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Vol IV, No.1, 2016


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STS Newsletter 1


Blessed Christmas &

Happy New Year - 2017

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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



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 February-June). 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 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.






Happy Christmas! What is there to be happy? Christmas, the feast of the Incarnation of Jesus, recalls the descent of the Son of God as man. Why does he descend as man? God descends to re-ascend, taking us along with him. He is born to save us. That is the reason for the happiness. The angels announce, “… behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:10-12). In his book Miracles, C. S. Lewis uses two great images of how Jesus descends to ascend as our Saviour. The first is of a man who stoops low to pick up a weight. “One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.” The second image he gives is of a person who dives deep into the water to retrieve something precious. “Or one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to colour and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover.” “God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him,” says St. John (1 Jn 4:9). He plunged into the depths to save us. St. Peter reminds us of this when he tells us that we have been redeemed not by some perishable stuff, but by the precious blood of Christ (cf. 1 Pt 1:18-19; see also Acts 20:28). Inspired by St. Paul who tells us that God did not spare his own son but gave him for us (cf. Rom 8:32), Bonhoeffer calls the Incarnation “costly grace”. This grace has saved us and lifted us up. The apostles preached the Good News, namely the incarnate Word of God, whom they had seen with their eyes and touched with their hands so that “our joy may be complete” (cf. 1 Jn 1:1-4). Because Jesus has raised us up in him, our names are now written in heaven and we can rejoice (cf. Lk 10:20). There is reason to rejoice even in the middle of winter. So, Happy Christmas! Disciples are called to imitate the master. If Jesus descended in order to ascend, taking us along with him, we too are called to descend so as to lift up our fellow beings. Like the strong man stooping low in order to lift up a load, like the diver who plunges into the unknown depths to retrieve those at the bottom, we too are called to make of our lives a blessing for others. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35) and “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). Christmas is a call to die to ourselves that others may have life, just as Christ incarnated and died for us so that we may have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). Let us spread the joy of Christmas in word and in deed.

Rev.Dr. Biju Michael, SDB

President / Principal Studium Theologicum Salesianum

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OPENING OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2016-2017 Jerusalem, 14 September 2016 Hervé Tougma, M.Afr

to acquire Wisdom and Wisdom of the Cross. In his speech, Fr. William used the theory of the mind of Karl Popper, a philosopher, to lead us into an understanding of how to do Theology. Karl Popper talks first of all about the bucket theory of the mind which he rejects before reaching the theory of the search-light which he finds best. He said that the mind of the student should not be considered as an empty bucket, used as a receptacle by the teacher who comes to pour his wisdom in order to fill it. Rather the mind should be a search-light for it leads us to search and deal with issues and challenges given that we are problem solving animals philosophically speaking.


o you Lord we come to seek for Wisdom! Today the Studium Theologicum Salesianum (STS) Jerusalem Campus of the Salesian Pontifical University opened its door for the New Academic Year 2016-17. We were honoured by the presence of the New Custos of the Holy Land, the Rev Fr. Francesco Patton, who led us in prayer to invoke God’s help and assistance as we come to seek understanding of our faith to serve His people. During the celebration of the Word, Rev Fr. Francesco Patton drew our attention to the link between the Exaltation of the Cross and the Academic Year which is based on the topic of Wisdom. As we come to look for Wisdom and Truth in our Theological Studies, the Cross remains the only source of Wisdom for us to move from the Alpha to the Omega. With true Love of Wisdom, we come to love and follow the King who loves his Cross. Thus in forgetting ourselves, we set off to reach true joy, true Wisdom, and true Love in the Lord. Fr. Francesco ended with a great wish for each one of the attendants: “May the Wisdom of the Cross guide you during this Academic Year and your whole life!”

After the opening talk, the Registrar of the STS, Sr. Angela Ridout, gave a report of the last Academic Year 2015-2016. Being reminded of the different events, assemblies, activities and conferences lived in the last academic year, helped us prepare ourselves to face the challenges of this new academic year. The ceremony continued with the welcoming and presentation of the 12 new students (of whom 2 are diploma students) and 2 new lecturers, by Fr. Eric John Wyckoff, SDB. He helped us realize that for this academic year the STS has a total of 58 Students and 27 professors coming from 38 nations (the students are from 30 different nations while the professors are from 16 nations). Two new staff members have also joined us for the courses of Canon Law and others will join in the coming days.

The Principal, Rev Fr. Biju Michael, SDB, welcomed all to the New Academic year dedicated to learning here in Jerusalem. And he continued to invite us to prepare our minds for growth; growth of the mind and faith of each individual member of the STS. In keeping with the tradition, Fr. Biju announced the award for the Ordinary Student of the 3rd year and also of those who Following the celebration of the Word, after a period got the highest average in the second and first year. of fraternity over snacks, we gathered in the Don Bosco hall for the second part of the day’s programme. On behalf of the Ratisbonne Salesian community the rector, Fr. Andrew Wong, SDB, welcomed all the staff members and students to the Ratisbonne Monastery and the STS Jerusalem Campus. Then we proceeded with the opening speech given by Rev Dr. William Russel, M.Afr. The focus of the talk was: Why do we study Theology? And drawing a link with the homily of Rev Fr. Francesco, the answer is

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Upon calling their names, they were all rewarded and congratulated as we wished them perseverance in the years to come. The award for highest marks in the third year was won by Paul Chu, SDB. In the second year, the highest average was shared by Andrea Lupi, SDB, and Jaroslaw Budny, SDB. In the first year, the highest average was scored by Jude Fernando, SDB. The Principal took the opportunity to make some announcements for this academic year, during which he also mentioned that the focus of special lectures on Wednesday afternoons will be on Islam. He concluded with a quotation from Jr. 14:18: “If I walk out into the field, look those slain by the sword!; If I enter the city, look victims of famine! Both prophet and priest ply their trade in a land they do not know.” Using this passage, he brought to our attention the danger we can face when we go out as priests in reference to the prophet and priest who lack true knowledge. Therefore, as priests and religious, if we do not aspire for the gifts of knowledge, understanding and wisdom, we will fail

to contribute properly to the life of faith of those we are called to serve. Following all the sharing and invitation, on behalf of the Salesian University UPS, and the academic council, the Principal, Rev. Fr. Biju Michael, declared the Academic Year 2016-2017 opened. The time has come for the students and professors to play their part for another academic year together!

Sermon by Fr. Francesco Patton OFM, Custos Terrae Sanctae Dear Brothers and Sisters, May the Lord give you peace! Today is a special day, because we are opening the Academic Year on the liturgical feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in the City where the Lord Jesus Christ was historically exalted on the Cross, giving his life for our redemption. What is the link between the opening of the academic year and the exaltation of the Holy Cross? I think it is the topic of wisdom. Why do we study theology or any other science? Because we are looking for wisdom and truth. And we know that looking for wisdom and truth is looking for the deep meaning of our life, of the world in which we are living, and of the history that flows from her alpha toward her omega point. And when we are looking at the Holy Cross we are looking at the only source of wisdom! A wisdom that is truth and love and power at the same time, as the apostle St. Paul writes in his letters. Even to the eyes of the world it is foolishness and weakness. In the Holy Cross the wisdom of love shines in a sublime way. As Pope Francis said to young people on Palm Sunday three years ago: “Dear young people! Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves, in giving ourselves, in emerging from ourselves that we have true joy and that, with his love, God has conquered evil… You carry it [the Cross] so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace”. So, at the beginning of your academic year, I wish that each of you can reach this kind of wisdom: the wisdom of the Cross, the wisdom of true love, the wisdom that makes you feel loved by God who gave his only Son for all of you, for every one of us. I wish that this wisdom will guide you in the present and in the future, when you will be called to be pastors and educators: without the wisdom of the Cross, without the wisdom of love and giving themselves it is impossible to carry on a pastoral care ministry and an educational service. So may the wisdom of the Cross guide you and us during this year, and during all our life. May it be so.

