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CONTENTS President’s Message 03 Conclusion of the Academic Year 2015-2016 04 Study Trip to Jordan 06 Archeological Excursion 10 Topographical Visit to the City of David 10 Ecumenical visit to the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem 11 Jewish Childhood in the Roman World of Jesus 12 New Books from STS 13 STS Graduates 2015-2016 14 Past Pupils Corner 19 STS Football Tournament 20

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 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 fouryear 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 (SeptemberJanuary 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


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Dear Friends, This has been an eventful year for the Jerusalem Campus of the Salesian Pontifical University. God has blessed us with the first batch of graduates in two Diplomas in addition to the usual Degree graduates. The Diploma in Biblical Geography and History and the Diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism were approved by the University in the summer of 2015. In the field of research and publications, in addition to works of the professors and students published by other publishers, the STS Publications brought out three books and a translation: a) Michael, Biju and Antony Vazhappilly. Mary of Nazareth: Through Poems and Pictures from the Holy Land. Jerusalem: STS Publications, 2016. b) Ferrero, Michele. The Four Gospels in Four Languages: Greek, Latin, English, Chinese. Jerusalem: STS Publications & Beijing: Latinitas Sinica, 2016. c) Michael, Biju, David Rosen, Francesco Giosuè Voltaggio, and Iyad Zahalka, ed. Mercy without Boundaries. Jerusalem: STS Publications, 2016. Studium Theologicum Salesianum translated from Italian the life of a newly canonized saint, Saint Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad: Foundress of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour of St. Bridget, published by the Bridgettine Sisters in Jerusalem. Dreams and visions are alive too. The STS has proposed providing its Diploma in Biblical Geography and History in a Virtual Learning Environment. In May 2016, the Faculty of Theology of the University has approved the proposal. We now await required permissions from religious authorities to get started on realizing this dream. This new initiative tries to follow the advice of Pope Francis to reach out to the peripheries. It is hoped that this Online Diploma would make Biblical studies available to a large number of the people of God spread across the world. In terms of visible fruitfulness, we happily await the Diaconal Ordination of thirteen of our students and the Priestly Ordination of five of our students. Tomasz Sage will be ordained in Poland, Carmel Myrthong, Christopher Lourduswamy, and Clarence Kharmawlong will be ordained in India and Luca De Muro will be ordained in Italy. Bishop William Shomali, the Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem will ordain the thirteen Deacons. The teaching-learning experience has been rich, supplemented by a host of activities and experiences. As always, this issue of our Newsletter reports on the activities and experiences of April-June. We thank God for all the blessings He has showered on us in this academic year. We also place on record, our thanks to all our friends and well-wishers for your kind generosity towards us.

Rev. Dr. Biju Michael President / Principal

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THE CONCLUSION OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2015-2016 Jerusalem, 4 June 2016 Romero D’Souza SDB

On 4th June 2016 STS had the official conclusion of the academic year 2015-2016. We began at 11.00 am in the Don Bosco Hall. The occasion was graced with the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the Apostolic Nuncio & Delegate to Jerusalem, Israel. The first part of the programme began with the hymn to the Holy Spirit Veni Sante Spiritus followed by the words of welcome given by Sr Angela Ridout SJA, the Registrar of STS, in which she gave thanks to the many persons involved in the academic processes of growth in the love of God during the past year. Cl. Dieunel Victor SDB spoke on behalf of the students thanking the outgoing students and thanking the Lord for this year which has been a year of blessing and challenges. This was followed by a video presentation highlighting the important events of the Academic Year 2015-2016 produced by Javier Orengo SDB. Two other speeches followed. The first by Deacon Tomasz Sage sdb (representing the graduating group) who gave thanks to the professors for their help in nurturing them through theological insights, learning and synthesis. He made special mention of Rev. Fr Biju Michael SDB the President, who had been a great source of encouragement by both word and example. He concluded by inviting all the students to hold on to strong will and patience in study and learning for the ultimate goal: Jesus Christ and for the mission.

Ms. Elena Camilleri (representing the first group of graduates of the two new Diploma programmes: Diploma in Biblical Geography and History & Diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism) spoke of her experience of learning and her immersion into the Bible through the classes, visits, guided readings and reflections by the professors of the University. The Chief Guest, Archbishop Lazzarotto awarded the trophy to the winning team (St Matthew) of the STS football tournament held on 28 April. After this he also released the two books from the STS namely Mercy without Boundaries & Saint Maria Elisabeth Hasselblad. The first is published by the STS Publications and the second is an English translation by the STS. In his words of advice and exhortation, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, made two suggestions. Quoting Pope Francis, who in turn cites St. Ignatius of Loyola, who said that it is not knowledge that fills and satisfies but the savouring and tasting of God’s wisdom, which is love. The task for a priest is to share God’s love acquired along with knowledge to all they serve. The second piece of advice also comes from Pope Francis who noted that one cannot be a good educator from the window. True education comes from living among those to be educated and understanding what their life and cares are about.

