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Vol IV, No.2, 2017

Ap ril ,2




He is Risen Happy Easter !

STS Newsletter 2

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 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 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


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President’s Message 03 News 04 Islam Fucus 09 Topographical Visit 10 Archeological Excursion 12 Book Presentations 17 Creative Corner 18 Past Pupils Corner 19


Happy Easter! The Holy Triduum when we celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is here. The restoration work of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem has been completed in time for the festivities. Jesus is the sign of God the Father’s love for us. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). Jesus expressed that love in his passion and death. On the cross, Jesus the Son, lived out what he preached as the greatest love, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). The proof of our hope in eternal life in Jesus came with his resurrection. Paul says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor 15:17). In the resurrection from the dead, his status as our Savior is established. Hence, Peter after the Pentecost would argue, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. … Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2: 32, 36). Jesus, crucified, buried and resurrected is the Savior. He is our Messiah. The Eucharist is the supreme presence of this Jesus in our midst today. The Catechism reminds us, “Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us, is present in many ways to his Church: … but he is present … most especially in the Eucharistic species” (CCC, 1373, Cf. Rom 8:34). Through his presence among us, he continues to nourish us. “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them” (Jn 6:56). Jesus instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice (Mass), which recalls the paschal mystery as the source of our sustenance. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Every time this mystery is celebrated, ‘the work of our redemption is carried on’ and we ‘break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ’” (CCC, 1405). This teaching is based on Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, which says, “as often as the sacrifice of the cross in which Christ our Passover was sacrificed, is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried on” (LG, 3). In the Eucharist therefore we are not only recalling the memory of the cross, death and resurrection of Christ, we are actually being fed and nourished. We live by it. “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:54-55). Jesus continues to tell us to do this in memory of him (cf. Lk 22:19). Every one of us is called to live this life-giving love in memory of him. The celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus calls us to imitate his love – to lay down our lives in service of others. After having fed and strengthened ourselves at the Eucharist, we are told to “go forth to love and serve”. The fruit of the nourishment we have received is best expressed in the loving ways we live our daily lives in service of each other. Fr. Patric Savio in his book “In the Presence of the Sacred Other” written in Malayalam provides a powerful imagery of how this love is lived in a family. “Placing back in the plate, every piece of food that falls out as the little baby learns to eat on her own, the mother tells her, “my dear, food is manna, it is your father’s life; you should never waste food.” At that moment, the child does not understand the full meaning of those words. However, as years go by, watching her father, cough blood because of the tuberculosis he contracted due to hard labor in poor working conditions, the child (now grown big) will remember the sacred meaning of those words of the mother. She will now see and hear life throb in each food particle in the plate. She will realize how her father and mother had become food for her!” That kind of sacrificing love will make that father and mother continue to live even after their death. That love will continue to nourish those children even after the father and mother are gone from this life. Happy Easter! Let the celebration of Easter this year and the celebration of each Sunday, and every Eucharist remind us to become sustenance for each other. Only then, we truly become his disciples. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). Rev.Dr. Biju Michael, SDB

President / Principal Studium Theologicum Salesianum

NEWS STS Newsletter 4



n the 2nd of February 2017, the students and faculty of the STS assembled to open the second semester. The student representative, Erastus Chege welcomed the assembly and invited Dn. Lam Dang to lead a hymn invoking the Holy Spirit as an opening prayer for the ceremony. After the prayer, the student representative invited the President of the institute, Rev. Dr. Biju Michael to address the gathering. In his opening PowerPoint presentation, he began by pointing out that Don Bosco wanted youth ministers to prepare young people to take their rightful place in society. Therefore, we need to ask, “What is the rightful place in life to which the STS students are being prepared? Noting that the vast majority of students in this Faculty of Theology are candidates to priesthood, he highlighted the various integral stages of formation to the priesthood: novitiate, Philosophy, Pastoral experience and Theology. The STS’s primary role is to provide Theological formation to the candidates. Canon Law 1029, states that only those with “requisite knowledge” are to be ordained. The examination of the Candidate at priestly ordination by the Bishop asks (among other things) if the candidate is ready to carry out the ministry of the word - preaching the gospel and explaining the truths of the faith. As messengers of God, priests are to be guardians of knowledge and instructors of faith. “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:7). He explained that “requisite knowledge” demanded by Canon Law from candidates to priesthood is knowledge of the truths of our faith (Christ the Truth), because the Church entrusts to the priests, the specific duty of teaching the truths of our faith and celebrating the sacraments as handed on by the Church. Theological education tries to impart this knowledge.

Modern psychology points to the power of the mind in transforming human persons from within. Using the teachings of mentalist Jeremy Bennett, the Principal pointed out that “what we hold in our mind we are attracted to in life.” Theological education in the STS therefore gives the opportunity to fill the mind with the truths of our faith as taught by Scripture and tradition of the Church. Using the example of the common experience of learning to read, he showed that a trained mind could be very powerful while an untrained mind can remain an unused talent from God. Knowledge of modern psychology teaches us that everything we are exposed to is shaping our subconscious mind and that what we hold in the back of our subconscious mind shapes our reality. This knowledge should help us to choose consciously what we fill our minds with - for what we hold in our mind we are attracted to in life. This is the insight that seems to underlie St. Paul’s statement: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12: 2). We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds! It also seems to be the message of the Psalmist when he says, happy are those who meditate day and night on the law of the Lord, for they are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season. (cf. Psalm 1: 1-3). The Principal thus exhorted all to use every opportunity offered in the second semester (classes, conferences, excursions, and experiences) to choose wisely, what we fill our minds with, to achieve the aim of obtaining the “requisite knowledge” to be effective priests. He quoted St. Joseph Cafasso, the confessor of St. John Bosco to state the importance of learning in the life of priests. “That a priest should be learned is undeniable; without learning, one can be a good, quiet, calm, retired, charitable and pious man, but he can never be a good priest, because to be so, he must be capable of fulfilling his obligations, and this he cannot do without being learned.” After the introductory remarks, the president Fr. Biju Michael welcomed new teachers and the guest of honor. Firstly, he introduced, Rev. Fr. Alphonse Owoudou, sdb

NEWS STS Newsletter 5 who is the Vice Provincial of the Province of Cameroon. He holds a doctorate of psychology from the Salesian Pontifical University. The Principal introduced Rev. Dr. Piotr Zelazko as the teacher of the course on “Wisdom Books and Psalms” and “Biblical and Christian Archaeology”. Fr. Piotr is currently the parish priest of Beer Sheba Parish, which is a Hebrew speaking community. Other teachers who will begin teaching in the second semester are: Fr. Lionel Goh, Fr. Gustavo Cavagnari and Fr. Moses Wanjala. He then, acknowledged the grant of US$ 3000, from Archbishop Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate to the project of translating the book Holy Land: A Pilgrim’s Handbook.

