellowship is not the creation of a new church. Although the Catholic Church is not a member of this fellowship, it participates through many local committees and has many active participants from the Catholic Church, like Rev. Fr. Frans Bowen, M.Afr.


The last General Assembly in 2013 decided not only to stay together but to move together. Dr. Tveit made a parallel with the message of the Pope Francis when he visited Cuba: “To be together on pilgrimage of justice and peace”, and suggested for all to be open- minded, to move with the reality of the world and not to stay closed to ourselves. In this “moving”, the WCC answers the world's challenge to be united together, in the sense not waiting until the solution will come from elsewhere. We, as Christians, are moving, and those who want to move with us are welcomed. One of the challenges is interfaith dialogue with those coming from mono-religious context, which is not a problem, but even a need for those who are coming from inter-religious context, while they “have to” live together with people from other religions. Dr. Tveit depicted the example of the development of the Church of Norway. Until 1952, the population of Norway was 95% Lutheran and was prohibited by law to allow other religions to enter in the country. There was an attempt to create a fellowship with the German churches and the Church of England and in 1970's there were many similar attempts to create a fellowship from the side of reformed churches, however, the theological understanding of unity was missing. Dr. Tveit was part of the process of uniting with Reformed church and the Pentecostal church. Already in 1845, when Norway was the poorest country in Europe, under the colonization of Sweden, it sent its first missionaries to South Africa. The blessing of this missionary movement was openness to other religions, because that was how it was in the missions. Rev. Tveit wrote to all Muslim communities in Norway to come together to start the dialogue. One of the themes was how as church to be a partner for Muslim immigrants, how the voice of church is called to participate in schools, how to deal with the service in the army and other matters. They set also controversial questions, like the conversion of faith. Here both sides agreed not to put any effort for

conversion of the other side in order to respect each other. The issue of the cartoon of prophet Mohamed shown as a terrorist was dealt by both sides and they claimed: there is freedom of the press, but this right has to be carried with respect to others, and finally all kind of violence of controversy was condemned. The critical constructive way of relating with the Muslim communities was a good example for the future dialogue among the churches. It showed that there is not isolated conflict in the world, now stressed much more in the new era of internet that followed. Today there is a fear from the arrival of migrants to Europe and the closing of boundaries to protect Christian values. The opposite opinion is to take care of them. We have to admit, that the world is changing, almost 1/5 of the population are migrants. The churches, as a part of the society, should contribute to this challenge showing their witness and avoiding exclusivity, but on the contrary they should find out how to shape the church with this new experience. We cannot blame history for what is happening today, but take the responsibility for the present challenges. WCC was criticized by evangelical churches 30 years ago, for being too political. Now it is admired for its work and help in social issues. 'Laudato Si' of Pope Francis, has encouraged all to take care of the present world, which has been for many years, the line of many activities of WCC. Dr. Tveit concluded his speech by describing a picture that he took from the church near the Chamonix, which depicted St. Francis and was made from the different colours into one mosaic. When he in the evening of the same day watched on TV the election of the new pope and his name was “Francis”, he understood that “one mosaic made from different parts” could be a direction in which we have to move. Fr. Biju Michael, the Principal, thanked Dr. Tveit and all participants. He concluded with the words of Jesus in the Scripture: “I pray that all be one”. 11 | March 2016


DEALING WITH THE CHALLENGE OF VIOLENCE IN RELIGIOUS TEXTS 24 February 2016, STS –Jerusalem Jarek Budny, SDB Wednesday, 24th of February was for the STS community a day of another lecture on Judaism. This time, our guest speaker was French born, Jewish scholar Daniel Frederic Gandus, involved in dialogue with Christianity. He made his presentation on the topic: ''Dealing with the challenge of violence in the religious text: How to change deadly texts in readings promoting life?''. Taking as a base some passages of the Old and New Testament, he presented the fact that in Scripture, there are sometimes some hidden things that can change our understanding that was derived from the literal meaning. A part of the talk focused on the way one should treat one's enemies in the light of the words of the Bible. Mr Gandus explained the rabbinic way in which the ancient practice of “eye for an eye” is interpreted. The judiciary decides a compensation for the violence suffered. This compensation is little less than what would be considered equivalent to the loss suffered by the victim, in order to tell the violent person that he/she will never be able to repay the harm caused. In interpreting violence and violent responses to atrocities, Mr Gandus tried to distinguish between

March 2016 | 12

violence that is barbaric and anti-civilization from other types of violence. He raised the question as to whether or not we should turn the cheek to violence that is anticivilization. In this context, he interpreted the 666 of Apocalypse, based on the Hebrew alphabets, as an unidentifiable perpetrator of violence that has to be dealt with. Although we could not get the answers to all the questions that arose in our minds, we can say that it is always interesting and thought provoking to listen to someone who looks at the same things from a different perspective.