Bacc alaureate Graduates with Staff

NEWS STS Newsletter 5 Followed by this motivational and inspiring talk we had the presentation of the PONTIFICAL BACHELOR DEGREE IN THEOLOGY and PONTIFICAL DIPLOMAS to the graduating students. The vote of thanks was proposed by the President Rev. Fr Biju Michael, who thanked the staff (teaching and non-teaching) for their dedication, classes, time and availability; and the students for their co-operative and collaborative work and help as well as their efforts to reading and study. He concluded giving thanks to God in the words of the psalmist quoting Psalms 107, 92 and 138. At the end, we sang a thanksgiving Hymn entitled: “Give thanks with a grateful heart…”

The second part of the programme was the sumptuous BBQ lunch on the basketball court, which was a time spent in fellowship and family spirit by students and staff. Steven Redhead claims that life is what one’s heart and mind has pondered most. “In learning and in life we ultimately pursue, not conclusions, but beginnings” and today as we come to the close of our academic year it is only a beginning to take our learnings to the places we go and to live our learning.

Diploma Graduates with Staff

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STUDY TRIP TO JORDAN FROM JERUSALEM TO AMMAN (Day 1) 29 March 2016, STS – Jerusalem By Adam Dupré, SDB

On the morning of March 29 at 6:30am, the students of the STS gathered outside to board a bus that would take them to the Jordanian border. The bus departed shortly after 06:45am and the trip to the border was about two hours. On reaching the border, the students disembark the bus to begin the border crossing process to exit Israel and enter into Jordan. Once in Jordan, and on two buses, the students were introduced to their two guides, Mohammed and Ali, as well as their Tourism Police Officer, Adonis, who would be there to help guide them through the country of Jordan. The first stop was at the ancient city of Pella which was part of the famous Decapolis, a series of 10 cities that were close to one another in language and culture in an otherwise Semitic area on the Eastern edge of the Roman Empire. Pella had been continually occupied since Neolithic times until an earthquake destroyed the city in 750 AD. Christians from Jerusalem took shelter in Pella before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The students and staff of the STS listened to the guides explain

the Greek, Roman and Byzantine histories of the city. They then walked about the city ruins and took photos. The next stop was to another city of the Decapolis, Umm Qais. This place was quite beautiful: it is one of Jordan’s most dramatic antiquities sites. The name of this city was originally called, “Garda” which means “fortification”. In the middle ages the name in Arabic became “Umm Qais” which means “frontier station”. The next visit of the day was to Jerash, also part of the Decapolis. Jerash is considered to be one of the most important and best-preserved Roman cities in the Near East. According to recent excavations, Jerash had been occupied during the Bronze Age. After completing an afternoon of adventure and learning, the STS students and staff went to Amman, the capital of Jordan, where their hotel was located. After finding their rooms the STS group met for Mass in a conference room. Shortly after, they had dinner and then retired for the evening.

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FROM AMMAN CITADEL TO MUKAWIR (Day 2) 30 March 2016, Amman, Jordan By Richard M. Mulenga, M.Afr

In a friendly atmosphere, on the early morning of the 30th March 2016 during our study trip in Jordan, we visited the Citadel of Amman. Our guide gave a rich description about the citadel, the city of many residential units, which were mostly set aside for use by those engaged in the government. What was remarkable about the citadel was that the citadel was believed to have been one of the most important cities during the Roman period. Its particularity is the three religious symbols i.e. The Roman Temple, The Byzantine Church and The Mosque. According to our guide, the remains of the Byzantine Church dates back between the 6th and 7th century (550AD). The Dome or D1 (Mosque) dating between the 7th and 8th century (730AD) was built during the period of the Umayyad and is part of an example of the Islamic city of that time. It was rebuilt by the Spanish archaeologists to its present state. We had an opportunity to visit the Jordan Archaeological museum which contains objects and remains of different periods in history such as stone tools from the Stone Age period. Subsequently, we went to the baptismal site on the Jordanian side. There we read three important Biblical events; the crossing of the Jordan River by the Israelites

(Joshua 3:1-17), the whirlwind: Elisha succeeds Elijah (2Kings 2:1-18), and the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 3:13-17). Besides that, we read some writings of some of the early pilgrims which affirm the site to be the baptismal site of our Lord Jesus. After visiting and reading the scripture passages, we left for Mount Nebo, the mountain believed to be the place where Moses was shown the Promised Land by God. We had our Eucharistic celebration, prayerfully lead with angelic singing. From the top of the mountain, one could see the city of Jericho, the Jordan River, Dead Sea and many other places. Upon finishing our visit on Mount Nebo, we went to Madaba where the map of the Middle East was discovered by a scholar from Jerusalem in 1897. This map is said to have helped in locating some religious places in the Holy Land since, dating back to the 6th sixth century, it is the oldest map of the Holy Land ever found. We ended our day by visiting the Ancient Fortress of Machaerus, the place where John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded by Herod Antipas (Mark 6:14-16).