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DIES ACADEMICUS 2016-2017 Jerusalem, 8 October, 2016 John Gerard Langan and Vladimir Plasek, sdb


n October 8 2016, the Salesian Pontifical University –Jerusalem Campus, held the annual Dies Academicus. Rev. Prof. Francis Moloney SDB, S.T.D., D.Phil (Oxon), D. Univ (ACU), world renowned author and scripture scholar, Professorial Fellow at Australian Catholic University, Former Dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at Catholic University of America, delivered the Lectio Magistralis on “The Word of God, Jesus Christ, and the Eucharist. Christian Hope in a Secularized World”. The guests of honor in attendance were His Excellency Most Reverend Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, His Lordship Most Reverend William H. Shomali, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, His Lordship Most Reverend Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, and Reverend Dr. Mauro Mantovani

SDB, Rector of the Salesian Pontifical University. The Dies Academicus opened with the hymn “Per Crucem” sung by the STS choir. Next, Deacon Chege, the master of ceremonies, invited Reverend Prof. Mauro Mantovani, University to deliver his address. He emphasized the relevance of recognizing Theology and its importance among the other sciences, in order to bring about a truer cultural vision of man and woman being made in the image and likeness of God. Finally, Rev. Dr. Mauro Mantovani called on Professor Pier Gorgio Gianazza, sdb, to present the honoured guests with a copy of his new book about St. Mariam Baouardy. His Excellency Most Reverend Giuseppe Lazzarotto, spoke next about not forgetting the gift of the Holy Spirit that we have been given in our vocation as we continue our formation in theology. He based his idea on Pope Francis’s reflection on Paul’s letter to the Galatians. He also stressed the importance of uniting our theological studies with our prayer life. After introducing Fr. Maloney’s extensive background by Fr. Eric Wyckoff, Prof. Moloney began the Lectio Magistralis. In his introductory remarks, he pointed out that in the heart of Christian life is love. The first Christians were an alternative

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voice in the society, they cared for one another and so they spread rapidly in the Roman Empire. Similarly nowadays, we must bear an alternative voice within our contemporary and increasingly fragmented world which develops distrust of “great truths.” Many people ignore the challenges of a secular world, rather than surrender themselves to one meaningful tradition; they combine fragments of an ever incomplete and temporary fashion into an unfinished whole – a collage identity. However, it would be a failure to repeat the same processes from our past, because there is so much good in society that is not simply a continuation of the “good things” of our past. In previous times, people used to follow principles, moved from head to heart. Nowadays, we tend to move from heart to head, seeking experiences that form our principles for the future. Pope Francis in Misericordiae Vultus, calls all believers to generate a culture in which especially young people, arrive at lifedetermining decisions through positive experiences that begin with the heart. The secularized world calls for an “education of the heart.” Prof. Moloney highlighted the most important aspects of the following essential themes: The centrality of the Word of God, the Christ-centered spirituality (see Acts 11:26) and the Eucharist.

Through the history of more structured Church and councils, we have exchanged incredible familiarity with the Word of God, which was a characteristic of the Apostolic Fathers, for the opinion that the Revelation found in the Catholic Tradition was superior to the Revelation found in the Bible. Although the Second Vatican Council asked all Catholics to rediscover the original “sources” of their faith and practice, and some fifty years later Pope Benedict XVI called for rediscovery of God’s Word in the life of the Church as a wellspring of constant renewal, it seems that there is only little impact on the day-to-day life of the Church. Bishops and Religious Superiors have more important things to do than lead us through an intense biblical renewal.

NEWS 8 STS Newsletter who do not love him in the same way that he makes God known. The new understanding and practice of Eucharist in the light of the Word of God will lead us to connect the Eucharistic mystery with Reconciliation, to accept that we are sinners.

The key to a Christ-centered spirituality is to realize, that what is deepest within us, what overwhelms us, but at the same time determines us, that we are radically opened to, is “the transcendent“. We yearn for the divine home, for which we were created. It is in our humanity that we are in touch with the divine, because it is something which Jesus shared with us. We are all capable of repeating the life-style of Jesus of Nazareth because we have been graced with discipleship, yet we often betray our true selves and do not recognize our dignity. Jesus, not without fear, accepted suffering and God the Father raised him from death. Today we are called to reflect more deeply on the opportunity we have, as convinced Christians, to present the face of God, made known to us in and through Jesus, in our confused and confusing world. The Eucharist in the Synoptic Gospels is given as a broken body for broken people, namely betrayers and sinners. For John, the washing of the feet is a symbol of Baptism, and the gift of the morsel is a symbol of Eucharist. Both are portraits of God’s incredible love for his failing disciples. Christ loves his own “to the end” (Jn 13, 1) and the reason is: “… so that when they happen, then you may believe that I AM HE” (Jn 13, 18). It is precisely in this crazy self-gift in love to others

As a profound biblical scholar, Prof. Moloney explained the experience of the two disciples going to Emmaus, which took place on the same day as the Resurrection (cf. Lk 24, 1-51). The whole of Luke’s Gospel has been directed towards this “day.” They are walking away from Jerusalem, away from God’s saving story. Jesus, the risen one “walks with” them, but they do not recognize him. They know of his life and teaching, they know of his death, they know of the events at the tomb, they have even heard the Easter proclamation. They know everything, but they do not understand the significance of these events. Jesus makes for them the “liturgy of the Word,” he opens the Word of God for them. Now they take the initiative: “Stay with us for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent,” (Lk 24, 29) and at the meal they recognize him in the breaking of the bread. The failing disciples turn back on their journey and return to Jerusalem. In the concluding remarks, Prof. Moloney highlighted the guidelines for hope in a secularized world: contemplate God in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures, recognize our need for God, welcoming his reconciling and nourishing presence in his Sacraments along our journey. We do not walk alone. Jesus of Nazareth is with us. Even in our failures, he leads us home. The words of thanks after the lecture were given by Fr. Karol Kulpa, sdb and the words of thanks to all those participating were delivered by Sr. Angela, SJA, the STS registrar and secretary.

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INDUCTION PROGRAMME FOR NEW STUDENTS Jerusalem, 9 September 2016 Rodil Padilla Lladones, SDB


oday the new theology students of the Salesian Pontifical University, Faculty of Theology – Jerusalem Campus had their induction programme at the STS Academic Suite. Rev. Dr Biju Michael, SDB, STS President welcomed the new students and introduced to the assembly the speaker of the day. The incoming first year students come from different parts of the world (North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe). Among the students, eight are Salesians of Don Bosco, two from the White Fathers Congregation, one from the diocese of Munich Germany and one religious sister. Fr. Andrew Wong, SDB, Rector of the Salesian Monastery in Ratisbonne, welcomed and delivered a short inspirational message to the new students regarding the importance of studying theology in connection to the real situation of the society. After which, Rev. Sr. Angela Ridout, SJA, STS Registrar asked the new students to introduce themselves to the assembly. She then provided the list of necessary requirements and documents for enrolment in the university.

