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Vol III, No.1, 2015
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 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 (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 www.jerusalem.unisal.it We also have a well furnished, computerised library containing over 36,000 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 email@example.com
CONTENTS ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
President's Message: Opening of the Academic Year 2015-2016: Induction Programme for New Students: Inaugural Mass for the Academic Year: Dies Academicus: Inauguration of Pontifical Diplomas: Rev. Dr Pier Giorgio Gianazza becomes Prof. Emeritus: Conference on Commemoration of 50 Years since Vatican II: STS Football Tournament: Assembly of the Students & Staff: Judaism Focus Lectures& Experiences: Topographical Visits: Archaeological Excursions& Study Trip: Creative Corner: Alumni Voices: Congratulations & Welcome:
03 04 07 10 12 15 16 17 19 20 21 26 30 35 41 43
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE Dear Friends God’s blessings on us have been abundant. The academic community of the Studium Theologicum Salesianum this year has students from 27 countries (based on Passport) and 26 professors from 16 countries. Together with the professors, the academic community is composed of representatives from 36 nations. The highlight of God's blessings at the end of last academic year was the approval of the two new Diploma courses. The STS students can now qualify not only for a Pontifical Bachelor Degree in Theology, but also for two Diplomas, namely, a) Diploma in Biblical Geography and History, and b) Diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism. These Diplomas are open to students of the Degree programme as well as to those interested in obtaining only the Diploma/s.
CHRISTMAS AND ITS MESSAGE FOR OUR STUDY OF THEOLOGY Christ, the eternal Truth became a human being at Christmas. Each Christmas we celebrate this great event in human history. What can we learn from Christmas with regard to studying Theology? Theology, as “faith seeking understanding,” investigates the great questions of life in the light of revelation. Christian revelation insists that all human beings (as also all creation) come from the creative act of one God who is the Father of all. It also insists that we all have a common destiny identified as union with God. Between these two points, namely, our origin and our destiny - lies the important question of how we should live our lives. “Love your neighbour as yourself” is the revealed principle available to us. It is also intrinsically linked to our destiny. In theologically reflecting on how we should live our lives in the present, Christmas gives an example of how God has acted. Among many things, one that strikes us is that at Christmas, God challenged the status quo. The status quo was that human beings who were created by God had, through sin, separated themselves from their eternal destiny. God challenged this status quo when he decided to send His Son into the world to alter the situation, to create a better future, to bestow the gift of resurrection and life eternal. If God sought to improve the situation, theology and students of theology cannot but seek to do so. One will not feel the need to improve the situation unless one is ready to pose questions challenging the status quo. One will not feel the need to challenge the status quo, unless one opens his/her eyes to the plight of the downtrodden, the weak, the marginalized of society. One will not feel the need to stand up for the marginalized unless one believes in the Fatherhood of God, which, makes us all brothers and sisters and therefore people possessing equal inherent dignity. Insensitivity to the plight of the weak person is easy when we consider the other as alien or less than we are. It is only when we begin to see the other as our brother/sister will we be able to love them and stand up for them. This is what we can learn from Christmas. God so loved the world that he sent His only Son as a child to Bethlehem (cf. 1 Jn 4:9). Let this Christmas celebration enable us to envision a future full of hope and may it give us the courage and strength to leave our havens of comfort, and be born among our brothers who are suffering injustice, inequality and discrimination around the world. Let our study of theology rise to pose questions and find answers that will enable us to commit our lives to a better future for our suffering brothers and sisters - just as Jesus did at Christmas. Remember that no one gives what he/she does not have. Let us not forget that for a minister of souls, deep study of one's faith accompanied by prayer and reflection, are necessary preparation to serve the neediest(cf.1Pt 3:15;1Th 3:23.) “Would you rush to Bethlehem, to Mary, Joseph and the child, To the humble and simple, homeless and by poverty silenced? Would you proclaim the good news like the shepherds who amazed all, Ponder and treasure the word, glorify and praise God for all?” Wishing you all a grace filled Christmas and New Year 2016, Rev. Dr Biju Michael, sdb President/Principal |3
OPENING OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2015-2016 Jerusalem, 16th September 2015.