NEWS STS Newsletter 8 FROM AMMAN THROUGH KERAK TO PETRA (Day 3) 31 March, 2016 Petra, Jordan By: Clement Htun Yan Naing, SDB

At 7:30 a.m. the STS students left from Amman to Kerak (Karak), a city in Jordan known for its Crusader castle, the Kerak Castle. They reached the Castle around 8:30 a.m. and explored it for an hour together helped by the explanation of the guide. Next, the students proceeded to Petra, where they had lunch before entering the city. After lunch, the students experienced Petra, which in Greek means ‘cleft in the rock’: it is one of the “Seven Wonders of the World” and was the capital of the Nabateans. The history of Petra dates back to the 13th century BC; after the 13th Century AD, Petra was lost to time and was not rediscovered until 1812. The Students explored Petra, a red-rose city half as old as time, for at least about four hours. After this precious time in Petra, it was time for the group to go to the Petra Panorama Hotel in Wadi Moussa. After celebrating Mass, the dinner followed and then the students said good night to one another in anticipation of another wonderful day.

FROM PETRA, BACK TO JERUSALEM (Day 4) 1 April 2016, Wadi Rum, Jordan By Patrick Sebyera, M.Afr

After three wonderful days experiencing some of Jordan’s important sites including, Pella, Jerash, the Citadel of Amman, the Baptismal site, Kerak, Madaba, Mount Nebo, the place of the Execution of John the Baptist (Machaerus) and Petra, on the fourth day we set out on our return journey back to Jerusalem.

The last day of our study trip, we visited “Wadi Rum” in South Jordan and “Eilat” in the south of Israel. We had a tour in the desert in jeeps, each jeep carrying six people. This experience allowed us the experience of an amazing view of the desert, on a sunny and windy day. We celebrated Mass and enjoyed our lunch in the desert before proceeding

NEWS STS Newsletter 9

to the border of Jordan and Israel, hoping, if time allowed, to pass by Eilat and visit the Aquarium. Unfortunately by the time we crossed the border, the site had closed and therefore the visit was not possible. However, we had the bonus of passing by the Red Sea, in Eilat. We stopped there for some minutes, to enjoy its terrific view. Wadi Rum, also called Desert Valley, is located in South Jordan. It has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, including Nabateans, leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples. Other inscriptions were made by traders and caravans from Yemen and Arabia as they stopped in the Wadi for water. According to our guide, Mr. Mohamed, Wadi Rum is the richest place in water in Jordan. Wadi Rum may be best known for its connection with the British officer T. E. Lawrence, who passed through several times during the Arab revolt of 19171918. Parts of the historical movie, Lawrence of Arabia was filmed in Wadi Rum. In the 1980s one of the rock formations in Wadi Rum was named “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”

after Lawrence’s book written in the aftermath of the war. In this interesting place there are Bedouins who, working with climbers and trekkers, have made a success of developing eco-adventure tourism, now their main source of income. The area is one of Jordan’s important tourist destinations and attracts an increasing number of foreign tourists, particularly trekkers and climbers, also for camel and horse safaris. Popular activities in the desert environment, include camping under the stars, riding camels and horses, hiking and rock-climbing among the massive rock formations. We thank God for this study trip during which everything went well. For all who collaborated to make it possible, for the knowledge we acquired during our four day trip, for the wonderful views and discoveries in different sites, and for His Divine Providence and protection throughout our stay in Jordan, may the name of the Lord be blessed forever.



STS Newsletter 10

24 April 2016, STS – Jerusalem By Adam Dupré, SDB

publically and declined the Emperor’s offers of titles and land and was ultimately sentenced to death.

On 21 April 2016 the students of STS – Jerusalem, set out on their final Archeological Excursion of the year. For this excursion the students and staff members went to four different places. In the morning they travelled to Neot Kedumim, a nature preserve that has many plants, flowers and trees from biblical times. In the afternoon the students and staff travelled to Lod, to the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and from there made their way to Emmaus Nicopolis and finally to a Cistercian monastery close to Emmaus.

After the visit to Lod, the group travelled to Emmaus Nicopolis, most famous for its mention in the Gospel of Luke chapter 24, where Jesus encounters two of his disciples on their way to Emmaus. Emmaus offered a very strategic point in the area for military and economic means. It is first mentioned in the 1st book of Maccabees in chapters 3-4, when Judas Maccabee is at war with the Greeks. Christians first began venerating at this location during the Crusades. In 1837, due to a dream of St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified, the place of Emmaus was revealed to the Carmelite nuns who bought the land from its Muslim owners. They began to excavate it and found the remains of an ancient city.