The second part of the book illustrates the journey of the Holy Shroud from Jerusalem to Pella of the Decapolis and then to Edessa in Syria where the Shroud remained the longest time, around 850 years, and later it reached Constantinople. The third part of the book illustrates the journey of the Shroud from Constantinople to Athens, Ray Sur Saone, Lirey, Chambery and the final destination in Turin. The continuity of the Shroud throughout this long journey lasted 16 centuries. The book indicates with care the different dates in the different periods of time.

The principal then welcomed Rev. Dr. Alphonse Owoudou to release the new book written by Rev. Dr Joan Maria Vernet sdb, and published by LAS, Rome: “La Sindone: Itinerario geografico e storico.” Fr. Vernet then presented the book to the assembly. The book recounts the journey of the Holy shroud from Jerusalem to Turin. A fundamental question raised by the author in the book: “Is the Shroud of Turin the same Mandilion (as it was called) that was revered in Edessa? The answer that the book presents is an absolute YES. The student representative took over after Fr. Vernet’s book presentation, and he thanked him for his wonderful contribution. In the second part of the opening ceremony, the minutes of the previous Student’s Assembly was read by Cl. Javier Orengo sdb. We then led the election of the student’s representative and Cl. Soro John Paul Vemo, sdb was elected as the new Student Representative. Deacon Erastus Nduati Chege who had served two semesters as the Student Representative was thanked for his dedicated service and availability. The following Year-group leaders were elected: Lladones Rodil Padilla – 1st Year; Yan Naing Htun – 2nd Year; Negrini Paolo – 3rd Year; and Hailu Araya Hagos – 4th Year.


1 February 2017, STS - Jerusalem SESAY Samuel Sorie


n 1 February 2017, the STS, released a book on the Holy Shroud, written by one of our outstanding professors, Dr Joan Maria Vernet sdb. The book is titled “La Sindone: Itinerario geografico e storico” THE HOLY SHROUD: THE GEOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL ITINERARY. This book, about the Shroud of Turin, has been published by LAS-ROMA, of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome at the beginning of this year 2017. The first part of the book endeavours to explain the value of the Holy Shroud and the veneration it had along the centuries. Some questions regarding the authenticity of the Holy relic are addressed with much historical evidence.

The content of the book is indisputably enriching for Christian faith and knowledge. Based on the fact that the book is a product of historical research, it contains much documentation, dates, and a description of the journey of the Holy Shroud from one place to another, with details of how it was venerated during the different periods. Eventually, the book asks a fundamental question: is the Shroud of Turin the same Mandilion (as it was called) that was revered in Edessa? The answer the book presents is an absolute ‘YES’.

NEWS STS Newsletter 6



n March 9th 2017, the teachers and students of STS had a special opportunity to participate in an extraordinary event: “Cultural Initiative: Cultivating an Ecumenical Culture within the Church: Theology, Vision and Practice”. The opening prayer, at 9.00 am, was led by Archbishop Pizzaballa. The opening words were delivered by the President of STS, Fr. Biju Michael. The talks were given by three speakers: Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa on, Practical experience of dialogue in the Holy Land, Frans Bouwen, M.Afr., on the WCC document: The Church, toward a Common visionand William Russell, M.Afr., on Ecumenism in the study and teaching of Theological Disciplines. Master of Ceremonies, Patrick announced the program: each of the three invited guests had twenty to thirty minutes to deliver their talk, followed by a question-answer time. Then a coffee break, group discussions and finally the presentation from each group outlining the outcomes from discussion. Finally, the guest speakers gave their response to the assembly. His Excellency Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa started in an informal manner. He expressed the idea that the ecumenical dialogue in Jerusalem is more pastoral than the theological issue. His Excellency has already been living here for twenty-seven years, during which he has met many families who were touched by different religious and cultural contexts. For example, setting the date for Easter common to all churches, is not possible without leaving someone outside, because of different calendars. He added that during his twelve years as the Custos of the Holy Land, he had seen positive ecumenical movements, for example comparing the restoration of the Basilica of Nativity and the restoration of the Holy Sepulchre. During the latter one, the agreement among the Churches was achieved, when all accepted to give the leadership of the restoration work to the Greek Orthodox Church with the other churches’ contribution and cooperation. He also underlined the importance of the meeting in 2012 between Pope Francis and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew. During the preparation for this event, many meetings regarding songs, prayers, speech and how to conclude were held almost every day. It created a positive atmosphere which prevailed also after the event. Finally, he suggested that existing problems could be solved by meetings, conferences and talking together. Generally it is important to work firstly on a human

NEWS STS Newsletter 7 level, to create the fraternal relationships and then the achievements in official dialogue can be reached. Often we build our relations on the narratives from the past, he continued, but we have to make changes in common to understand each other, because from the cultural point of view, we are completely different. It is the question of justice, common understanding, patience and time, that 11, 000 Christians can by small steps, slowly move towards unity. During the short discussion the archbishop explained that the Status Quo is more an attitude, than the written law. We have to explain to the pilgrims who come to the Holy Land and see the divisions, that the division is really a wound of the Church, and here in the Holy Land, as they touch the holy places, they can also touch the wound of the division of the Church. The divisions did not start in Jerusalem, they arrived here. Our attitude is to put oil on these wounds to heal them. Frans Bouwen spoke about some of the articles from the document “The Church: Towards a common vision” by World Council of Churches. The central point in the document is the ecclesiology. The document was published in 2013 by the theological branch of the WCC, the Faith and Order commission, the most ecumenical and most widely representative forum on Ecumenism, that exists in the world. It answers the questions how far the Christian communities have come and what work still has to be done, how we look at our Church, how we see the other churches. Formal questions were sent to the churches, who appointed groups of theologians to answer them. It is Important to be aware of ecumenism at the local level. Studying the document may help to understand our own faith. There are many similarities with the text of the Second Vatican Council’s documents. It could be interesting to elaborate it in a scientific research, for example the understanding of the priesthood and the ministry. The document’s understanding should be integrated in the life of the Church. In the line of the document, legitimate diversity is a gift of the Holy Spirit for the Church and we have to preserve and treasure the legitimate differences of liturgy, custom and law. William Russell spoke about the cultural change within the churches. The question that he proposed was: “What has happened to the Catholic culture?” There were many cultural shifts in history: at the time of reformation, at the council of Trent, at the Second Vatican Council. He claimed that the Catholic Church can actually learn from other churches. For example, the novelty of the Parish Councils in the 1960s in the Catholic Church was actually discovered long before by Protestant churches from the 16th century onwards. He also suggested that Ecumenism should permeate every theological discipline. Some issues in ecumenism are profoundly theological. It is not only meant for experts,