Rev. Fr. Lionel Goh, OFM, presented a brief history of the Holy Land. Fr. Lionel offered to the new students some important and significant information regarding the past and the present situation both for the religious and political facets of the Holy Land. The new students were both challenged and awed by the talk of Fr. Lionel. Then, the assembly had a short break where some refreshments were served which was immediately followed by a photo shoot around the campus which was facilitated by Bro. Matthew, a third year theology student. Then, Rev. Dr Biju Michael, SDB STS President, facilitated the final hour of the induction programme. Fr. Biju began by sharing the life of St. John Bosco as seminarian studying theology and later as founder of one of the most renowned Catholic Religious Congregations all over the world to stress the

theme “As the Seminarian, so the Priest”. Likewise, Fr. Biju presented to the new students the notion of Spirituality of study. This spirituality requires discipline, hard work and grace. The conclusion of his talk was dedicated to presenting a general view of the curriculum of the Faculty of Theology, the academic authorities of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, the staff and members of the faculty of the Jerusalem Campus and the diploma courses offered by the campus to both ordinary and extraordinary students. He also gave words of encouragement in order for each new student to better appreciate this wonderful and precious opportunity of studying theology in the Holy Land. The orientation ended with a short prayer led by Fr. Biju.

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MASS IN THE HOLY SEPULCHER Jerusalem, 13 September 2016 Maximilian Mages


n the morning of Monday September 12, 2016, the new students of the STS celebrated the Holy Mass at 7 a.m. in the Holy Sepulchre, one of the Christians’ holiest sites in the entire world, the very tomb where Jesus Christ was laid and resurrected. Before entering the tomb Fr. Biju Michael, SDB, the Principal, gave us directions, using a small model of the inside of the tomb to explain where we could stand and the particular parts of the tomb to look out for once we are inside. He also exhorted us to ask God’s grace for the next four years as we complete our initial formation and prepare for our priestly ordination and for other ministries in the Church. Rev. Jaroslav Rochowiak, SDB, the Secretary General of the Salesian Pontifical University, was our main celebrant. Though the size of the burial room could not accommodate our entire group, yet we each had an opportunity to venerate the burial stone while Fr. Rochowiak and Fr. Biju led us in the celebration of the Holy Mass. We listened to the Gospel according to John about the account of the two disciples rushing to the tomb and finding it empty, with the burial cloth rolled up separately. Listening to this Gospel on the location where this actually took place was an

incredible experience. It was a blessing to be able to lift up in prayer all our confreres, family, and friends both deceased and living at the very tomb of Jesus. Later that same morning we gathered outside the STS offices, and with the help of Sr. Angela Ridout, SJA, the Registrar, we completed our enrollment forms as students at the Salesian Pontifical University Faculty of Theology Jerusalem Campus that would be sent off to Rome, Italy. As we continue to settle into our new surroundings, we will surely continue to look back and remember this day throughout our studies.

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ASSEMBLY OF THE TEACHING STAFF Jerusalem, 13 September 2016 Sr. Angela Ridout, SJA

The name of the chief Guest for the Dies Academicus on the 8th October for this year was announced, Rev. Prof. Francis J. Moloney, SDB, AM, FAHA, the worldrenown scholar of Johannine literature. Updates on the approval of the new curriculum were discussed, also financial matters, especially concerning the online Diploma project. Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, M.Afr. concluded the meeting at 11.30am, with a prayer of blessing on the new academic year.

MASS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT Jerusalem, 5 October 2016 Samuel Sorie Sesay, SDB


he members of the STS Teaching Staff gathered at 9.30am in the STS Academic Suite. After a prayer led by Fr. Stephen Kuncherakatt, SDB, the Minutes were read by Sr. Angela Ridout, SJA, the Registrar. Then the Secretary General from UPS, Fr. Jaroslaw Rochowiak, SDB, addressed the assembly.

oday the students and lecturers of the various Catholic Theological institutions in Jerusalem gathered for the Mass of the Holy Spirit to invoke the blessings of God on the new academic year 2016-17. It was a moment of thanksgiving to Almighty God for bringing us together safely after the summer break and for blessing us with new lecturers and students.

The Principal, Fr. Biju Michael, SDB, welcomed the new teaching staff and shared information on the new admissions. He then led us through the agenda, looking at the calendar and the major events for the year. Goals and plans were discussed, especially the theme for the year, ‘Islam’.

The Mass was celebrated at St. Saviour parish church in the old city of Jerusalem with about 52 priests around the main celebrant, Rev Fr. Francesco Patton, the Custos of the Holy Land. The readings of the celebration were fitting for this occasion. The First reading was taken from Galatians 2:1-2.7-14 and the Gospel was from Luke 11:1-4. The Custos, in his homily, drew lessons from the Gospel text for the study of theology: The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.

NEWS 12 STS Newsletter Jesus in his divine wisdom taught them the “Our Father.” Hence, the Custos pointed out that it is a reminder of how the teaching and study of theology should be done; that the study of theology should lead to an authentic and profound relationship with the God of Jesus Christ - the Almighty Father whom Jesus taught his disciples to pray to and go to in times of needs and difficulties. He also stated that, like the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray, students of theology should likewise establish a relationship based on dialogue with the lecturers so as to attain that which is central to the study of theology. Therefore, there is a twofold interplay: the students, by creating this relationship of trust with the lecturers, should allow themselves to be guided by the lecturers; and the lecturers should in turn be enthused and challenged by the interactive dialogue with the students. After the solemn Mass we had some refreshment and time to chat with professors, colleagues and friends, sharing experiences of the summer vacation with old friends, as well as making new ones.

STS FRIENDLY MATCH WITH BETHLEHEM ORATORY TEAM Bethlehem, 26 October, 2016 Erastus Nduati Chege, SDB


t was joy and fun at Beit Jala seminary soccer stadium as STS soccer team for the first time, since it was officially constituted, faced the Bethlehem Oratory team. The friendly match was organized by Fr. Vincent Raj John Bosco, SDB, the Director of the Salesian oratory in Bethlehem. Everybody was excited and ready as the match kicked off at 6.30pm. Each team was qualitatively constituted and took their skills into action. In the first half the STS took control of the game but unfortunately the Bethlehem oratory sneaked in a goal that shook the STS. Thus ended the first half, 1-0 for the Bethlehem Oratory. Up on their toes, the STS tactfully scored their first goal by Samuel Sesay, SDB, in the beginning of the second half, by dribbling through their defenders. Within a short time he did it again and had the STS leading

2-1. Then the game became tough as both the teams fought to win and defend at the same time, meanwhile the Bethlehem team made a goal making it 2-2. The STS was in control of the game however, that made it tough for their opponent who struggled and wanted to score a goal by all means. Things changed for the STS as their goal keeper Samwel Severin Sagut, SDB, was injured and had to be substituted by David Vernon Lushibashi, SDB. Towards the very last minute, Bethlehem Oratory got a free kick that helped them score a leading goal. Bethlehem Oratory team won against STS 3-2. Later, speaking to the captains and players of both the teams, they appreciated all the game as both sides accepted that it was challenging for them to make goals. Both the teams look forward for more matches to come. All had snacks together at the end of the game organized by the Bethlehem Oratory. We congratulate our STS team under the leadership of their captains Hervé Tougma, M.Afr. and Vernon Lushibashi, SDB.