TOPOGRAPHICAL VISIT TO MOUNT ZION 11 February 2016 STS– Jerusalem Mwampoteki Joseph, M. Afr. It was around 8.45 of 11th February 2016 when we, the first year students of the STS, started the Topographical Visit with our guide, Fr. Paul Vonck. We visited several places including St. Peter in Gallicantu, The Tomb of David, the Cenacle or Upper Room and Dormition Abbey. Our first visit was to St. Peter in Gallicantu. This is where Peter, the disciple of Jesus, denied Christ (Mt 26:33-35). It is a traditional holy place that was venerated for the first time during the crusaders' epoch. Under the crypt of the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu there is a cave like cistern that was used as a prison and it is traditionally believed that this is where Jesus was imprisoned during the night he was arrested. Just outside the pit/prison of Christ, there are first-century remains showing that there was an agricultural community inhabiting the place. Secondly, we visited the Tomb of King David and the Upper Room, or Cenacle. “Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, the teacher says, 'where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” (Mk 14:14-15) This room is venerated not only for the Last Supper meal, but also as the place where Christianity began because this is where Pentecost took place. The early Christians called the area around the Last Supper room, Mount Zion. This name was used by the Jewish community of the time referring to the Temple Mount. However, it was used even before the Temple, referring to the city of David. Today the burial place of King David is venerated just below the Last Supper room (many Jewish people pray there).

It is in this area, Mount Zion, where the mother of Jesus died. These major events happened at the village called Mount Zion at the epoch and which tells us that the village had Christians. Actually, the place is in the care of the German Benedictine Monks. There is a beautiful church called Dormition Abbey built by the Germans in the early 20th century. It is under this church that the death of Mary is venerated. The word Zion is now used to refer to one of the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem – the Zion Gate. It is situated at the South-East of the city. It is this gate which connects Dormition Abbey (Mount Zion) to the Old City. The gate has marks of bullets that struck the gate during the wars of the 20th century. We were all happy to visit and see where our origins as Christians began. Thanks to all the students who were present, and thanks also to Fr. Paul for helping us discover our history.

13 | March 2016



On 3rd of March 2016, the 1st year students of STS had their Topographical Visit to the Temple Mount and the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. We were given a detailed introduction and history of the site by Rev. Dr. Pol Vonck, M.Afr. the Chief Museum Director of the Missionaries of Africa. We began our voyage to the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock is located. The Dome of the Rock was initially completed in 691 AD by the fifth Umayyad Caliph 'Abd al-Malik. It is considered the third holiest place in Islam after the Ka'ba at Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, and is the second most important place of pilgrimage. Moreover, it is built over the highest part of Mount Moriah where Jews believe Abraham was prepared to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. The Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, is traditionally believed to have ascended into heaven from the site. The Dome's structure is rooted in Byzantine-Syrian architectural style and decorated with marble, mosaics, and metal plaques. The Christians in the Middle Ages believed the Dome of the Rock to be the Temple of Solomon. When the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099 they subsequently utilized the Dome of the Rock as a church until Saladin's army captured Jerusalem in 1187. Among the sites in the temple mount, Al-Aqsa Mosque (the Farthest Mosque) exhibits magnificent Islamic architecture. The mosque was originally a small prayer house built by the Rashidun caliph Umar, but was rebuilt and expanded by the Umayyad Caliph Abd alMalik. The Mosque was completely destroyed by earthquakes yet different Muslim dynasties rebuilt the mosque creating memorable history.

March 2016 | 14

After the historical visit to the Temple Mount, the students continued their visit to The Jerusalem Archaeological Park, formally known as the Davidson Centre. This archaeological park consists of remains from several periods of Jerusalem's illustrious history especially the second temple period. The site has several Jewish ritual baths (miqva'ot) used by Jews before entering the temple. The “Trumpeting place”, a stone that was hurled 40m down from atop the southwestern corner of the Temple mount by the Romans, which indicates the destruction of the second temple dated 70 AD. Furthermore, the inscription on the wall “And when ye see this your heart shall rejoice” believed to be inscribed by a medieval pilgrim. Robinson's Arch, which is named after the American Bible scholar Edward Robinson, supported a staircase that led to the Mount. Eventually, Fr. Pol gave a concise account of the staircase of the Hulda Gates leading to the gates in the southern wall of the Temple Mount. According to historians, this staircase was used by many early Jews to enter the Temple Mount. This marked the end of our topographical visit and we express our heartfelt gratitude to Fr. Pol for his wonderful guidance.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCURSION 4 February 2016, STS - Jerusalem Paolo Negrini, SDB