At Neot Kedmim, the students and staff were led by a local guide and her two grandchildren throughout a portion of the park. The guide was very knowledgeable and shared stories of the park and how people in biblical times lived off the fruit and produce the plants offered. The students had the opportunity to gather different grains and process them in the same way the people in biblical times would have. After a break for lunch, the STS –Jerusalem group continued by bus to Lod, located just outside of Tel- Aviv adjacent to Ben Gurion Airport. There, the group visited the Greek Orthodox Church where St. George is buried. St. George is a martyr of the 4th century. He was a Christian who fought in the Roman Army but was killed by his fellow soldiers when he revealed that he was a Christian. He was a guard of the Emperor Diocletian who objected to the Emperor’s edict that all Christians in the Army should be arrested and were to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. George objected very

The last visit of the day was to the Trappist Abbey of Latrun. Latrun has a very significant geographical place in biblical history. Its first appearance is in the book of Joshua 10: 1-11. Joshua leads the Israelites in a battle against the Amorites and is victorious. Later in the 1st book of Maccabees, Judas Maccabee sets his camp in Latrun in preparation for the attack on Emmaus where the Greeks were encamped. Today, the Trappist monks have established an abbey there and run a winery and gift shop. This archeological excursion was one to remember. Our brothers of the third year completed their program of Archeological Excursions necessary for their diplomas and degree. Also, in the tradition of the STS – Jerusalem, the students and staff enjoyed a nice ice cream break to mark the last archeological excursion of this academic year.

TOPOGRAPHICAL VISIT TO THE CITY OF DAVID 7 April 2016, STS – Jerusalem By Mwampoteki Joseph, M. Afr.

Once again, the first year students and some from the other year groups enjoyed a Topographical Visit to a very ancient city of David’s Jerusalem close to the Temple Mount. Firstly, we visited the remains of what is believed to be David’s house or palace (cf. 2 Samuel 5:11). Surprisingly, the city which was built in the Bronze Age, was only discovered in 2005, just a decade ago. It is amazing to see the remains of a city built before the existence of the first temple. On the hillside under the house of David there is a stepped stone structure, which seems to support David’s palace. Around the stepped stone structure there are remains of other houses such as the house of Ahiel. The name Ahiel was found in the ruins of the house - that is why it is believed that it was his house. From 1 Chronicles 15:1, we know of houses surrounding David’s house. Astonishingly, there is also a room that is burnt; the burnt remains date back to the time of the first temple destruction (2 Kings 25:8-9). After seeing the City of David, we walked in Hezekiah’s Tunnel, which has flowing water from the Gihon spring.

King Hezekiah diverted this tunnel for military reasons (2 Chronicles 32:4) from its natural tunnel called the Canaanite tunnel, which is higher than Hezekiah’s Tunnel. It was the most interesting part of our visit. We walked for around 40 minutes in the very cool water, which covered at least our feet. Our torches helped to provide light; otherwise, the tunnel is in total darkness. We followed up to the Shiloah pool (2 Kings 20:20). Unfortunately, the Shiloah (Siloam) pool is now a very fertile a garden, indicating just how much water lies beneath it. The Shiloah pool marked the end of our visit. Interestingly, through a different tunnel, which was dry, we came out from this city of David. There was still more to see, but because we live in a time and space, we hope to return in another given time and space. The visit was a beautiful experience guided by Fr. Pol Vonck M.Afr. We thank him for sharing his time and knowledge with us.


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On April 26 2016, the third and fourth year students pursuing the Diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism, were led by Fr. William Russell, the teaching coordinator, on a visit to the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem. The three-hour long visit was aimed at introducing students to a practical and a vivid ecumenical encounter. It envisaged creating the opportunity for students to meet and interact with another Christian family of a different tradition outside their own Catholic milieu (similar to the ones done in the past in interactions with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Syro-Catholic Patriarchal Eparch, and the Greek Melkite Patriarchal Vicar). The group was warmly welcomed to the family of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer by Wolfgang Schmidt, Provost of the German-Speaking Protestant Congregation of Jerusalem. After a short reciprocal introduction, the Provost gave a brief historical background of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem. Shortly afterwards, the group was led to a luxury hall where, in a relaxed manner, it engaged

in an interactive “question and answer session” with the Provost. He answered patiently and generously the different kinds of questions from students, ranging from the leadership organizational structure of the Lutheran Church through to its inner liturgical life, as well as its social, ecumenical and interreligious engagements. One could easily infer from his answers and more importantly, his personality and pastoral attitude, that the Christian faith is indeed essentially one but lived in diverse traditions. When asked to personally state a major challenge to the ecumenical dialogue in Jerusalem, the Provost, singled out the area of Christian ministry. In his view, to be one as a Christian family entails being able to accept the other in his own faith tradition and to give him the due consideration as one’s equal. Restrained by time, the enriching discussions ended with a quick tour of the interior of the Lutheran Church. Happy with the group’s visit, the Provost expressed his willingness to host similar encounters in the near future. The group on its part, was indeed content with such a rich visit and the hospitality shown by the Lutheran family.