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VISIT TO YESHURUN SYNAGOGUE & SHALOM HARTMAN INSTITUE Jerusalem, 28 September 2016 Samwel Severin Sagut, SDB


n the afternoon of 28th September 2016, the new students of the STS had a chance to visit Yeshurun Central Synagogue and Shalom Hartman Institute. Dr. Marcie Lenk, the Director of the Christian Leadership Programme at Shalom Hartman Institute was the guide for the whole visit. We started our visit in the Yeshurun Central Synagogue, Dr. Lenk explained to the students about the history of the Synagogue, the features as well as the mode of liturgical celebration. From Yeshurun Central Synagogue we went to the Shalom Hartman Institute, where Dr. Marcie Lenk works. We had the privilege of seeing a Torah Scroll, which is used in this particular community. Before we left, Dr. Marcie Lenk chanted a few verses from the Torah.



rof. Moloney was introduced by another biblical scholar, Fr. Andrzej Toczyski, sdb. In his lecture, Prof. Malony pointed out that the five chapters, Jn 1317, form one quarter of the whole Gospel of John. It is a story, a narrative that was put together with some theological intention. Jn 13 begins with love, ends with love and in the middle, it introduces the theme

of glory. Jn 17 begins with the glory, ends with glory and the theme of love. The whole narrative Jn 13-17 is revolving around the themes of glory and love, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you,” (Jn 15, 12-17) surrounded by the theme of abiding of the disciple in Jesus Christ (Jn 15, 1-10) and the theme of the hatred and persecution of Christians, which indicates the larger world of the Johannine community (Jn 15, 8-16, 4). The Gospel was written for those who had no physical experience of the Risen Christ and were regretting it. The glory of God in the Old Testament, kabod, is always associated with visible experienced realities, like crossing the Red See, desert or fire. For John, glory is manifested in love, but not in easy love, but in the love identified with the cross. The Cross, that has to be “lifted up” in exaltation in order to reach the highest point of a self-gift for others. Jesus made God known by drawing people into this dynamic of the Cross, to love as Jesus loved, so the mission can continue. This is doxa, the glory of God, as well as the way love comes in, concluded Prof. Moloney.

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GUIDED VISIT TO YESHIVA SCHOOL Kibbutz Maàale Gilboa, 28 Nov, 2016 Vladimir Plasek, SDB


oday the STS offered to its students a wonderful occasion to visit the Yeshiva school situated in the Kibbutz called Ma’ale Gilboa in southern Galilee. Dr. Marcie Lenk facilitated the visit. It was a unique and rare meeting between Catholic Students and Yeshiva students. This particular Yeshiva school is unique in that it combines the 1-3 years of Torah study with 3 years of army service. Mt. Gilboa is mentioned in the second book of Samuel: “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa; and there was Saul leaning on his spear, while the chariots and the horsemen drew close to him.” (2Sam 1,6). The Kibbutz Ma’ale Gilboa compounds

around 150 families. The Yeshiva school is on a small hill inside the Kibbutz. There are around 150, mostly post high- school students, modern orthodox Jews, coming here to dedicate their time to the study of Torah and to grow in their faith. Around 20 of them were from North America, the rest from Israel. They are free to include in their study plan subjects connected to philosophy or other areas. The basic study of Torah is common to all. After the reception and coffee, we started with the first part of our visit. We gathered, around 50 STS students with those 20 American students from Yeshiva school and started an interactive lecture led by Rabbi Yossef Slotnik. He read a verse from the book of Ecclesiastes 11:6 followed by three stories

by different Rabbis. The discussion on each of those stories brought new insights on the topic of lecture: “Charity, the Impact of intention on actions” and enriched all participants. Then the STS students continued with clarifications and questions guided by Dr. Marcie Lenk. We tackled a variety of topics: the way of study wherein by asking questions we reveal the answers; comparing the modern critical study with the traditional interpretation in Judaism; the origin of Kibbutz; the concept of salvation in Judaism; and the Yeshiva seminary life. After the lunch with students, the next part of our program was the Havruta text study on the theme: “Studying Torah as a Religious Experience”. We spent 45 minutes reading and analysing the texts from the Old Testament in small groups consisting of STS students together with the Yeshiva students. Finally, we made a short walk around the kibbutz, seeing the local hospital, milk production and wind power plant. After the words of thanks, we set on the way back to the STS full of new friendships, new discoveries and new insights in the dialogue between Jews and Christians.

ISLAM FOCUS STS Newsletter 15

THE DOME OF THE ROCK AND AL AQSA MOSQUE Jerusalem, 13 October, 2016 Vladimir Plasek, SDB

the Al Aqsa compound. In 638, Omar began with building a small mosque in the Temple Mount and in 685 Caliph Abd el Malik entrusted to Byzantine Christians the building of the Dome of Rock. In the 8th century the construction of Al-Aqsa also started. Its characteristic golden roof was gilded by Suleiman II in 1517, and reconstructed by Jordanian King Hussein. At present, the area of the Temple Mount covers 1/6 of the whole Old City Jerusalem, including two mosques, theological school, museum, different schools, four minarets, fountains, staircases, gates, galleries and parks.


n line with the “Islam focus” of STS this academic year, which aims to increase our understanding of Islamic faith, culture and architecture, we visited the third most sacred place of Islam, called in Arabic Haram al-Sharif meaning “the Noble sanctuary”. The Waqf appointed guides gave us a guided tour, which allowed us a special entry into both the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The prophet Muhammad died in 632 and the Muslims believe that he ascended into heaven from

This is one of the oldest Umayyad’s buildings with Persian and Byzantine architectonic elements, characterized by octagonal shape with strict geometric rules. Muslims believe that the final judgment will be here. The interior is full of mosaics and Persian carpets, various in colors and shapes well-combined in a spiritual harmony. Two colonnades around the rock, creating three circle areas symbolize the world with three basic elements: the earth, water and air. There is a hole in the rock, which connects it to the cave, also called the well of souls.

ISLAM FOCUS 16 STS Newsletter The Mosque belongs to the oldest Muslim monuments in the world. The “Al-Aqsa” or “remote” means the furthest place that Muhammad reached during his night ride by horse from Mecca. Here, the Crusaders made the residence of the crusader’s king and the Templars established the residence of the Grandmaster; therefore their name is derived from the word “Temple”. Al-Aqsa at present is used for common prayers, but only men can enter, women stay in the Dome of the Rock. Al-Aqsa is considered as the ideological, religious, cultural and educative center of the Muslim world. The Mosque has seven naves and the façade is from the 13th century. Inside one can see the prayer niche mihrab, the throne of Imam and the window preserved from the time of the crusaders.