Once upon a time there was a young man, handsome and young, who, with only one swoop of a sling, shot down a giant of huge proportions. At this point, everyone will have already figured out of whom I am talking about! The biblical account of the battle between David and Goliath, between the cunning and the strong, between the outsider and the champion, was in fact the highlight of the first archaeological excursion, which Thursday 4th of February saw us engaged as students of the StudiumTheologicum Salesianum, under the grace of a bright sun. From the top of Tel Socho, with a look that encompassed the Valley of Terebinth or Elah, among red anemones and yellow daisies, we listened as an appetizer to an enriched day of hiking. The extraordinary story of the battle between Philistines on one side and Israelites on the other can be found in chapter 17 of the first book of Samuel. The battle then ended precisely with that magnificent shot from David. Staying there, facing a place so rich of simple treasures, imagining the details of a scene that made history, has also made possible for us to geographically revive a chapter of that Old Testament that needs to be narrated and experienced in order to be fully understood. But then again, that was just the beginning: once down from Tel Socho, also called the Hill of Lupins because of the distinctive flower that blooms in early spring, was a very important site in the Kingdom of Judah as forming a crossroads between the Shefela lowlands in the West and Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron in the mountainous East. We approached Tel Azeca, whose meaning, in the

language of the Canaanites who stationed here, apparently means “white”. In the Bible, it is said to be the place where Joshua defeated the Amorite kings, and their army was destroyed by a hailstorm. In the time of Saul, as we have seen, the Philistines massed their forces between Sokho and Azekah, putting forth Goliath as their champion. With Tel Azeca behind us, we walked east along a path that enabled us to reach Tel Shaarim, the third important fortified city overlooking the Valley of Terebinth. Despite the few but significant remains of this settlement, with the help of a little imagination, we could reconstruct the casemate walls protecting the city and its houses. Walking through the remains of yesterday's houses, we felt new inhabitants of this land that still, for those who know how to really listen, speaks of life. Weariness and hunger have brought us back to the present. The young forest offered us a shaded lunch and rest period. The site of lunch also indicated the next destination, Gath, the wine press and birthplace of Goliath. The climb at Tel Es-Safi (White Hill), was the most difficult but perhaps most rewarding, with a magnificent view from the top, from which our gaze could wander at 360°, expanding geographical and spiritual horizons, careful as it was to see some signs that announced the arrival of David fleeing from Saul to take refuge there. On the way back, we made the final stop at Beit Shemesh, the “house of the sun”. The name comes after the Canaanite deity, and was located in the territorial bounds of the tribe of Judah and mentioned in the 6th chapter of the first book of Samuel as being the first city encountered by the Ark of the Covenant on its way back from Philistia after having been captured by the Philistines in battle. 15 | March 2016

CREATIVE CORNER So, between imagined battles and ruins of ancient cities, we have come to the end of our walk, tired but aware of having traversed an extraordinary page in history, and having finally understood that history itself, even the biblical one, can really be defined as an illustrious war against time, because snatching the imprisoned years from its hand, indeed already corpses, recalls them back to life, browses them, and terraces them again into battle.

GOD FORGIVES WITH A CARESS, A HUG, A FEAST: READING MYSELF IN A PARABLE OF MERCY 7 March 2016, STS – Jerusalem Paolo Negrini, SDB Thanks to the Year of Mercy, in the past few months I have had many occasions to reflect upon my intimate relationship with God, as a son looking at his father. What follows here are some simple thoughts resulting from my ongoing meditation on the parable of the merciful father, a parable which according to me, is the very treasure of the Gospel of Jesus. A father had two sons‌ Every time this beginning, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, seems simple and marvelous, the parable fascinates me, as if something important is going to happen again. No page like this in the world reaches the very structure of our life with God, with ourselves, with others. I love the prodigal son. The prodigal is history: history of a wounded humanity still on its way to learn more about the heart of the Father. He leaves one day, the youngest, in search for himself, looking for happiness. The house is not enough; his father and brother are not enough. Maybe his rebellion is nothing but a prelude to a declaration of love. How many times the rebels are in reality just love seekers. He seeks happiness in things, but realizes that things have a bottom and that the bottoms of those things are empty. The prodigal son finds himself one day feeding the pigs: the free rebel became a servant, arguing over the food with the beasts. Then he returns in himself, says the story, called by a dream of bread. There are people in the world so hungry that for them God can only have the form of bread. He does not go back for love, he goes back because he is hungry. The father seems to not care about the reason why his son comes back, if for hunger or love, for fear or true repentance: for him it is sufficient that he starts his journey to go back. Man walks, God runs. Man begins his journey, God has already arrived. In fact, his father, having seen him from far away, ran up to him ... And he forgives him even before he could open his mouth, with a love, which anticipates repentance, with a love which transforms his heart of slave in a heart of son. For the time of