Excursion & Conferences STS Newsletter 12

JEWISH CHILDHOOD IN THE ROMAN WORLD OF JESUS 6 April 2016, STS – Jerusalem By: Paolo Negrini, SDB

History does not know any man who has not lived belonging to a particular culture, even Jesus of Nazareth: therefore the study of the cultural environment of the historical Jesus helps us to better understand his humanity, the raw material of his Incarnation. To this fascinating journey, with passion and expertise, Professor Hagith Sivan from the University of Kansas Lawrence, United States, has launched herself. She has worked for decades along two main paths, the world of Late Antiquity and ancient Judaism; and this afternoon, Wednesday 6th of April 2016, has brilliantly carried the STS students along the paths of this history that still has so much to tell and reveal. The Conference was focused on a fascinating topic, on which Professor Sivan is currently hard at work on a large scale project, a topic that has not yet received the attention it deserves: Jewish childhood in antiquity. At the beginning of the 2nd century AD, in the desert region south of the Dead Sea, in what the imperial power of Rome had recently reorganized under the name of the province of Arabia Felix, lived a Jewish child named Jesus, whose story might help us shed light on the childhood of another more famous Jesus, who had lived not far from there, a century before. Dr. Sivan introduced the story of this little boy and his mother Babatha. Following the traces that other explorers before her had left, in a cave on the Dead Sea near Ein-Gedi, was the discovery of a leather pouch containing legal personal documents of this woman. This find allowed researchers to reconstruct her tangled marital and familiar affairs, where mother and son were forced to flee, just as the Holy Family into Egypt, when in 132 C.E., the effective repression of the Roman legions transformed the Jewish revolt of Bar Kokhba into a Pax Romana.

They both died there, in the dark, probably of hunger and thirst, mother and child, probably suffering that same violence with which Herod exterminated the firstborn with the hope of getting rid of that uneasy child King. The story of Babatha and her son, though without annunciation or miraculous births, seems at least in one aspect to be like the story of that Jesus who came to make God’s love the beatitude of the poor and the meek of Jhwh: this like that, are stories of suffering, stories experienced by flesh-andblood men, women and children, who suffered from hunger and cold, forced to flee for their lives, stories in which the will of God did not always shine bright as sunlight that beats on the waters of the Dead Sea or the Sea of Galilee. Through documents of Babatha’s story and of her son Jesus, we know his childhood; but we are historically almost unaware of the childhood of Jesus of Nazareth, under the attentive care of Mary and Joseph. Almost like in a mirror, we know how the human life of Jesus ends, but we don’t know how it ends for the other Jesus: yet even the latter, before the end, would have endured thirst, he must have been wearing rags, and finally closed his eyes throwing out his last breath. Similarly we can imagine Babatha who, like Mary at the foot of the cross of her Son, would have embraced her child and would have followed him in the darkness of death, dark like that cave on the Dead Sea, hoping that a glimmer of light could have beaten from the Eastern foothills of the mountains of Judah, as a gift from God that makes all things new. So, all those who, this afternoon had the courage and patience to follow Professor Sivan on the dark and sunny trails of this old history, came out of this cave with more help to build and nurture a less abstract faith, and know better the One in whom men believe.


SAINT MARIA ELISABETH HESSELBLAD Foundress of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour of St Bridget By Sr Angela Ridout sja

The Booklet, edited by Former Patriarch His Beatitude Michel Sabbah and Rev. Fr. Pier Giorgio Gianazza has now been translated into English. Its publication coincides with the date of St Elizabeth’s Canonization in Rome by Pope Francis, on 5th June 2016. The work was coordinated by the STS Principal, Fr Biju Michael; those involved with the translation were: Joo Sook Kwak (Corres), Paolo Negrini, Hervé Tougma, Matthew Coutinho, Stephen Kuncherakatt, Angela Ridout, and Biju Michael. The Booklet tells the story of Elisabeth Hasselblad, who was born in Sweden to a Lutheran rural middle “Nowfamily almost fifty I came 1870, to class onyears 4thagoJune the fifth of thirteen Rome to die… but In His goodness, children. Her early life was difficult but in spite of God wanted me to fulfil a mission… Now many come from Sweden poverty, the family was and closely knit and this love of from other places to pray, to ask for counsel andcountry ask for spiritual help.” with Elisabeth throughout home and remained “Alllife, through my her life I death was sureat to the hear age of eighty-six. her until the Lord’s voice and I have tried to walk according to His Will.”

Saint Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad Foundress of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour of St. Bridget

H.B. Michel Sabbah Translated by Studium Theologicum Salesianum Jerusalem

(St. Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad)

As a child she loved to pray and read the Bible. She was still young when she had a dream wherein she saw the house of St Bridget, even though at the time she knew nothing of it. This dream left a lasting and decisive impact on her life and through circumstances; it eventually led her to renew the Order of the Most Holy Saviour of St Bridget. The new saint shines as a bright example of faith in God and of complete trust in Him.


A new book by STS Publications was released by His Excellency Giuseppe Lazzarotto on 4th June. The book is edited by Biju Michael, David Rosen, Francesco Giosué Voltaggio and Iyad Zahalka and deals with the boundless mercy of God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.



On the morning of June 1, 2016, Deacon John Christopher Lourduswamy defended his Bachelor of Theology thesis, entitled, “The Word of God as Revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures and Incarnated in the New Testament leads and empowers the Church in her mission.” Sitting on the defense panel examining the thesis of Deacon Lourduswamy were, Rev. Biju Michael, SDB, President, Rev. Leopold Vonck, M. Afr who served as the Tutor and Rev. Andrej Toczyski, SDB who served as Reader.

preaching and teaching. The Deacon answered well, citing that preaching is the initial announcement of the mystery and the teaching is a further development in support of that initial proclamation. After a short recess, the Bachelor of Theology defense panel met and deliberated and then finally awarded Deacon John Christopher Lourduswamy, SDB, the Bachelor of Theology degree.