it is something that infuses the life of the Church and promotes the conversion of heart. A Papal document does not change culture but it provides direction for the culture that is already taking place in the Church and it takes several generations to receive it and live it with other people. Then things start moving. The aim is like a “reflex” for ecumenism. The openness is part of our faith and it must be directed by the Magisterium, otherwise it may be lost. Before the group discussions, the Principal welcomed Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa to release the Sinhala translated version of the book “Holy Land: A Pilgrim’s Handbook” by Biju Michael SDB, David Neuhaus SJ and Lionel Goh OFM. The group discussions were related to five questions: 1. Cultivating an ecumenical culture within the Church. 2. Insights - old and new. 3. Overcoming obstacles within or among us. 4. Legitimate diversity (or Communion diversity). 5. Theological formation. The invited Speakers had the opportunity to have the last words. Frans Bouwen shed light on the nonsolved question of the recognition of the Pope as the

NEWS STS Newsletter 8 first among the bishops at the universal level and the Church of Rome as the first among the churches. With this, the Orthodox churches agree, but they do not agree to what degree authority should be appointed to him. Much still needs to be done in this area. Fr Bouwen also underlined the importance of personal encounter with the members of other churches. We cannot learn ecumenism only on a theoretical level, we have to come to know the members, persons of the communities. We have to hear the others and learn from the others. William Russell pointed out that at present, in Pope Francis’ documents we find many quotations from the episcopal conferences around the world; that is something new. There are also some quotations of the Patriarch Bartholomew which leans towards a cultural change in the teaching of the Church and there are many cultural tendencies and shifts taking place. The importance is to talk with real people, not only read about them. Such meetings change our relationships. The words of thanks were given by John Paul Soro, the student representative of STS.


Jude Nevil Fernando

DIPLOMA IN BIBLICAL GEOGRAPHY & HISTORY Sacred Scripture is the soul of theology and the path to holiness. As St. Jerome affirmed “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. Thus, the study of the Bible provides better formation in the life of the Christian and enriches our understanding about Christ. Above all, the Church, as the visible sign of Christ, insists on studying the Bible in order to form better ministers of the Word and trained personnel for teaching the scriptures. The geographical, historical and cultural world of the Bible will help us to understand the central message of the Bible and divine

intervention in the history of Salvation. The Salesian Pontifical University’s Faculty of Theology, Jerusalem Campus offers a great opportunity to widen our knowledge about the Bible and Holy Land. Recently, the faculty initiated a new venture in offering a Diploma in Biblical Geography and History. The primary aim of the Diploma is to provide adequate knowledge about the sacred books in the Bible and its historical and geographical dimensions. The courses are taught by qualified and experienced professors under the supervision of Rev. Dr. Biju MICHAEL, sdb (President/ Principal). The teaching coordinator of the Diploma, as appointed by the faculty, is Rev. Dr TOCZYSKI Andrzej, sdb. Currently, courses are held at STS and the Diploma is open to any students who have the admission requirements outlined by the Jerusalem campus of the Salesian Pontifical University.

DIPLOMA IN INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE & ECUMENISM The commitment to Inter-religious dialogue and Ecumenism is irrevocable and the responsibility of every human person. This commitment is about people of different faiths coming together to promote mutual understanding and respect for each other in spite of their differences. The Church, following the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, encourages all to engage in dialogue and promote unity among people. At the same time, the Church has taken many initiatives for the restoration of Christian unity in the line of ecumenical dialogue. Thus, the formation of the laity, religious leaders, ministers and the people of good will becomes the hallmark of a remarkable effort to dialogue. Different initiatives have been made by the Catholic Church and other religious communities to prepare their members to break down the barriers in relation to inter-religious dialogue and ecumenism. Highlighting the above mentioned, to fulfill the need for trained personnel in the Church to engage in interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, the STS in Jerusalem now offers the Diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism. The courses are taught by qualified and experienced professors under the supervision of Rev. Dr. Biju MICHAEL, sdb (President/Principal). The teaching

ISLAM FOCUS STS Newsletter 9

coordinator of the Diploma, as appointed by the faculty, is Rev. Dr RUSSELL William, M.Afr. Currently, courses are held at STS and the Diploma is open to any students who have admission requirements outlined by the Jerusalem campus of the Salesian Pontifical University. For information on the Diplomas, kindly write to


15 February 2017 STS-Jerusalem DANG Minh Duc


n 15th of February 2017, continuing the “Focus on Islam Lectures,” the students and faculty of the STS assembled for a lecture given by Dr. Yusuf Said Natsheh, entitled “Islamic Architecture in Jerusalem.” Dr. Natsheh, born and raised in Jerusalem, received his PhD from the University of London, specializing in Ottoman Architecture. He is now the director of Tourism and Archaeology at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and oversees the architectural and artistic heritage of the al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. In addition, he is the supervisor of the Arab League Institute to restore, maintain and document Jerusalem’s architecture; he is also a lecturer at the Al-Quds University. Our speaker has published several books and many articles, including a recent published book, Discovering Jerusalem’s Secrets: Walking Trails through the Old City and Beyond (2016). Dr. Natsheh shared with us the historical account of the architecture in Jerusalem and its significance for Muslims. He commented that most of us come to Jerusalem with our own preconceived ideas and narratives of the city, but for him, “Jerusalem is truly a unique city with its own spirit. A spirit that is filled with people and places.” He continued to say that for Muslims, Jerusalem is the birthplace of the faith, it is not merely a city with bricks and stones, but it has its own history. This history is reflected by buildings, walls, gates, and water fountains. The two main architecture feats are the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the magnificent Dome of the Rock. It is believed that this is the place to where the Prophet Muhammad made his journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, which was mentioned in Surah 17 “Surat al-Isra” (The Night Journey). For this reason, it is considered to be the third most holy site for Muslims. Moreover, he gave detailed explanation about some of the architectural remains of the Arab dynasties around the Temple Mount and city of Jerusalem (e.g. Damascus Gate and Lion’s Gate). After his lecture, Dr. Natsheh took up two questions from the STS students: first, regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque as an open space for prayer; and second, the reasons why the “Golden Gate” is sealed. Finally, Vladimir Plasek gave a words of thanks to Dr. Natsheh for his interesting discourse.


Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the Tomb of David, Cenacle and Dormition Abbey 2nd February 2017 ROGUS APPUGE Gayan Indika


n 2nd of February 2017, the 1st year students of STS enjoyed their Topographical Visit to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the tomb of David, the Cenacle and Dormition Abbey. We were given a detailed introduction and history of the site by Rev. Dr. Pol Vonck, M.Afr. Firstly, the group visited St. Peter’s church in Gallicantu. The church takes this name from the Latin word Gallicantu which means cock crows. The church was built to commemorate Peter’s three time-rejection of Jesus as was predicted by Jesus during the last supper. The present church, located outside the city walls, was built around 1925 AD. According to history this is known to be where the high priest Caiaphas lived and also known to be where Jesus was questioned by the high priest and stayed the night in an underground cave before His trials. Next the group went to visit the tomb of David. It is believed that this is the place where the Body of King David was buried. Many Jews come to venerate their great king in this place. The group proceeded with a visit to the Upper Room or the Cenacle, where Jesus and His disciples gathered together to celebrate His Last Supper before the crucifixion. It was also here that He appeared to them after His Resurrection and where they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The original Cenacle or Upper room was probably destroyed along with the rest of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The present cenacle dates from the Crusaders’ period. Lastly, the group visited Dormition Abbey. According to history, this is the place near the site of the Last Supper, where Mary died and ended her earthly life. In the Catholic Dogma of the Assumption of Mary, Christ’s Mother was taken in to heaven body and soul. The visit to Dormition Abbey marked the end of the topographical visit.

Visit to the City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Pool of Siloam

23 March 2017 STS-Jerusalem Sr. ZHANG Hai Yun (Theresa) & LANGAN John Gerard


n Thursday March 23rd 2017, the first year students from STS, along with Fr. Gustavo Cavagnari, SDB, were led by our professor Fr. Paul Vonck on a Topographical Visit. We gathered at the Dung gate early in the morning and then made our way down to the City of David. The City of David is the oldest part of Jerusalem and is located on the Ophel Ridge between two valleys, the Kidron and the Tyropoeon. The Jebusites lived within the city walls until David came to the city around 1000 BC. When David arrived at the city, the Jebusites said to David: “you will not get in here, even the blind and the lame can ward you off ” (2 Sam 5:6). However, it


Visit to the Western-Wall-Tunnels and Davidson- Center 6 April 2017 STS-Jerusalem MAGES Maximilian


n Thursday the 7th of April the students of the first year went out for their final topographical visit with Dr. Leopold Vonck. Their journey through ancient Jerusalem led them finally all around the Western Wall with all its hidden secrets.

is believed that David and his men snuck through the water tunnels and conquered the city from within. David built up the city, including a palace for himself. Today there are two main structures at the top of the city that are called LSS, or Large Stone Structure, and SSS, or Step Stone Structure. The SSS is a series of steps, walls, and rooms built on the side of the hill believed to function as a retaining wall for the hill itself. The LSS is situated just above the SSS and is believed to be the remains of King David’s Palace, due to the intricate stonework and large number of seals used for official documents found there. We continued down the hill and entered the water system of the City of David. This system of the city is fed by Gihon Spring; an impressive tunnel system was discovered by an English Archeologist named Sir Charles Warren. The main water shaft is named Hezekiah’s tunnel because it was built by command of King Hezekiah when he recognized the need to maintain a water supply in times of siege. The tunnel runs from Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam and is 538 meters long. Thanks in large part to the water supply, when the King of the Assyrians, Sennacherib, attacked the city, he was not able to breach the walls. At the end of Hezekiah’s tunnel lies the pool of Siloam, which was also protected by the immense city walls. The original pool has not been fully excavated yet, but this is the location where Jesus healed the blind man, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see” (John 9:11). At this point, Fr. Vonck read the entire account from John 9 and led us all in a prayer. Finally, we ascended from the Kidron valley by walking up the Jerusalem Pilgrim Road, a path used during the second temple period for those who washed in the pool of Siloam and then proceeded up to the temple to participate in the rituals. All in all, it was an exciting and educational experience to walk these ancient locations and we are very grateful for Fr. Vonck’s generosity in sharing his knowledge and passion for the history of Jerusalem.

As two weeks before we met at Dung-Gate with Father Vonck and started our way to the Western Wall. Before we entered the tunnels at 9.00 am Dr. Vonck gave us a brief introduction into the significance of the great wall, focused on the architecture of the Second Temple by Herod the Great, which can still be seen by those special cuboids, with their perfectly worked out frame. Moreover, he showed us also Wilson’s Arch, which supported one of the main entrances to the Temple. A few minutes later we started our tour through the so called Western-Wall-Tunnels, an archaeological project along the Western Wall from the Western-Wall-Plaza all the way up until the Via Dolorosa where once the former Roman Fortress Antonia stood. We were guided by a special Guide from the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. Before we started our tour, he gave us a short introduction into the history of Mount Moria, the place where Jews believe, that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his Son Isaac. Later on David conquered the Jebusite City of Jerusalem, which was just below and his Son Salomon built the First Temple on the top of the Mountain. After the destruction of the First Temple and the Babylonian Exile in 587 BC the Jews returned to the Promised Land and rebuilt the Temple. Herod the Great enlarged the TempleAreal in an incomparable extent. It was totally destroyed by the Romans on the 9th of Av in 70AD. The Western Wall is the best preserved remains of the once most splendid building in the world. It is also the side which was closest to the Holy of Holies, for which reason it has such a significance for the Jews all over the world who are always praying in its direction. After a short introduction the guide led us through the tunnels. In the tunnel, we saw a huge, perfectly cut 13,6x3x3m cuboids with an estimated weight of over 500 tons. It is the largest cut stone ever found in Israel and one of the largest