AL-AQSA MOSQUE: ISLAMIC THEOLOGY AND HASHEMITE CUSTODIANSHIP Jerusalem, 23 November, 2016 Paul Phuoc Trong Chu and John Paul Vemo, SDB

Prof. Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway is the first holder of the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work at the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds University (HM King Abdullah II Endowment). He is dean of the Da`wah and Usul Al-Din College, and College of the Qur’an and Islamic Sciences at Al-Quds University. He has taught in International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur, and Bard Collete, New York. He is a member of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the

Rock and a member of the Islamic Waqf Council in Jerusalem. Dr. Sway was invited by the STS as part of its “Focus on Islam Lectures.” Dr Sway spoke on “Al-Aqsa Mosque: Islamic Theology and Hashemite Custodianship”. Dr. Sway shared with us about the history of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is considered as the third most holy site for Sunni Muslims. Al-Aqsa literally means the “farthest mosque”. The Mosque does not refer only to the current building but the whole surrounding area. The Prophet Muhammad is believed to have been transported here while he was praying in Mecca. According to Dr. Sway, during the time of Muhammad, there was no actual mosque building but only a “sacred space”. For 17 years after Muhammad’s migration to Mecca, the orientation of prayer was toward Jerusalem, which was marked by this “sacred space”.

ISLAM FOCUS STS Newsletter 17

The magnificent Dome of the Rock, which is situated a few meters away from the modern day Al-Aqsa mosque building, was built at the end of the 7th century. This building enshrines the rock where Abraham took his son to be sacrificed in absolute obedience to God’s command. The Old Testament identifies this child as Isaac, whereas Muslim tradition says that the child was Ishmael; though, according to Dr. Sway, the Qur’an does not mention the name of the child. Nonetheless, Dr. Sway reasoned that Ishmael was born when Abraham was 86 years old and Isaac when he was 100 years old. So for 14 years Ishmael was the only son and when God asked Abraham to offer his only son it refers to Ishmael and not Isaac.

Regarding the importance of the Qur’an in relation to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, Dr. Sway said that Jews have the Old Testament, Christians have the New Testament, and Muslims have the Final Testament. He highlighted Muslim’s respect for the Christian and Jewish Scriptures by giving examples of prominent Muslim individuals who named their children according to the figures mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. Though respecting the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, Dr. Sway said the Qur’an has the “upper hand” for Muslims. The Quran mentions three important places: Mecca, the Holy Land, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Holy Valley (its location is uncertain). In addition to this list, the Hadith mentions Medina as another holy place. In regards to the geographical boundary of the Holy Land, Dr. Sway said that the Islamic understanding of the Holy Land is not limited to the modern day territory of Israel/Palestine but includes Lebanon and Syria in the North, Egypt in the South and Mecca in the East. After his lecture, Dr. Sway took up some questions from the STS student body and professors in the audience. One student asked, “Why can’t nonMuslims pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque?” Dr. Sway said that this is not a matter of theology or jurisprudence; that is, there is nothing in Islam that forbids nonMuslims from praying in a mosque. He said that even the Prophet Muhammad invited non-Muslims to pray in a mosque. The current rule of forbidding non-Muslims from praying at Al-Aqsa has to do with administrative and political reasons. To help us understand the implication of these reasons, Dr. Sway cites the incident of the Caliph Omar who, after conquering Jerusalem, refrained from praying inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher because, out of respect for Christianity, he did not want Muslims of later generations to claim the Church as a Muslim mosque. Nonetheless, Omar prayed a few meters outside the Church and, because of this event later Muslims built what is now called the Mosque of Omar which now stands facing the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.


VISIT TO THE HOLY SEPULCHER Jerusalem, 10 September 2016 Maximilian Mages

thousand years the crusaders conquered Jerusalem and started the last major alterations on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as we can see it today.


n Saturday the 10th of September the new students, just arrived at Jerusalem, had their first Topographical Visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, or also known among the Greeks as the Anastasis (Resurrection), together with Dr. Leopold Vonck, M.Afr., the Chief Museum Director of the Missionaries of Africa and STS Professor.

Fr. Vonck gave us a little history behind the Holy Sepulcher, in the beginning there was a quarry and when the quarry was not used any more, the people of Jerusalem used it for burials. On the 14th of Nisan in the year 30 A.D. the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate condemned a man named Jesus to death through crucifixion on a rock called Golgotha. There were many people watching him until he died on the cross. Josef of Arimathea and Nicodemus buried his body in a new cemetery, which was located near Golgotha. Three days later the tomb was empty and some women proclaimed that Jesus is resurrected from the dead (Luke 23:50 – 24:12). The disciples must have known the place and may have showed the empty tomb to others. Amount a hundred years later the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a pagan temple on this place, which was dedicated to Aphrodite. After the Constantinian Shift and through the intervention of St. Helena, the Emperor’s mother, the pagan temple was removed and a huge basilica was built in 335 A.D. After various destructions and reconstructions in the next

Dr. Vonck first led us to the Cardo Maximus the ancient main street of Jerusalem, which leads from the North to the southern Damascus Gate. Once the entrance of Constantine´s basilica was there, as we can see on the Mosaic Map of Madaba. Just inside we could see all the things, which Dr. Vonck had taught us before. We climbed up a few steps to Calvary, the place, where Jesus was crucified. From there we went on, past the Stone of Unction to the Holy Tomb, which is surrounded by a huge rotunda and covered with a big dome. We went on to the Catholicon and further down to the Chapel of St. Helena. Far lower down we reached the place, where Helena found the true cross. The deeper we came, the more we immersed into the history of Golgotha and also into the source of our faith, because hic = here every Christology, Ecclesiology as well as every Dogma began. Under the rock of Golgotha we could see the traces of the old quarry, and we could also see, that the rock of Golgotha is not of good quality, so that it had been left in the middle of the quarry as a hill. The most holy place, the Tomb of Jesus is surrounded by a building called Aediculum (little house/temple). When you enter the Holy Tomb you will read “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (cf. Luke 24:5b-6) May we find the risen Lord through our studies and in our community during this year.






Jerusalem, 15 September, 2016 Mark Eshun, SDB

THE SHRINE OF THE BOOK Jerusalem, 27 October, 2016 Samwel Severin Sagut, SDB



fter the Opening Ceremony of the New Academic year of the Studium Theologicum Salesianum (STS) Jerusalem Campus of the Salesian Pontifical University, the new students had the opportunity to see the Mount of Olives, led by Dr. Vonck. Starting from the East of Jerusalem with a ridge of about 4 km long, we could see the cluster of Holy places all around us but the main focus was the Mosque of the Ascension from where Jesus is believed to have ascended into heaven and the Eleona where He is believed to have taught the Pater Noster (Our Father); then through the old cemetery to the historical place where Jesus sat and wept over Jerusalem. Then we continued to the Garden of Gethsemane and finally ended at the Tomb of Mary.

he new students of STS had an opportunity to visit the Israel Museum during another topographical visit under the guidance of Dr. Leopold Vonck, M.Afr. In the museum we saw the model of Herodian Jerusalem, which gives the general view of Jerusalem in the time of Herod the Great. The model presents well the ancient walls, the ancient city of David and residence for the poor and the rich, the theatre and the Temple. Next we visited the Shrine of the Book where we saw the oldest scroll of the book of Isaiah, the Aleppo codex and many other ancient manuscripts. Finally, in the archaeology wing, we were enriched by the presentation of man’s development through time with the display of different ancient tools and art collections.