Deacon Lourduswamy is expected to be ordained to the Deacon Lourduswamy began the 10-minute presentation Order of the Presbyterate on July 9, 2016 in Chennai by the of his thesis by thanking his tutor for helping him in his Most Rev. Soundararaju, D. D. work. His synthesis comprises three chapters wherein he speaks of the theological ideas of revelation, the Word of God, Salvation History, Soteriology and other things. Next, he speaks of the revelation of God in the personal experience of a person, a particular encounter of each individual. God’s word is the revealed truth. The Gospels have a privileged place because they are the written record of Jesus’ teachings and actions. The mission of the Church began with the Incarnation and is moving on even today. The first examiner on the defense panel was Fr. Pol Vonck, Tutor to Deacon Lourduswamy; he commented that the Deacon’s choice of topic for his thesis was truly “allencompassing”, concerning all his studies that were needed in order to write his paper. Fr. Vonck called the work an “unfinished symphony”, a work that inspires others to study the topic more deeply. The question that Fr. Vonck enquired of Deacon Lourduswamy was, “Distinguish between revelation, Word of God and the Bible.” Deacon Lourduswamy answered masterfully. He answered very well and cited from Dei Verbum in showing the distinguishing work of the Word of God and Revelation, while maintaining the fact that all three are integrally intertwined. The next examiner on the defense panel was Fr. Andrej Toczyski, Reader of Deacon Lourduswamy’s thesis, and he posed this question: “What is the relationship between written scripture and the living tradition of the Church?” Deacon Lourduswamy responded that Scripture and Tradition of the Church are vitally important in the Church. He quoted Chapter 1 of St John’s Epistle as well as Dei Verbum and spoke of how tradition developed into the Sacred Scripture. Furthering his defense, he answered that both tradition and scripture are the wellspring of God for the salvation of souls. Lastly, Fr. Biju Michael, President of the defense panel, asked several questions while referring to many pages from the Deacon’s thesis work. Fr. Biju Michael asked if there was any way for the Deacon to distinguish between


DEACON LUCA DE MURO DEFENDS HIS BACCALAUREATE SYNTHESIS 1 June 2016, STS – Jerusalem By: Vladimir Plasek, SDB On June 1st Deacon Luca De Muro successfully passed the Baccalaureate Exam and became a Bachelor of Theology. The topic of his thesis was: “God and the Human Being, a continuous dialogue.” His tutor was Fr. David Neuhaus and the reader Fr. Matthew Coutinho. In his synthesis, Deacon Luca made use of the experience of dialogue of his life, having lived two years in Albania and four years in Jerusalem, there facing the challenges of different cultures, languages and religions (Islam). His synthesis consists of three chapters: Dialogue in the Scriptures, Dialogue in History, and Dialogue at the Second Vatican Council. The first chapter deals with the scriptural roots of the concept of dialogue, analyzing the dialogical approach of God towards humanity, in the life of Noah, Abraham, Moses and the Prophets in the Old Testament and its fulfilment in Jesus and the Apostles. The second chapter traces the development and adaptation of the concept of dialogue in the various philosophical and theological thoughts, from the Classical to the modern era, pointing out the Socratic dialogical method, apology of St. Justin, the dialectical method of St. Thomas Aquinas and finally the concept of “Anonymous Christianity” in the theology of K. Rahner. The third chapter shows the “turning point” that occurred during the second Vatican Council, focusing the attention of the dialogue of the Church with the world of men and where other religions are here described as worthy of appreciation on the side of Church. Deacon Luca concentrated on the first encyclical of Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, in the sense that “the whole history of man’s salvation is one long, varied dialogue.” In his work, Deacon Luca has tried to demonstrate that dialogue is not a new concept born out of the necessity of coexistence with other religions. It is a concept rooted in the very essence of our being that we are created in the image of God, developed in the history of Church as a journey of decisive encounters as milestones with the pinnacle event in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The humanity in

this constant dialogue plays the role of an active participant, not a passive recipient. Tutor Fr. David Neuhaus pointed out that during his fruitful work, Deacon Luca made good choices to grasp the crucial points without losing the view of entirety of many ideas and personalities. He also remarked that the synthesis opened many questions that might lead to answers in future, especially related to the continuity and novelty of the dialogue. Deacon Luca answered that the history of the Church was always a kind of “tension”. Therefore also the second Vatican Council was not a rupture with the history of the Church, but a novelty in taking a new approach. The concept of “monopoly of salvation”, thus obtaining a new light “without Christ there is no salvation”. The salvific mission of Christ, the Paschal mystery, is the aim for all, not only for Christians. Thus the term ‘People of God’ is to be considered as it opens new horizons in terms of the ecumenical dialogue, interreligious dialogue and dialogue with atheists. To the question of the reader Fr. Matthew Coutinho, “Which are the key elements of proclamation that can never be compromised in dialogue?” Deacon Luca responded that the essential points are connected with addressees of the dialogue and therefore it is the modality that is changing, but we cannot speak about non-negotiable elements. The question of Fr. Biju Michael, the head of the examining commission and Principal of the STS and answer of Deacon Luca led to an important element, that there is a role in circumstances and the historical moment can challenge us to reflect how to deal with persons. The circumstances do not build the identity, but the dialogical dimension is the proper element of every relationship. We have to incarnate the personal core relationship of God to create dialogue with another person.