ARCHEOLOGICAL EXCURSION STS Newsletter 12 stones used for construction in the world. From there we made our way north along the wall. It is a big question how they built the Temple – a short video-animation gave us a little impression. After the tunnel, we visited the Davidson-Center, where we spent the second half of our Excursion. First we walked through a little Museum where some findings from the excavations can be seen, especially coins and ancient seals, as for example the seal of King Hezekiah. Finally, Father Vonck led us to the famous Robinson-Arch, which supported the entrance for the Aristocrats. In this place we could also walk on the main ancient street quite next to the temple which leads to the north, crossing also Warrens Gate. When the Romans destroyed the Temple they threw down the massive stones of the walls all the way down to the street, for that the street was damaged in many places. On one part of the street there is a pile of stones as they lay there for over a thousand years. There is also one special stone from the South-West corner with an inscription which designated this place as the place for the trumpets. The original stone can be seen in the Israel Museum. Our last station was on the southern Wall of the Temple Mount where we visited the remains of the Double- and Triple Gate. It was very impressive, standing there were once thousands of pilgrims came to venerate God in his Temple and even today millions of pilgrims are visiting this most Holy Place, especially in these days of Pesach. Beside Jews and Moslems, this place has also a great importance for us Christians, because the Temple had also great significance for Jesus and the events all around his passion. So it was a great enrichment for us students of the STS. At least there is no more Temple today - for us Christians the new Temple is risen in Jesus Christ, nevertheless this place has never lost its holiness.

Excursion to En Gedi and Qumran National Park 9 February 2017, STS-Jerusalem FERNANDO Jude


n 9th of February 2017, the students of STS had an archaeological excursion to En Gedi and Qumran National Park. The history of the sites was inspiring and aroused the curiosity of the students of STS to acquire more knowledge about them in connection to Biblical History and Archaeology.



he En Gedi (from the Hebrew meaning: Spring of the wild goat) is located on the eastern edge of the Judean desert. It was inhabited starting from the Chalcolithic period (approximately 5,000 years ago) to the Mameluke Period. During this time, the use of copper became more prominent in the Land and consequently the temple was erected above En Gedi for religious veneration. Four hundred and twenty nine copper and ivory ceremonial vessels were discovered during the excavation. There are four major springs which makes the site unique in the desert. Different kinds of

mammals (Ibex, Rock Hyrax, and Hyena), birds (fan-tailed raven, the Arabian babblers, the sand partridge) and a variety of tropical plants (Christ-thorn jujube, the Jericho balsam) bring a splash of colour to the reserved site. En Gedi was known in the Biblical period as a fertile and prosperous land. According to Biblical sources, King David reached En Gedi and hid there after fleeing from King Saul (1 Samuel 23 29). Prophet Ezekiel in his vision speaks about a unique temple in Jerusalem and En Gedi (Ezekiel 40). Furthermore, Joshua, during the division of the land gave En Gedi to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15). The ancient En Gedi is located on Tell Goren on the north bank of Nahal Arugot. The Kings of Judah encouraged the settlement in the desert. Consequently, a small village was established in the 7th Century, during the Judean Kingdom. The development of the Jewish settlement in En Gedi began in the Hasmonean period and continued until the decline of the Byzantine period (550 CE). The area flourished and grew through the development of agriculture on the mountain slopes.

ARCHEOLOGICAL EXCURSION STS Newsletter 13 The discovery of the Chalcolithic Temple of En Gedi (3500 BC) proves the religiosity of the people in antiquity. It was discovered by Yohanan Aharoni in 1956 during an archaeological survey of En Gedi. However, Yohanan could not name the discovery; Yosef Naveh carried out the excavation and found some animal bones and ashes. He recognized this site as the public place or shrine dating back to the Chalcolithic period. After some years, this temple was abandoned by the people. Some of the equipment belonging to the temple was found in the surrounding cave. The location of the temple around two springs indicates the people’s devotion towards nature. The remains of the ancient synagogue indicate the Jewish settlement in ancient En Gedi. The synagogue’s floor is decorated with animals, inscription and Mosaic.



he remains of the ancient settlement of the Qumran are located on the north-western shore of the Dead Sea. During the 8th century B.C.E, the land was occupied by the separated sect of the Jewish population, known as the Essenes. They lived and studied here for two centuries (the end of the Hashmonean period to the revolt of the Jews against the Romans) and left some written scrolls in the surrounding caves which contain some books of the Jewish scripture and instructions pertaining to Jewish tradition.

scrolls and sold four to him and the other three to another antiquities dealer. The first dealer then resold the four scrolls to Archbishop Samuel, head of the Syrian Orthodox Monastery of St. Mark in Jerusalem. The bishop took the scrolls to USA for further research and investigation. Due to regional tension in 1949, the bishop placed those scrolls at the Syrian church in New Jersey. In 1954, in a wall advertisement, Bishop Samuel offered the scrolls for sale. Yigael Yadin, son of Professor Sukenik bought the scrolls and placed them in the Museum in Jerusalem. Between 1947 and 1956, eleven Qumran Caves were discovered. Some of the documents and remains found during the excavation include : The community Rule, Isaiah A (8.5 m) and Isaiah B, Habakkuk Commentary, five books of Moses, Jeremiah, Psalms, a copy of the book of Jubilee, Leviticus tefillin, oil lamps, food remains etc. The archaeological excursion to En Gedi and Qumran National Park was a memorable experience and broadened our knowledge on historical findings.


The Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in 1947. Moreover, these oldest copies unveil some of the religious customs of 2 March 2017 - STS - Jerusalem the community in the second temple period. Interestingly, BUDNY Jaroslaw ere at STS, we are already fully immersed into the many biblical scholars assume that John Baptist was part second semester and another archaeological excursion of this Jewish community. The Essenes arrived at Qumran towards the end of the second century but were dispersed by took place on March 2nd 2017. This time we managed to visit three sites located in Judea. Interestingly, all these places are the Romans during the great Jewish revolt. connected to one person, significant for the history of this The two Bedouins shepherds, Jum’a and Muhammed ed-Dib land – King Herod the Great. For us, Christians, he is the belonged to the Ta'amireh tribe. In their search for a stray one who ordered the killing of the infants after the birth of goat, they discovered the first cave and the well preserved Jesus and this is all we generally know about him. Visiting collection of large clay jars containing the old scrolls. They different sites in the land of Israel one can realize that he was sold them to an antiquities dealer at Kando. To satisfy his a very skilful, though cruel political leader. He was the king curiosity the dealer sent them back to the caves in search of Judea from 37 BC to 4 BC and was one of the greatest of other scrolls. To his surprise, they brought back seven builders in the ancient history of this area.