The students and staff (coming from 34 nations) of the Salesian Pontifical University's Faculty of Theology in Jerusalem opened the new academic year with the celebration of the Word of God led by Rev. Fr. Aloysius Ssekamatte, M.Afr., Rector of Formation of the Missionaries of Africa seminarians in Jerusalem. This was followed by a time of fellowship over coffee and snacks. In the ceremony that followed in the Don Bosco Hall, Rev. Fr. Andrew Wong, the Rector of the Salesians, gave the words of welcome. Rev. Sr. Mary Colman, FSE, the Registrar of the STS, presented the report of the past academic year. The new students were introduced to the assembly by Rev. Dr. Eric Wyckoff. Rev. Dr. Gianni Caputa introduced the new teachers. Deacon Tomasz Sage was presented the cash award for the highest scoring student in the third year and Paul Chu and Andrea Lupi were recognized for scoring the highest marks in the second and first year respectively. Rev. Dr. Biju Michael, President of the STS declared the new academic year open. The keynote address was given by Rev. Dr. David Neuhaus, SJ, Patriarchal Vicar for the Hebrew Speaking Catholic Community, Jerusalem, who is also a lecturer at the STS. The text of the keynote address reproduced below.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO STUDY the language. Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “God becomes known through the dialogue which he THEOLOGY TODAY? Theology means talking about God. It means finding the right words to say God. This has been a central part of the mission of the Church from her inception. This means of course that many generations have preceded us in this endeavour, struggling to find the right words to say the One who is beyond all words yet who speaks to us in human words. For us, as Christians, not only does God speak in words but He comes to us as an Incarnate Word, this being the heart of the specificity of Christian theology. Speaking about God is the mission of the priest in the Church in a special way as he is called to proclaim and preach. What does this mission mean today? Undoubtedly, the first step is to listen. We cannot speak unless we have listened closely and learnt |4
desires to have with us” (Verbum Domini, 6). God initiates the dialogue in prayer and without prayer theology is nonsense. It is in prayer – listening to God and responding to His call – that we first learn the language that is used in this dialogue. Jesus, the Incarnate Word, is our teacher of prayer and therefore of the language in which we might speak to God and about Him. In this teaching, based upon the Jewish Scriptures he meditated upon unceasingly, he teaches us to say “Our Father who art in heaven”. In fact, most of us began our formal studies of theology when we began to learn by heart the Our Father prayer.
God has revealed the language of God in the Scriptures, defined as Sacred by the Church and meditated upon throughout the generations in the Tradition. As the Second Vatican Council, whose
50 anniversary we celebrate this year, declares, the very “primary and perpetual foundation” of theology is the “written word of God, together with sacred tradition” (Dei Verbum, 24). Studying theology means learning the language of Scripture and Tradition as spoken by the Church – its vocabulary, syntax and grammar. Scripture and Tradition as taught by the Church, enables the theologian to speak sense. That is why we are here. If I want to work in China, I must learn Chinese and if I want to listen to God, speak to God and speak about God, I must learn the appropriate language. However, our role as students of the language in which we must speak about God is made more complex because of the world in which we live. Every generation has its challenges to make this language coherent and meaningful. The Church Fathers were challenged to make theology meaningful to Jews (who rejected Christ), pagans (who did not recognize God as unique Father and Creator) and philosophers (who invented their own language to do God talk rather than listening to the Scriptures). Our generation has its own challenges. For many in our world today, God talk is simply irrelevant and the word “God” has become meaningless. For others, the cacophonous plurality of religions and ideologies offers a multiplicity of God-talks that hide God's presence and drown out His voice. We need to admit that the lack of conformity between the language of Christ and the acts of those who make claim to his name as Christians has also contributed to the crisis we are in. This should remind us that we are not only learning to listen and talk as theologians but we are also bearing witness in the acts of our daily lives that proclaim the authenticity, coherence and truth of our talk about God.