March 2016 | 16

CREATIVE CORNER mercy is the advance. He had prepared an apology, the boy, still knowing nothing about his father. God, who forgives not by a decree, but with a caress, with a hug, with a feast, is the essence of mercy. Without looking anymore to the past, without rehashing what has been, but creating and proclaiming a new future. Where the world says “lost”, God says “found”; where the world says “finished”, God says “reborn”.

And there is no scolding, no remorse and no regrets. The Father finally comes out to beg the eldest son, struggling with the unhappiness that comes from an insincere heart, a heart of a servant and not of a son, and he tries to explain and make himself understood, loved. A father who is not just, he is more: he is love, only love. Then God is so… so extreme, so much, so exaggerated. Yes, the God in whom we believe is like this: an immense revelation for which Jesus will give his life.

NECESSITY AND RELEVANCE OF PRAYER 15 March 2016, STS - Jerusalem Richard Mwenya Mulenga. M.Afr.

In a world where many things cannot work without the use of fuel, electricity, batteries and many other sophisticated appliances, life becomes difficult and seems impossible to live and progress. When we take an example of a power cut in a country or a province, many things come to a standstill and workers stop to wait for the electricity. This is similar in the case of a car. Once it runs out of fuel or diesel it cannot move unless we put some fuel. Another evident example is our phones, once the recharge credit is finished we cannot communicate. Hence this may be applied in a similar way to our prayer life. A Christian who does not pray is like a car without fuel or a cell phone without recharge credit. Prayer is a driving energy in the life of a Christian, it is the means of communicating with God. Having seen how necessary many of the material things have become nowadays as mentioned above, it is fitting and right to say that prayer is necessary and relevant in our daily life as followers of Christ. For if we neglect prayer in our lives we will remain like cars without fuel or cell phones without recharge credit. Prayer is necessary and relevant in our lives, because to pray is to find a heart within us and to make it alert to listen to God who communicates to us in each and every moment of our lives. We pray to stand firm and to let the prayer help us to say a firm yes to God's call. A prayer life lived in honesty, humility and sincerity manifests to others our inner most selves and it fosters good and healthy relationships with them and with God. A prayer life lived in this way leads us to work with God in our responsibilities instead of working for God; it leads us to pray with God and “waste” our time with Him. This way of praying will lead us to letting God take His place as God in our lives, as St. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

In life, as followers of Christ, we are invited to live in a committed prayer life. It is through this commitment that our relationships with God and with our brothers and sisters are strengthened and deepened. Once we know and take prayer as necessary and relevant in our lives, we will be then true Disciples of Christ. I would like to end with a prayer based on St. Paul's prayer in his letter to the Ephesians 3:14-21: “We pray kneeling before our Father from whom every fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its name. In the abundance of His glory, may He through His spirit, enable us to grow firm in power with regard to our inner selves, so that Christ may live in our hearts through faith, and then planted in love and built on love with all God's holy people, we will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth, so that knowing the love of Christ which is beyond knowledge, we may be filled with the utter fullness of God. Glory be to Him whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” 17 | March 2016


MARY AND HUMILITY 15 March 2016, STS – Jerusalem Vladimir Plasek, SDB During the period of Church Fathers, when there was no official teaching of the Church on Mary’s sinlessness, some claimed that Mary was sinless (Augustine, Ambrose, Ephraem), others saw some glances of unbelief or doubt, for example at Christ's passion (Origen, Basil, Cyril of Alexandria). In 1854, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary was declared. We believe that she is free from original sin, from every personal sin and also from concupiscence, the consequence of the original sin. Mary is holy “χαιρεκεχαριτωμενη” (Lk 1:28). Western theology emphasizes the moral aspect to Mary's perfection, the Eastern theology her holiness as being and gift. What does the encounters between Jesus and Mary reveal to us? Hafner in The Mystery of Mary explains all words of Jesus to Mary in positive light. “Why have you done this to us?” (Lk 2:49), Mary's why reveals her love for Jesus. "Woman, my hour has not come yet." (Jn 2:4), Mary spoke to Jesus with simplicity, entrusting the problem to him. “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice." (Lk 8:21), Mary is presented as the model of listening to the Word of God and of generous docility, the nobility of Mary's conduct and closeness to humanity. “More blessed still are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” (Lk 11:28), Mary's blessedness lays precisely in her perfect submission to the divine word. Von Balthasar in To The Heart of the Mystery of Redemption suggests that the faith of Mary is not that kind as in the prophets, to become hardened against all the adversities (Jer 1:18), but she is submitted to all humiliations, to feel them, to accept them like the sword that is to pierce her heart. Therefore she is humiliated at the finding of Jesus in the Temple, at Cana, where she is dismissed, at the time of her visit, when she is not even received, when the woman in the crowd bless “breasts