VISIT TO THE TOWER OF DAVID Jerusalem, 14 December, 2016 John Langan, SDB


ur topographical trip took the first-year students, led by Fr. Leopold Vonck, to the Tower of David Museum located just inside Jaffa gate in the Old City. The Museum itself is built within the remains of a fortified part of the Old City Wall. This location was first built upon by King Hezekiah and then renovated and reconstructed throughout its lifetime by Herod the Great, Crusaders during the 12th century, a Mamluk sultan, and even by the Ottomans. As we walked through the rooms and halls of the museum we learned about the many events of the last 4,000 years in Jerusalem. From its earliest beginnings as a city during the Canaanite Period, into the Israelite development, the various civilizations that have conquered Jerusalem, and finally up to the modernday state of Israel. It was an excellent opportunity to begin to understand the complex history we are living in as we begin our theological studies.


VISIT TO RAMALLAH, BETH EL, SHILO AND TAYBEH 29 September 2016, STS – Jerusalem Jerome Fernando, SDB

nation to the land of the Bible. Through a video presentation, we were invited to have an overall view of the meaning of this place. Shiloh was the spiritual and political capital of the Jewish people for 369 years. It was where the Ark of the Covenant, which had wandered with the Jewish people since their Exodus from Egypt, was established. ‘The whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the Tabernacle of the congregation there and the land was subdued before them (Joshua 18:1).’ It was also the place were Hannah prayed for a son and God heard her prayer. Her son was named Samuel and he became an important prophet.


ith the invocation of the Guardian Angels, the STS students and staff members set out for the first Archeological Excursion of the year. Ramallah, Beth El, Shilo and Taybeh were the places we visited. In the morning, we entered the territory of the Palestinian Ramallah, an historical Arab Christian town located in the central West Bank. Our first visit was to the Tomb of Yasser Arafat, a Palestinian leader, the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), honored in 1994 by the Nobel Prize for peace and who died in October 2004. Our next move was to Bet El, located in the region of the West Bank. Bet el, “House of God”, is mentioned in the Bible as the site where Jacob slept and dreamt of angels going up and down a ladder (Genesis 28:19). Here, Jacob built an altar and offered sacrifice to God. We saw many tombs around, which are believed to have been built during the second Temple Period. The site of ancient Shiloh is an integral part of a glorious history in the land of Israel. It is at the heart of the heritage and connection of the Jewish

After this visit, we had the lunch break and then proceeded to a city called Taybeh. It is the biblical town of Ephraim to which Jesus went with his disciples when tensions arose with the authorities after he raised Lazarus from the dead (Cf. Jn 11:54). Our final stop was to the Latin Church of the Resurrection where we visited the Church, as well as the old and still preserved remains of the ancient house, known as the “Parable House”. It was a great experience to see and understand the common settings in the houses in Jesus’ time and to see the household utensils that many of the parables of Jesus mention. In his writings, the well-known St. Charles de Foucauld, records his retreat made in Taybeh.


TRIP TO GALILEE Jerusalem, October 20, 2016 John Langan, SDB


arly in the morning of Thursday, October 13 2016, all twelve first-year students together with Fr. Karol Kulpa, sdb, Fr. Aloysius, the rector of the Jerusalem community of the Missionaries of Africa and Fr. Aloysius SJ, a Jesuit priest, set out on a study trip to Galilee.

We continued on to the Sea of Galilee and stopped off at Magdala, a recent archeological site that found an ancient synagogue and a unique stone named the Magdala stone. The stone is a miniature replica of the temple carved out of stone. We celebrated Mass here in their chapel overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It was a beautiful experience. Next, we took a boat ride across the Sea whilst listening to various Gospel accounts of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. On Friday, we headed out and stopped off briefly at the wedding of Cana site and the House of the Bartholomew. Next, we headed to a nature reserve where Mount Hermon stands and saw the remains of the Roman temple of a god called Pan where Jesus spoke to Peter about being the rock of the Church, meaning he would be greater than this enormous mount and temple here in front of him. Next, we headed off to Capernaum or the town of Jesus and visited the Church above Peter’s house for the second time and spent time in the surrounding remains of the city Jesus ministered to so long ago. From there we went to Tabgah to the Mensa Christi church where Jesus revealed himself to the Apostles as they were fishing after Jesus’ Crucifixion. It was here that Jesus asked Peter three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Then, we visited the site of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish; we were reminded that when we give Jesus all that we have and trust in Him, how much he is able to do with our small offerings. We celebrated Mass this day at the Mount of Beatitudes and spent a little time reflecting on this sacred place.

We began by listening and reflecting on a reading of the Good Samaritan. We were following the same route as the man in the passage, out of Jerusalem. He was leaving Jerusalem, God’s city, and heading toward the cursed city of Jericho. Our first stop was Jericho, the site of the Temptation, where we listened to the Luke’s Gospel account of Jesus’ Temptation in the desert, looking out over the vast valley and lands. Next we Saturday, was our final day in Nazareth. Again, we drove to a sycamore tree in Jericho and listened to the started out early to fit in as much as we could into our trip. We went to Sephoris, also called the Ornament of account of Zacchaeus being called down by Jesus. Galilee, an incredible archeological site with remains We stopped at the Jordan river and reflected on three including the “Mona Lisa of Galilee” a mosaic from distinct but related readings; Elijah going up to heaven the 4th century made up of 1.5 million stones. Before as Elisha watched, the Israelites passing over the dry Jordan river-bed as the priests stood with the Ark in the middle stopping the flow of the river water, and finally Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. Fr. Karol helped us recognize some connections between the Old Testament and New Testament from these passages; just as the Israelites passed into the Promised Land through this river, John the Baptist is the prophet who links the Old and the New Testament. Jesus shows us the way into the true Promised Land through baptism.


CAESAREA MARITIMA Jerusalem, 20 Oct, 2016 Viadimir Plasek, SDB


lunch we went to the Basilica of the Annunciation, a beautiful church that was relatively new compared to a lot of the structures we had seen, but we learned that this was because of an agreement to have a massive archeological dig on the site to see what kind of evidence could be found to authenticate it. This dig proved to be very fruitful finding ceramic remains that dated to pre-Byzantium times and had intercessory prayers to Mary written on them, giving the location even stronger evidence for its authenticity than it previously had. We visited the Church of St. Joseph just next door to the Basilica and prayed to St. Joseph to continue to intercede for us, as we journey through our formation toward priesthood. We also made a stop at Mary’s well, the sole water source in Nazareth during the first century and a place where Jesus or Mary probably made daily stops.

n indispensable part of studying at the STS Jerusalem Campus is discovering the Biblical sites through regular archeological visits. Today we visited the important port-city of Caesarea Maritima. It is situated 50 km north of Tel-Aviv in a wonderful geographical location. Its history began during the Persian period, when the merchants of Sidon built a port-city. In 103 BC, according to Josephus, the Hasmonean king, Alexander Jannaeus conquered this settlement, known as “Straton’s Tower”. The name “Caesarea” was given by Herod the Great (37-4 BC) in honour of his protector Caesar Octavius Augustus (30 BC- 14 AD) who gave him the city as a gift. Herod invited well-known architects and imported the best material support to rebuild it within 12 years into a well-known beautiful city and later to become the center of the Roman Province of Judea with the most important port of the province.