In a packed examination hall in the Jerusalem Campus of the Salesian Pontifical University, Deacon Carmel Myrthong from India successfully completed his final Baccalaureate Exam. The theme of his Theological Synthesis was: “The multiform analogy of the Word of God: eternally existing in the Trinity, temporally creating and animating the world, incarnate in Christ for a person’s salvation in the fullness of time, preserved and proclaimed by the Church inside and outside for universal salvation.” Deacon Carmel did the research under the guidance of Professor Pier Giorgio Gianazza. In addition to the Tutor, the examination commission had Professor Gianni Caputa as Reader and the Principal, Biju Michael as the President of the commission. Deacon Carmel presented the theme to the audience and then faced a series of interesting questions from the examination commission. Deacon Carmel

answered questions on how he would engage as a Catholic in ecumenical dialogue with Protestants who hold position of, sola Scriptura, sola fide and sola gratia. He then went on to answer the question on valid and reliable methods of hermeneutics in interpreting the Word of God. Further discussion brought him to the theme of the word of God preached in the liturgy of the Church and to the limitation of official, ministerial preaching of the Gospel being limited only to ordained ministers. The divergent interpretation of the Old Testament by Christians and Jews in the understanding of the Trinity was also discussed. At the end of this rich discussion, Carmel was declared Bachelor of Theology, thus bringing to a glorious and fruitful conclusion, his four years of study in the Holy Land. Deacon Carmel is expected to be ordained Priest by Bishop Victor Lyngdoh on 30 October 2016 in his home parish of Christ the King, Sonapahar in the Diocese of Nongstoin in northeast India.



On May 31st, Deacon Tomasz Karol Sage successfully passed the Baccalaureate Exam and became a Bachelor of Theology. The topic of his thesis was: “No one is more human than Christ. Humanity and its vocation in the light of Christ who is the image of the Father, the centre of creation and the perfect human.” His tutor was William Russel and the reader Karol Kulpa. Tomasz based his theological synthesis on good knowledge of the teaching of the Church, Church Fathers and opinions of theologians, both medieval (T. Aquinas, D. Scotus) and contemporary (W. Kasper, H. U. Von Balthasar, J. McQuarrie, K. Rahner, T. de Chardin). Deacon Tomasz was, in his theological synthesis, motivated by the question as to whether it is legitimate to say that no one is more human than Christ and if so, in what sense he may be described as more human than human beings. He developed this theme in five chapters: Christ, the image of the Father. Christ, the centre of all creation, Christ the perfect human, No one is more human than Christ and finally Humanity and its vocation. He referred to Vatican II and St. John Paul II with the central idea, that we cannot know who the man is if we do not understand properly the humanity of Christ. This supported the fact that main part of his synthesis, the first three chapters, are the Christological part, the fifth chapter is the anthropological part and the fourth chapter is the bridge between them with the conclusion how Christ, the perfect human, can be a relevant model for the contemporary young people. In his work, he shows us why we call Jesus the perfect image of the Father. He discussed Anselm’s question: “Why did God became man?” in the view of two approaches, Thomist and Scottist and left possible reconciliation of both views as a challenge for the contemporary theologians. He explained well the term “kenosis” in terms of the humiliation of Christ, who laid aside the “privileges” of being divine to become truly human and reached the extreme in the shameful death on the cross. Part of the title of this work is shown to be inspired by the words of St. Irenaeus of Lyons: “The Father is the invisible of Son, but Son the visible of the Father, therefore Jesus Christ is the image of the Father.” (p.34). Deacon Tomasz further presented the Paschal Mystery as the central event that points out our origin

and mission in the universe and Christ as the crown of all creation, who in perfect response to the Father, became the best example for us. Without the Paschal Mystery we could not understand how to reach full humanity. One of the arguments for presenting Christ more human then we are is that he was without sin, which dehumanizes us and damages us. In the last chapter he presented the mission of redeemed man following Christ and announcing salvation to everyone in the universe, with hope that through the resurrected body we may reach the beatific vision with all of creation. In this way, Mary without sin, but still a human being, is a masterpiece of God’s salvation. To Fr William Russel’s question, “How to present Christ to young people today?” Deacon Tomasz’ answer was inspired by Cardinal Ratzinger’s two suggestions. Firstly, that the pierced side of Christ, where the new humanity began, brings us back to the side of Adam, where the original vocation of God was revealed, He created us out of love. Secondly, the outstretched hands of Christ on the cross, where he gave praise to God and embraced the humanity, lead us to our mission to worship God and serve all humanity, especially those at the peripheries, as Christ is described in serving the Samaritan in the Gospel. The Reader, Fr. Karol Kulpa asked a question on how getting closer to Jesus through a spirituality of devotion to Mary can be presented as biblically sound. At the end of the questions and answers from the whole commission, Fr. Biju Michael, the Principal declared the successful candidate a Bachelor of Theology.