upon merely human wisdom and no small degree of arrogance, our own imaginations and selfgenerated words. Idolatry is alive and well in the production of God-talks that are not based upon lives of faithfulness and holiness in a living encounter with Him. Indeed, the true theologian is the saint whose life has been transfigured by the Incarnate Word. Only those who do theology in the shadow of his Cross, contemplating the Crucified One who reveals God's love can talk about God as Christians. Only those filled with the Holy Spirit can find the right words to proclaim the Gospel. As Pope Francis has said: “The Holy Spirit (…) grants the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness (parrhesía) in every time and place, even when it meets with opposition. Let us call upon him today, firmly rooted in prayer, for without prayer all our activity risks being fruitless and our message empty. Jesus wants evangelizers (and theologians I dare to add) who proclaim the good news not only with words, but above all by a life transfigured by God's presence” (Evangelii Gaudium, 259). Finally, we can hope that this new year that is beginning in our study of theology, be a year that deepens our faith, fertilizes our prayer life, expands our horizons, makes us ever more sensitive to the poor and suffering, strengthens our commitment to follow Christ, fills us with the Holy Spirit and ultimately emboldens us to be joyful disciples, communicating the victory of the Resurrection in our words and lives.
The challenge we face is not only to talk about God but to give God a voice in a world in which He has been marginalized and from which He has even been expelled. We can only do this if we radiate the words we speak. Talk about God that is not based upon lives transfigured by the encounter with Him is talk about idols, false gods that we conjure up, based |5
The message of Rev. Fr. Aloysius Ssekamatte, M.Afr., given during the celebration of the Word of God during the opening of the academic year is reproduced below. (The readings were: Acts 2:1-4; Jn 14:15-17,26.)
GOD IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL The Psalmist says “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labour; If the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil.” (Ps 127,1-2) We are gathered this morning for this prayer at the beginning of the academic year to acknowledge that God is the foundation of all that we want to do this academic year and without God our efforts will be in vain. We pray for the gift of God's Spirit, particularly for the gift of wisdom so that we may use our talents to penetrate the mystery of God and prepare ourselves adequately to serve and to play our part in finding answers to the real questions that our brothers and sisters are asking today. The first reading starts by indicating the context“the apostles were all together in one place.” They were gathered in obedience to a command “not to leave Jerusalem”, they also supported each other during the difficult moment marked by fear, and they were also temporarily separated from the others while awaiting the promise of the Father. We too are gathered in order to support one another to realise the task set for us during this academic year. Unity is strength so let us pray that the Spirit of God will keep us united. We are not competitors struggling to eliminate the others in order to win but disciples journeying together so when we are united we are all winners. The Spirit is symbolized as “the rush of a violent
wind” and as “tongues of fire”- these symbols allow us to refer back to the gathering of Israel in Is 66:15-20 where we find a similar manifestation. Among other things both symbols indicate the driving force, the power to purify and transform. We pray particularly to be empowered by the Spirit of God and to allow ourselves to be transformed by him. In the Gospel, the Spirit is presented as the advocate, who the unbelieving world does not know, but we know him because “he abides in you.” “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.” Reminding in this context refers to “the ability of the disciples to understand the true significance of the words and deeds of Jesus before his resurrection.” Precisely what we do in Theology; so let us pray that the Spirit will teach us and enlighten us during this academic year, that the Spirit will stand by us to support us with his gifts of wisdom and understanding as we dedicate ourselves to understand Jesus' teaching and move forward to be Jesus' witnesses, not only with our words but also by our way of life. May the Spirit of God come upon us to strengthen us, keep us united in our search for the truth and keep us focused on God as the foundation and goal of our academic endeavours.
INDUCTION PROGRAMME FOR NEW STUDENTS The induction programme that begins the new academic year continues through lectures and experiences specially planned for the new students to better introduce them to the new milieu of their study and life. INDUCTION PROGRAMME 11th September 2015, Jerusalem STS Adam DuprĂŠ SDB
At 09.00, the new students of the Studium Theologicum Salesianum were introduced to the academic setting of the STS. The morning was led by Fr. Biju Michael, SDB, STS President. Fr. Biju introduced the Rector of the Salesian Monastery, Fr. Andrew Wong, SDB and the Registrar Sr. Mary Colman, FSE.