On our return trip to Jerusalem, we headed for Mount Tabor where Jesus was transfigured in the presence of Peter, James, and John. We were blessed with the experience of celebrating Mass on top of this Holy Mount and then had a little bit of time to reflect and pray. Like Peter, James, and John we did not want to leave this place, but we stayed faithful and returned Which well-known persons lived in Caesarea? Pontius once again to Jerusalem with much to continue to Pilate, the Roman procurator of Judea (26-36 AD) lived mostly in Caesarea and he only came to Jerusalem during reflect on. the most important Jewish feasts. Deacon Philip “went about proclaiming the Good News to all the towns until he reached Caesarea” (Acts 8, 40). Here, the Apostle Peter baptized the Roman centurion Cornelius (Acts 10, 24-49), whose feast the Catholic Church in Jerusalem commemorates today. Paul passed through Caesarea on his mission journey to Antioch (Acts 18, 22) and later, when accused in Jerusalem, he was transported to Caesarea to be judged by the procurator Felix (Acts 24, 1-9) and later by Festus (Acts 25, 1-11).

ARCHEOLOGICAL EXCURSION STS Newsletter 23 but in 1191 the King of England, Richard the Lionheart, entered here again with crusaders. In 1254, the French King Louis IX, fortified the city with towers and gates that are still visible today. Finally in 1265, the city and port were finally conquered by the sultan Bajbars and after 1291 it was totally destroyed in fear of the return of Crusaders. Among the places of interest we visited: The Roman Theatre, Herod’s Palace, the Hippodrome, the Bathhouse complex, the port, the temple platform, the Byzantine and Crusader walls, the Nympho-Roman fountain and finally the High-level and the Low-level aqueduct.

MASADA AND TEL-ARAD Vespasian located his war camp in Caesarea during the uprising against the Romans in 66-70 AD and was promoted as the Caesar of the Roman Empire in 69 AD. Meanwhile, in 70 AD, Caesarea became the capital of the Roman Province of Judea and in the 2nd century the Jewish religious center. Rabbi Akiva (50-135 AD) lived and was martyred here. The great scholar Origen (185-254 AD) lived here for 20 years and established the theological school and the library. Bishop Eusebius (260-340 AD), his disciple, lived here and wrote Onomasticon, the description of the Christian sacred places. During the Byzantine era, Caesarea had already 50,000 inhabitants and Christians had built the Church. In 640, the Arabs conquered Caesarea and in 1102, the Crusaders. Sultan Saladin conquered the city in 1187,

Jerusalem, 24 November, 2016 Jaroslaw Budny, SDB

This year we are focussing on the area of Dead Sea in the archaeological excursions and our November excursion was really interesting. Visiting Masada and Tel Arad was an enriching experience among all the other activities at STS Jerusalem Campus. Masada is a fortress constructed under the rule of Herod the Great between 37 and 31 BC. It was a place of refuge for the king, who knew that the political situation was not really stable at the time. Situating his fortress on the top of an isolated plateau was not a design whim, but a rational need of the ruler who did not feel safe. In the northern part of the Masada complex, a beautiful three-level palace was constructed, where Herod would invite only the most distinguished guests that he trusted. Nearby the palace there were bathhouses and

24 STS Newsletter the house of the commander. The fortification was well protected by the walls and because of its location was almost impossible to conquer. But that was not the only advantage of the Masada fortress. King Herod did not forget about the most important things that are needed under the siege. He constructed spacious storehouses, where provisions for many years could be safely kept (the dry climate of the region helped the preservation of the products), and also under his command a system of collecting rain water was set up. The water was collected into the big cisterns, however, even with this facility, the Zealots did not manage to defend Masada, and in 73 AD, when they were already bound to be defeated by the Romans. Under the command of Eleazar, they committed suicide, in all about 1000 people. It took the Romans three years after the destruction of Jerusalem and several months of the construction of a ramp, to manage to breach the walls of Masada. However, today Jews, coming to this place do not admire the military skills of the Romans, but rather the sacrifice of the Zealots who preferred to die than to be enslaved or abused by the invaders. On the way back to Jerusalem we also visited Tel Arad, where was situated a Canaanite city and later, after Israelites came back from Egypt, a city of the tribe of Judah was founded. There is a sanctuary, a replica of the Temple, that was constructed possibly during the reign of king David to praise God along with other gods, a practice criticized by the prophets. It was destroyed in the 7th century BC when king Josiah, during the religious reform, centralised the worship. Now the only Temple was the one in Jerusalem. As we observed, the plan of the shrine is really similar to the Temple described in the Old Testament. We did not see only the important archaeological sites and learn about the history of the land we live in, but we also were able to realise how important is the memory of the heroes in the life of Israelis today. For Jews, Masada is not only the ruins of the fortress, but moreover, the place of the martyrdom of their predecessors. So for us, visiting Masada was an opportunity to understand better the people we live among.

St. SABA, St. THEODOSIUS MONASTERY AND KATHISMA Kidron Valley, 1 December, 2016 Samuel Sorie Sesay, SDB


ur quest for knowledge never comes to a standstill, the human being always seeks to know and discover. Our recent archeological visit starts in St. Saba monastery, known in the Byzantine period as the great Laura of Saint Saba. It geographical location is in the Judean Desert on the cliffs of the Kidron valley, which is 12 km east of Bethlehem. In 478 AD, at the age of 30, Saba, who was a disciple of Saint Euthymius, led by the quest of Holy Spirit, decided to live alone in a cave at the top of the cliff on the east bank of the Kidron Valley, opposite the current Mar Saba monastery. Having spent five years in seclusion on his own he motivated many Christians who decided to join him. As a result of this their number grew and so a monastic community came into being, made up of a private dwelling and small chapel for common prayers. He established a written rule for the service of the monks in the desert. In 483. they started to construct their monastery and finished it 486. They also constructed a Church and a women’s tower which is outside the wall of the monastery. Currently there are twenty two monks living in the monastery. The remains of St Saba which were in Venice Italy, were brought here in the 1960’s and are currently in the monastery. The second monastery we visited was that of St Theodosius. Born in Cappadocia, St Theodosius live in a cave where the three wise men rested after visiting the infant Jesus and were warned by an angel to return to their country by another road ( Matthew 2:12). The monastery was founded in 476, and is about 12km east of Bethlehem. St Theodosius built a house for the poor and the needy in the monastery. During this period there happened the miracle of multiplication of bread. The Saint was a brave defender of the faith and fought against the heresies in the church. On our way back, we stopped at the place called Kathisma which means a seat. It is the place believed to be where Mary the mother of God rested with Joseph on their way to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus. A monastery was built there dedicated to Maria Theotokos. It was later destroyed by the Arabs who built a mosque at the same location. The place was rediscovered in 1950’s; it was a resting place for pilgrims as well. We ended our excursion after such enriching experiences and each went home fulfilled with the satisfaction of what we saw and heard about the monasteries and the place where the Mother of God rested.