Here we have a city with its fortress that was named after Herod. This already suggests that for this Idumean born king of Judea, it was a very important place. The fortress was located not accidentally on the highest peak of the Judean desert (759 m.) 15 kilometres south from Jerusalem. Herod's desire was to make it possible to see the city of Jerusalem from the top of his new construction. In order to make that happen, some say that the hill size was artificially expanded. At the beginning the seven-story fortress stood on the top of the hill and could be well seen from afar. However, later the walls were covered with earth and so hidden behind this extra layer. Because of this and thanks to its circular shape it resembles a volcano. Some part of the fortress is therefore underground. The fortress was the place of Herod's private castle, with courtyards, rooms, hall for visitors and a bathhouse. It was also connected by a staircase with the lower part of the city, where palace and offices were located. Also in the lower city there were bathhouses, a large Roman garden and an artificial lake where even small boats could be sailed. The water for the lower city was supplied by aqueducts from the pools near Bethlehem. For the fortress, Herod created a net of cisterns that could collect rain water. Also on the north-east side of a slope the Roman theatre was built with a magnificently ornamented royal chamber – where Herod could enjoy plays. This site of the hill is also the burial place of Herod. He did not want to be buried inside the city, because it would make it unclean, therefore a massive monument was constructed on a slope near the staircase. In order to build this, Herod ordered destruction of some storerooms and parts of the theatre. However, today we cannot view this construction, since it was possibly destroyed by his opponents, who did not like his subordination to Romans. Also the sarcophagus found on the spot, once possibly containing his body was demolished along with two other sarcophagi. The location of the Herodium was very strategic, with it’s difficult to conquer fortress and vicinity of the desert road, and its symbolic significance. During the Great Revolt the fortress was taken by the zealots who were fighting the Romans. They spent four years there: 66-70 AD and eventually surrendered to the Romans. During their stay they changed the visitor’s hall into a synagogue and constructed two Mikveh for ritual baths, giving some religious character to the site. Also later, during the Bar Kochba Revolt 132-135 AD, the fortress was a stronghold of the Jews fighting Romans. During this time they used the water system with its tunnels and additional hewn passages in order to surprise the Romans. After the failure of the uprising, the site was abandoned and inhabited only in the 5th century by the monks who constructed four churches in the area. One of them was a small chapel beside the synagogue of the Zealots. In the 7th century, after the Arab conquest, Herodium became an uninhabited ruin. The site was discovered by Franciscan Fr. Vigelio Corbo as a result of the excavations in the 60's, in the 20th century. Later, the works were taken on by professor Ehud Netzer who spent thirty eight years excavating the site. In 2007, he found the place of the tomb of Herod, but unfortunately in 2010 he died tragically on the site during his work as a result of a fall from the height near to Herod's grave. Some people still believe that it is the result of Herod's curse. SOLOMON'S POOLS Here we saw a complex of three ancient pools connected to each other that were the source of water supply for many years. It is located south of Bethlehem on the way to Hebron. There is also a network of aqueducts connected to the pools that bring the water from nearby springs and rain water from the area around. The three pools are constructed on three different levels,

ARCHEOLOGICAL EXCURSION STS Newsletter 15 so when one was full, the water would flow into the other. Although the complex was constructed in the Hasmonean period, the pools were in use until the 20th century, therefore some changes in the constructions were required. The significance of the complex was greater when, during Herod's reign, it supplied water to the temple in Jerusalem and the nearby Herodium. There is no need to add that long lines of aqueducts were constructed by this king. Later some modifications were added by Pilate. Although the pools were constructed during the Hasmonean period, they were named after King Solomon who lived many years before. It is so because of the passage in the Book of Ecclesiastes 2:6, ‘ I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.’ Also Josephus Flavius added something to the story claiming that King Solomon enjoyed the rich waters of Etham that was one of the springs feeding the pools. This, together with the legend, that for all of his 1000 wives, Solomon built a pool, resulted in the fact that the name of Solomon was given to the pools. HEBRON This was the last stop of our archaeological excursion. The City of Hebron is possibly the highest among the biblical places, since is located 900 meters above sea level. The history of the city in the Bible starts very early: Late Bronze (1550-1200 BC). It was the time of the Canaanites and the Patriarchs. In Genesis 13, Abraham comes to Canaan given to him by God and settles in the plain of Mamrewhich is today’s Hebron. Here is also the first piece of land that Abraham bought with money for the burial place of his wife (Gn 23). After this, Abraham (Gn 25) and his sons with their wives who all lived in Hebron were buried in the Machpelah cave (Gn 35) for which Abraham had paid 400 shekels of silver. During the Iron Age I (1200-1000 BC) the Israelites conquered this land after returning from Egypt. In Num. 13 we read that the spies sent by Moses, reported back that the land of Hebron was inhabited by giants. Eventually the city was conquered by Joshua (Joshua 10-13) after defeating five kings in the battle of Gibeon and slaughtering everyone in Hebron. The city was allotted to the tribe of Judah and was one of the refugee’s cities, where murderers could escape (Joshua 20).