that you sucked” (Lk 11:27) and Jesus turns attention away from her. After all rejections she will be ready to hear at the foot of Cross the last word of her Son, perhaps the hardest: “Woman, behold your son” (Jn 19:26). In becoming the mother of a disciple, she enters into an intimate relationship with the ecclesiastical hierarchy. How do we reconcile both positions? Maybe we can learn from both. From Haffner that Mary was always in the intimate union with God and from Von Balthasar that the Christian humility is learned in no other way than by formal and repeated humiliations, the attitude that Mary, the handmaid of the Lord, is the best example for us. As we are approaching this Easter when there will be several occasions to encounter Jesus, let us ask the Veiled woman at the foot of Cross, for creating intimate union with Him and for the gift of humility, that we can learn from Him.

STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE 15 March 2016, STS – Jerusalem Dn. Carmel Myrthong, SDB In life, most people travel their journey from birth to death just as the wind blows their way, without much effort to change and improve. There are others who change their life by way of hard work. Being born into a rich family, in a developed country or with sufficient facilities to grow does not guarantee that one will excel (continued on page 19) March 2016 | 18


WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF STUDYING THEOLOGY? 10 March 2016, STS – Jerusalem Dn. John Christopher Lourduswamy, SDB

If Pentateuch does not help me to keep God's Law If Historical books do not make me a just king in present life If Wisdom literature does not make me wise If Prophets do not challenge me to be heralds of Good News today If Synoptic Gospels do not reincarnate in me another Christ If Johannine writings do not make another beloved disciple If Paul's Epistles do not help me write a living testimony to the Church today If Catholic letters do not impel me write a letter that testify law, prophet and Good News to the corners of the world If study of Trinity does not train me to be an agent of communion If Christology does not produce another Christ in me and thorough me; many Christ If Mariology does not create in me a dwelling place to shelter Jesus, If Anthropology does not actualize my vocation to become fully human to become filled with divine If Patrology does not make me to revitalize ancient wisdom If Church history does not make me to leave a legacy in the History of tomorrows' Church If Sacraments do not help me to bring life in the Church and to his people If Archaeology does not help me to smell, feel and find Jesus in His Land If Moral Theology does not make a morally balanced priest If Catechetics do not catechize me and others If Canon Law does not direct my action within the parameter that the Church sets forth If Judaism does not trace my faith's root If Islam does not make in me a Jihadist of loving neighbor as myself If Ecumenism does not emulate in me a profound respect for my brothers’ belief as he perceives If Eschatology does not elevate my life style as preparation for eternal life If Salesiana does not produce another Don Bosco What is the use of studying Theology! I discovered Theology is not an intellectual pregnancy alone, it is delivering God in my word and deed to the people who seek to understand Him (God)… Theology = Discovering God in me and in Neighbour whilst loving Him above all…

(continued from page 18)

and reach the height of success. However, success and excellence can be achieved through hard work and discipline. There are no short cuts to excellence; only hard work can take us to the top. This applies to all forms of life, be it in business, studies or sports - all have to strive for the best to reach the desired goal. Therefore, to achieve our aim in life, we need to work hard. On the way

to success, it is sure that we will have to give up certain enjoyments and temporary satisfactions. But if we are able to do this, we will reap a harvest of true joy at the end of our journey of hard work. Let us strive for excellence. As the saying goes, "aim for the stars and lofty mountains will be yours".

19 | March 2016

For admission and other details kindly contact:

EDITORIAL BOARD Adam DuprĂŠ Vladimir Plasek James Raj Richard Mulenga Angela Ridout

Studium Theologicum Salesianum Salesian Pontifical University, Faculty of Theology Jerusalem Campus 26 Rehov Shmuel Hangid, P.O.Box 7336 91072 Jerusalem - Israel /

2016 STS March Issue  

Salesian Pontifical University - Jerusalem Campus

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you