FR. EMMANUEL AJAH (Sierra Leone) Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ajah was a student of the STS in the years 2009-2011. After the second year, he had to continue studies in Africa due to some difficulties of returning to Jerusalem. He was ordained Priest on Saturday, July 6, 2013 at the Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit Omole Estate, Phase 1, Ikeja-Lagos, Nigeria. Currently Fr. Emmanuel is working in Freetown as Parish Priest, Vice Rector, Deputy Director of Don Bosco Fambul and as Project Manager, a portfolio that is so full and very demanding. Fr Emmanuel shares with us the following news of his work. …………………. In Sierra Leone, the Salesians are present in three places: Lungi (School, Parish & Youth Center), Bo (Parish) and Freetown (Don Bosco Fambul 'DBF', Parish, Primary School & Youth Centers). The extreme material poverty in Sierra Leone (proved by diverse investigations by UNICEF) causes a wide range of physical and psychological consequences. It is particularly young people that suffer from these, among which girls and women are affected most. It is as a result of this the Salesians priests and brothers in Freetown (my community), took the initiative in 1998 to work in the fields of street social work; rehabilitation of street children; community work; helping the sick inmates at the correctional prison in Freetown; young girls that are abused sexually & physically; parish; primary school; youth centers and also a 24 hours’ phone crisis counselling that covers the whole country.

SOME OF OUR WORK IN FREETOWN RESIDENTIAL BOYS Children in Sierra Leone often end up in the streets due to misplacement of money (one dollar) or loss of the items that were given to them to sell. With the help of our social workers we visit these boys in the night at the market places, street corners, etc. About 52 boys are recruited into our shelter and we provide for them psycho-social support that every child needs. This last for nine months before we eventually reunify them with their parents or family members.


Fr. Emmanuel Ajah with students

GIRL'S SHELTER The sexual exploitation of girls as well as young women thrives due to harsh economic realities of many families. Parents send their daughter away as prostitutes in order to secure the family' livelihood, hence causing a viscous cycle of sexual abuse by the father, family members and even neighbours. On account of the disaster DBF set up a home to shelter girls that find themselves in such a situation - to protect them from the perpetrators. PRISON - CORRECTIONAL CENTER You may ask 'why the prison?!' The perpetrators of crimes against our daughters are helped? Let's not forget that not all those in prison are guilty of their crimes. We realized that there are needs and a lot to be done in the Pademba Prison as it is called. This comes in form of providing emergency medical assistance, counselling, feeding to the sick and skinny ones. Furthermore, we help to pay court bills of inmates who cannot afford it. PARISH AND PRIMARY SCHOOL The pastoral needs of the people are very essential thus we thought it wise to request from the archdiocese of Freetown to give us a parish located in Dworzark. The goal was to develop our young people both spiritually and socially such that our parish can be a Center of Excellence for youth development in the Archdiocese of Freetown. Adding to it a primary school was erected to support these youngsters who are not able to afford education thus creating an opportunity for education and faith formation of the people for a better church of tomorrow.



n 2014, while still being a student at the STS, I published a peer-reviewed article in the Australian Journal of Linguistics; it is entitled “Dying in the Cause of God: The Semantics of the Christian and Muslim Concepts of Martyr”. This article was a paper that I had to write at the end of my second year of studies at the STS, and I wrote it under the supervision of Rev. Prof. Pier Giorgio Gianazza, SDB. This year, the same journal accepted another paper that I have written and which is entitled “Dying for a Cause other than God: Exploring the Non Religious Meanings of Martyr and Shahīd”. This paper has investigated the meanings of English martyr and its Arabic near equivalent shahīd. It has been demonstrated that each word has two meanings, religious (martyr1 and shahīd1) and non-religious (martyr2 and shahīd2). As I said, I investigated the religious meanings in my 2014 article. In that article, I showed that martyr1 and shahīd1 refer to a person killed on religious grounds. This person has to have been a Christian in the case of martyr1 and a Muslim in the case of shahīd1. Both are murdered by people not following the religion of the murdered person; yet, whilst shahīd1 portrays a combatant Muslim killed during a battle against non Muslims, martyr1 almost always refers to non-combatant Christians that are killed by non-Christians. Finally, both martyr1 and shahīd1 are praised by Christians and Muslims, respectively, for dying in the cause of their religions. In the current paper, I have investigated the non-religious meaning of each of these two concepts. Similar to martyr1 and shahīd1, both martyr2 and shahīd2 refer to a person who was killed. In the case of martyr2, this person has to have been killed for adhering and fighting for a higher cause, such as peace, the environment, or their country; this person can be from any country and of any ethnicity. In the case of shahīd2, on the other hand, this person is killed on political grounds only; besides, s/he has to have been an Arab living in an Arab country. Both, however, are hailed for sacrificing their lives.



Whimpering in fear for wanting to be with you. Daily, you bathe and clothe me like a holy shrine. Daily, you feed and fill me in the breaking of the bread. My desire is to share and to serve others the way you do.

Whimpering in fear for wanting to be with you. Daily, you embrace and lighten me from my burdens. Daily, you carry and comfort me with sweet lullabies. My hope is to forgive and to care for others the way you do.

I am naked as you were in the Manger. I am naked as you were on the Cross. Naked I came and naked I shall return to you… - James & Minh, SDB


God’s Action Is Love Revelation His Creation Man’s Salvation Jesus’ Incarnation For men Redemption Jesus’ Resurrection Man’s Transformation The history of Evangelization And the Church’s Tradition Is a sign of Continuation

Living in a Christian Community Is every Christian Responsibility To live the Principles of Subsidiarity and Solidarity Faithful to the Commandments And Practice of Sacraments We live our lives Commitment pen to His divine transcendence We live by human interdependence

Every Religious Vocation Needs self-formation Not only by fulfilling our Obligation But also by living our choice of Consecration In every situation Be it marginalization Or globalization Be it Inculturation Or Participation We need to be God’s Word of Proclamation And be apostles and disciples of Jesus’ Love Civilization This is my Reflection This is my fruit of my reflection So far of my studies of Theolozation - Romero D’Souza, SDB

STS FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT 28 STS Newsletter Jerusalem, 19 October, 2016 Richard Mwenya Mulenga, M.Afr


he STS football tournament was held at the Armenian quarter in the southwest corner of the Old City in Jerusalem. The quarter is like a small city. It consists of the St. James Armenian Convent and the adjacent residential neighbourhood, schools, public social institutions, residences, and historical monuments. A selfsustained community has about 4000 inhabitants. The tournament, held from 15.00 until 18.30 hours, was a good and joyful moment of interaction and sharing among us and enabling us to know each other better. We made up four teams: Maccabean, Ultra- Orthodox, Dominic Savios and Zion’s Wall. Each team played three matches, lasting 20 minutes each, with 7+1 players in game, with others for substitution. Each match was interesting, full of exciting moments with the final results as follows: 1.Dominic Savios, 6 pts, score 11:3; 2.Ultra-Orthodox, 6 pts, score 5:2; Maccabean, 6 pts, score 3:4; 4. Zion’s Wall, 0 pts., score 2:12. We were honoured by the presence of Rev. Fr. Norayr Kazazian, the Principal of the Armenian School who gave us the permission to use the renovated ground with artificial turf. He appreciated the tournament. Our Student representative, Chege Erastus Nduati, gave a vote of thanks to all the participants, the referees and to all the organisers for their help. Our Principal, Fr. Biju, SDB, concluded the event with a prayer and final blessing.

For admission and other details kindly contact:

EDITORIAL BOARD Vladimir Plasek John Paul Vemo Soro John Gerard Langan Sr. Angela Ridout, SJA Cover & Design: Pushparaj

Studium Theologicum Salesianum

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

Newsletter December 2016g  

STS Newsletter, Jerusalem

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