ARCHEOLOGICAL EXCURSION STS Newsletter 16 The city of Hebron was an important place in the Kingdom of Israel (Iron Age II (1000-586 BC), because for seven years and six months King David resided there before moving to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 2). There was a growth in the settlement activity in this area in the 8th century BC that was stopped by two invasions: Babylonian and Assyrian. The Assyrian King Sennacheryb came in 701 BC and conquered forty six cities, among them Hebron; however with God's help King Hezekiah defeated him in Jerusalem and he returned back (2 Chro. 31-32; 2Kgs 19). However, in 587 BC the final destruction of Judea came by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon who also completely destroyed Hebron. The area was inhabited by Idumeans who had been driven out of their country by Nabateans. During the Hasmonean and Hellenistic period, Idumeans supported Seleucids and so the Hasmoneans attacked the area of Hebron and forced them to circumcision. In this way the number of the army of John Hyrcanus was increased. Possibly nobody expected that as a result of these political and religious changes the Idumean, Herod, would become the King of Judea. The reign of Herod was very important for Hebron. He is the one who built a monumental structure over the cave of the Patriarchs and therefore established a pilgrimage site that has been used unceasingly for 2000 years. During the Byzantine period eastern part of the structure was converted into a church. After the Arab conquest, the site became a mosque and pilgrimage site, since Abraham and his sons are also venerated by Muslims. For a while during the Crusaders period there was a Church and then when Muslims regained the city it became a mosque; however some features of the church are still visible. After the Mamlukes conquered the city (1267) they added minarets to the structure and also applied some other changes. They also forbid Jews and Christians from entering the compound; they could only go as far as the seventh step of the staircase. This rule lasted for 700 years (1267-1967). Until 1929, the Arabs and Jewish minority lived next to each other, but then as a result of propaganda the tragedy happened. Sixty seven Jews were killed by their neighbours as a result. So the Jewish community was no longer present in Hebron. They tried to come back in 1931, but again because of the violence it was impossible. Only as a result of the Six days war did Israel resettle Jews and the new community was founded in 1971, in the neighbourhood called Kiryat Arba – which is the biblical name for Hebron (lit. it means the town of the four; maybe it refers to the four giants, that the spies sent by Joshua were afraid of). The Jewish presence in the heart of Hebron however can be dated back to 1980, when the first settlers arrived to Beit Hadassah. A place where in the past was a hospital, thus a beginning for a new community. Our visit to Hebron started in Beit Hadassah and in the museum located there, we learnt something about the history of the place, about the excavations of the ancient Hebron and the significance of the city for Jews. After this we moved to the most important place we were about to visit that day – the Tombs of the Patriarchs. Firstly we went to the Jewish zone with its five synagogues where we could see the symbolic tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Leah and Isaac and Rebecca. Afterwards we visited the mosque which is technically in the same building, however because of the political situation, is completely separated. There we could see another symbolic tomb, and that is very important, as Jews and Muslims share one site, which is the tomb of Abraham. We call all the tombs symbolic, because the bodies were placed in the deep caves that nobody can access therefore, so called cenotaphs were set up for the pilgrims to see and venerate. What is very interesting, there is an entrance that could lead to the caves, but however it is blocked out of respect. However, there is just one hole nearby the cenotaph of Abraham that allows Muslims to put down a candle each day. The visit to all these places was very enriching and we were not only able to follow the footsteps of the great builder of the ancient Israel, but also to meet the people who continue to live in the context of a very difficult past. This, particularly in Hebron, where we could meet people of the both sides of the conflict and where tension could be sensed in the air. We need to trust that as human beings we may one day be able to learn from our past mistakes and history that is often is full of bloodshed, so that we may all live together in peace.


“Mere Christianity” and “Jesus Before Christianity: The Gospel of Liberation” 1 March 2017, STS-Jerusalem MULENGA Richard


n the late afternoon of the 01/03/2017, the students of the STS had the pleasure to listen to two of our fellow students who presented books they had read and synthesized. It was an exciting and enriching moment listening and asking questions to our two presenters. In the first place we had Dominic Kapatamoyo, a Missionary of Africa third year student, who presented a book “Mere Christianity”, written by C. S. Lewis. It is organized into four sections, based on several sets of talks that C. S. Lewis gave on BBC radio in the early 1940s. According to our presenter, the first part which he named as Book 1, had the title “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe." Here the author argues for the truth of Christianity based, not on Scripture, but on reason and logic. He states at the end that… “human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. . . . They do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts according to the author are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.” In Book 2 which he called “What Christians Believe,” Dominic stressed that Lewis discusses various views of Good and Evil and of God, defending, of course, the Christian position. He does not shy away from difficult subjects such as why a good God would allow evil in the world or whether Jesus was truly God incarnate. He went on further to present Book 3 entitled “Christian Behavior.” Here, he covered topics such as morality (including social and sexual morality), virtue, marriage, forgiveness, love and hope. Finally, he presented Book 4 called “Beyond Personality: Or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity.” According to Dominic, the author concludes by getting into the deepest theological waters in his work. He wrestles with complex issues such as the three-in-one nature of God, His relationship to time, and how humans can become sons of God (the nature of salvation). In conclusion, our first presenter underlined the writing of the author and his controversial views on Christianity and evolution. He asked whether spiritual redemption might not be the next step in man’s evolution, as Dominic quoted him, “If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Facts. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”


fter a brief session of question and answer, we had our second presenter Olivier Ndayikengurukiye, also a third year Missionary of Africa student. He presented a book written by Albert Nolan, entitled: “Jesus Before Christianity: The Gospel of Liberation.” Nolan was born in 1934 in South Africa. He is a Roman Catholic Priest who joined the Dominican Order in 1954. He divides his book into four parts: In the first, he talks about Catastrophe, in the second about the Praxis, in the third about the Good News and finally in the fourth part, he talks about Confrontation. In his presentation, Olivier made a clear point that the author intended to write a practical work rather than theory or academia. The core of the presentation held that in his book, Albert Nolan indicated that he used the historical– critical method. He emphasises that the aim of this book is not to make the reader a Christian, but rather to let him discover that the life and message of Jesus have a universal character. Olivier further pointed out that the book does not address only those who believe in Jesus, but also every human person. For this reason, any person can and is invited to read this book which “is designed to be read by any person from all walks of life” according to Olivier, in accordance with the author. It was the hope of the author that after reading the book, one of the conclusions may be to have faith in Jesus. However, he insists again that this is not the aim of this book. His interest is in “the man Jesus as he was before he became the object of Christian faith” (pg. 1), the historical Jesus who lived in the Holy Land in the first century A.D. The book tries to see Jesus through the eyes of his contemporaries.

Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu (Encylical Letter, 1943) & Chiara Lubich’s Essential WritingsSpirituality, Dialogue and Culture

29 March 2017 STS-Jerusalem LUSHIBASHI Vernon


wo students; Joel Moreira and Corres Kwak of the STS, Jerusalem Campus of the Salesian Pontifical University had a wonderful opportunity to present two different books. The attendance and the attention shown by the audience (Students and the members of the teaching Staff) during the presentations manifested their interest and willingness in acquiring knowledge.