On the morning of the 31 May 2016, the feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, Deacon Clarence Kharmawlong defended his theses “God became man so that man could become the son of God” (Athanasius). The incarnation reveals the Holy Trinity’s project of eternal love for humanity and in Christ manifests the model of a new human being.” On the examining panel was Rev. Fr. Biju Michael, Principal of the of the Studium Theologicum Salesianum Jerusalem campus, Professor Fr. Giovanni Caputa and Rev Fr. Eric Wyckoff. After a wonderful introduction and presentation of the Deacon by the Principal, Deacon Clarence led us in a prayer from the Epistle to the Hebrews, which he had used as inspiration for his thesis. Thereafter, the Deacon had some ten minutes to present the summary of his thesis, which he did in a comprehensive way. Prof Rev. Fr. Caputa, Deacon Clarence’s tutor gave an appreciative and critical review of the work done by

Deacon Clarence. Prof. Caputa asked on what response could be posed to answer the critical situation of dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and Christians and Jews. In response Deacon Clarence showed the different faith backgrounds for each of the three religions and expounded on the theological visions of Exclusivism, Inclusivism and Pluralism and its consequences. The reader, Rev. Fr. Eric Wyckoff, appreciated the work and also gave critical remarks to help improve the work. After giving his view on the thesis, Prof. Eric Wyckoff asked two questions which were well answered by Deacon Clarence. The principal, Fr. Biju Michael, also showed support with an appreciation of the work and he also asked some questions. One of which was, “How is Christ seen as a model in the human practice of virtues?” Impressively, the Deacon answered very well and duly graduated as a Bachelor of Theology.


STS Newsletter 19

By Giuseppe Di Sario

As soon as I left the nest of STS Jerusalem, I was ordained a Priest on the 22nd of June 2013, after which I was sent immediately to the place of my next obedience: Napoli. There I spent two full and intensive years that I will never forget. I was in charge of two different activities, in two different places. First, in the morning I worked in a centre called “Le Ali”, in which we had a very interesting project, thought and developed by a very old but committed and enthusiastic Salesian: don Alfonso Alfano. We took sixteen year old boys and girls, drop outs who had left school for different reasons and we proposed to offer them a project and path at the end of which they could eventually obtain a professional certificate of cook, waiter or receptionist. It was interesting and amazing seeing these young people without any hope and with big and huge problem rising again and flourishing. It took a lot of my energy but it taught me a lot and for sure this experience enriched me. In the afternoon I was in charge of a youth centre next to a Salesian parish in a very poor and difficult quarter of Napoli in which the “camorra” (the Napolitano Mafia) reigns and makes everything bad. It was hard work

to establish some rules and make the centre a reliable and safe place. The key word was sharing, in fact before doing anything I tried to share the life with these people. As I said, it was not easy but at the end it was successful. People started to rely on us and in two years, helped by amazing lay collaborators, we built a wonderful youth centre where we took care of the boys and girls of the quarter, together with their families. After these two intense years, I applied for the missions and the Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation sent me to the Middle East Province. At this moment I am in Cairo, Egypt, where I am trying to learn Arabic whilst helping in our Technical High School where I work as a catechist and am responsible for pastoral activities. In a place where the contrast between different religions and confessions is very evident, we try to make our boys experience the beauty of sharing, going beyond the differences. Here again the key word is sharing! The boys in Egypt are amazing: in our school they find a high level education, together with human formation and a house where they can grow together. It is not easy, but I like it!!

STS FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT 27 April 2016, STS – Jerusalem Mathew Kurian, SDB

After many nail-biting moments and tough battles, the ‘Matthew’ Team was victorious in the STS football tournament, obtaining nine winning points. Hervé, the team captain, scored five goals in an outstanding performance.

Encouragement and cheers poured out from the 20 STSamong Newsletter spectators as a great number of the STS staff came to watch the games. Everyone in unison, acknowledged and appreciated the initiative and organization of Chege Erastus (the student representative of STS) along with his

The much-awaited STS football tournament was held on Wednesday afternoon in the Kraft Family Stadium, Jerusalem. Four teams named after the four evangelists – Mathew, Mark, Luke and John – came face to face with one another in various encounters, brimming with excitement and passion. Each team played against the rest of the other three teams for 25 minutes each. The winning team in each match obtained three points, whereas when it ended in a draw, each team carried one point each.

EDITORIAL BOARD Adam Dupré Vladimir Plasek James Raj Richard Mulenga Angela Ridout Cover & Design: Pushparaj

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STS Newsletter June 2016  


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