CREATIVE CORNER STS Newsletter 18 Joel presented the Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XII under the title Divino Afflante Spiritu 1943 on promoting Biblical Studies and compared it with Dei Verbum, Verbum Domini. In the contents of the letter, the presenter asserts that Pius XII is encouraging the historical-critical method, the translation of the Scriptures into the vernacular, but also warns against the dangers into which many theologians of his time had fallen, casting doubt on the authority of the Holy Scriptures as divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. Progress and prudence are the main points that marked the document that would be a consistent basis for later documents, among the most known: Dei Verbum and Verbum Domini. Corres on the other hand, presented the book authored by Chiara Lubich whose title is “Essential Writings”. The author of the book is the foundress of the Focolare Movement. Corres, herself a member of the movement, first presented the structure of the book, its literary genre and then the content. During her presentation, she stressed main points of the author’s spirituality and ministry especially that of unity. Upon finishing the presentations, there was enough time for clarifications and questions. Both presenters answered the questions firmly. This showed that both of them, Joel and Corres, had understood well what they had read in the pages of the books. Moreover, they both invited the audience to read the books presented, for more information.

THE UNDERGROUND MAN Stripped naked with hands bound shackled in leg-irons forced to walk for miles on end he thanked the road menders who smooth the path for his endless marches. Sleeps at night on earthen jail floor on an empty stomach. Lice and scabies covering his skin and the stench of feces - hovering in the air that he breaths. Here is his body out there is his mind in the darkened night dancing with fireflies. He takes heart from just a glance of clear blue skies the swift trail of a bird scent of flowers in the evening view of distant mountains and of simple peasant life. He dreams of women in fields of rice paddies the laughter of little babies and boys running and chasing each other. Oh how dreadful! he sees them later in years - as nuclear men running and chasing each other with a knife and a gun their war just begun. Solitude doesn’t weigh on him among thieves and murderers there concealed a weapon more potent than an atom bomb. The will of the underground man who can forbid him to jot down the loneliness of an hour, the face behind a smile? O glorious beast, What flag shall he bear now? There are only three kinds of men in the world: the bomber, the watcher, and the blown-away. - Minh, SDB

RED SUN DESCENDS Oh, weathered souls – arise from your idle slumber and stand by the sea, there are waves upon waves – crashing in and out of the shore. When evening draws near watch as the red sun descends, it is enough to fill a man’s heart. There is a man with mournful eyes standing on a boat by the Yangtze River seeing the moon in the sky and the trickling stream below he drinks too much too fast he catches the moon too soon. Oh how completely alone he is in this beautiful night – daylight fades and he lets go of this world. Though in youth, our souls are swayed by passions loneliness is more desolating, but don’t be discouraged when you can’t see anything clearly, while your eyes are blurred with tears just remember, for a blind man the night has no end. Come, let us strengthen the bonds of our hearts. Spend our lives to make others smile and sharing each other’s pain. Though we have nothing in our pockets a thousand years from now we will be remembered even in death. - Minh, SDB


Fr. GABRIEL COLNEY, SDB (Shillong, India)


ife after the STS is not the same! It cannot be the same! It’s true and I can bet that for any amount of dollars or euros and even for shekels! Yes, one part of my journey was over but a new one has begun. It began at Agartala, the capital of Tripura a state in India’s North East. I had been asked by the Provincial to be the Vice Principal of our Don Bosco School. A place where I had already been: a land full of water but no stones.

I spent good portion of my time in the school and helping out in the Parish as a Youth animator. I was busier in the school than in the parish and have some good memories to share. The school hours are something that I will never forget for the classes began as early 7.30 a.m, so you can imagine we have to get up early! By 1.30 p.m the school was empty as it’s done for the day and so the whole afternoon was for me to prepare classes and do some other work. In the evening, I would often visit some families and pray with them and at times shared meals with them as well. By May 2016 I was transferred to Shillong – the Scotland of East where the Salesian work began in North East India. I was once again appointed as Vice Principal in St. Anthony’s Higher Secondary School, Shillong and Counsellor to the Brothers doing their higher studies. Unlike in Agartala here the school starts late! St. Anthony’s Higher Secondary School is one of the premier schools in Shillong, and so the desire to excel makes us to work harder and give our best to the students. The school has more than 2000 students with all the three streams of Science, Arts and Commerce. The school is not only noted for excellent results in the exams, but also in many co-curricular activities. We have a noted Sports Academy specializing in Badminton, Football, Basketball, Cricket etc, to name a few, and many clubs where the students explore their talents. The students also take part in various competitions both at State and National level and regularly win accolades for the school. We also get many invitations from other schools or organizations to take part in their programmes and events. In the evening, (from 3.00 pm to 6.00pm) we have another set of students. We give free education to the kids, who cannot afford normal schooling. They are the ones who really make my day. These students are given the same opportunities and facilities of the school, and I am proud to say this year we have our first batch of students who appeared for their Matriculation examinations as regular students. On Sundays, I lend my helping hand in our youth center and in visiting families. The community where I am is known as “Salesian Training Centre.” It is a vibrant community with young confreres preparing themselves to be Salesian priests in the near future. After sharing my life with you as a student at STS, I can truly say that the training that I received is indeed beneficial. If it were not for the teachers and classmates there, the present would not have been possible. Once again thanks for allowing me to share my life postSTS! Most welcome to Shillong. Khublei Shibun (‘Thank you’ in the local Khasi language) and May God continue to bless us all.

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

It was a chilly and windy Wednesday and the skies were threatening to rain, but in the end, to the joy of all the competitors, the weather held out and the annual STS Spring Football Tournament was completed without any interference from the weather. This year the tournament was held at Kraft Stadium at the northern end of Sacher Park. It began soon after 2pm and the action continued until 5pm. It was an afternoon of high spirits for all the students and staff of the STS. The field size allowed for a team of 8 + 1 on each side and the games consisted of two ten minute halves. After the initial round points were tallied, Clusters were leading, but St. Paul and Jazz had to go to a penalty shootout to determine who would face Clusters in the final. In the shoot-out St. Paul defeated Jazz 2-0. The Final match was set between Clusters and St. Paul. After the regular time ran out and the score was still 0-0, the final match went to a penalty shoot-out. It was a tense few minutes for both teams, but in the end Clusters triumphed over St. Paul by scoring 4 penalty shots compared to Clusters 3. The final results as follows: Clusters 13, St. Paul 10, Jazz 5, and Blues 3. It was a great tournament for all the players and we look forward to next year’s competition. A big thanks to Fr. Biju Michael the STS Principal, Br. John Paul Soro SDB, the STS student representative, the class leaders, and the team captains who organized and made this event possible.

For admission and other details kindly contact:

EDITORIAL BOARD Jude Fernando Richard Mwenya Mulenga 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 /

STS News Letter April 2017  

Salesian Pontifical University-Jerusalem

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