ANTHUVAN Pushparaj, sdb
CAMILLERI Elena, focolare
CHINCHA Eduardo, sdb
DUPRE Adam, sdb
FERNANDO Jude, sdb
LAZRI Odise, sdb
LEIDINGER Miriam, lay
MULENGA Richard, m.afr
UFOYURO Bosco, m.afr
WARNAKULASURIYA Jerone, sdb
MWAMPOTEKI Joseph, m.afr
OLIVIERA SILVA Cristovao, nds
YAN NAING Htun Clement, sdb
STS Family |7
NEWS Sr. Mary Colman explained to the students what documents were needed to formally enroll in the STS. Soon after Sr. Mary's introduction, the students were introduced to Fr. Lionel Goh, OFM. Fr. Lionel spoke about what a privilege it is to live in and study Theology in the Holy Land. He explained briefly, the history of the Holy Land. He took the students on a lectured history tour and included the many exiles of the Jewish people, the many fallings of the City of Jerusalem, and the great history of this wonderful City. During a brief break with coffee, tea and snacks, the students posed for pictures individually and as a class. After the break the students returned for one more session with Fr. Biju Michael.
Salesianum. It is run through a European style of Education. Fr. Biju explained the importance of building good study habits. These good habits will follow the students as they progress in their studies but also in their ministry. He exemplified this process as seen in the life of St. Don Bosco. He encouraged the students to form study groups and to study and do homework in the library so as to encourage one another. Before dismissal the students were told of the schedule for the coming week. The following day the students would visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the afternoon. On Monday the new students would be formally enrolled in the University and select their classes.
He spoke to the students about the system of education that governs the Studium Theologicum
MASS IN THE HOLY SEPULCHRE 18 September 2015
The new students of the STS experienced one of the most owe inspiring moments in the Holy Land when they got the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the Holy Tomb of the Lord. Rev. Fr Matthew Coutinho, our new professor of Moral Theology was the celebrant.
WALK THROUGH THE JEWISH NEIGHBOURHOOD 13th October 2015, Jerusalem, STS Clement Yan Hing SDB
The afternoon of 13th October 2015, the 1st year students and some senior students of the Faculty of Theology, Jerusalem Campus, had a guided walk through the Jewish neighbourhood to the Synagogue and Shalom Hartman Institute. The students were led by Dr. Marcie Lenk, Director of the Christian Leadership Programme at Shalom Hartman Institute. Firstly, we went to the Yeshurun Central Synagogue. Inside the Synagogue, Dr. Marcie Lenk explained about the history, nature and liturgical celebration of the Synagogue and answered some questions
concerning the Synagogue. Next we were guided to the Jerusalem Great Synagogue in front of which, Dr. Marcie Lenk gave an explanation of it before proceeding to the Shalom Hartman Institute. Again Dr. Marcie Lenk explained about the history, nature and function of the Institute. We were then allowed to see and read the TORAH SCROLL written in the Hebrew language inside the Robert KoGod Campus. This was a most precious of experiences for us students to understand and have a clearer vision of Judaism.
HISTORY OF ISRAEL AND PALESTINE 26 October 2015, Jerusalem, STS Adam DuprĂŠ SDB On Monday, 26 October, Dr. Marcie Lenk presented the history of the situation between Israel and Palestine to the students of STS. Dr. Lenk elaborated her presentation on the demographics of the region where Israel is located as well as the composition of the lands that make up the Holy Land. She went on to explain the situation of the West Bank and Gaza to the students. Since the students of the STS come from varied backgrounds, this is important for them to have a general understanding of the history of Israel and Palestine, as well as the existing tensions between the two countries. This was demonstrated by dates and details of events that featured in her presentation. |9
NEWS INAUGURAL MASS FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR OF THEOLOGATES IN JERUSALEM 5th October 2015, Jerusalem, STS Minh Dang SDB
On 5th October 2015, the Theological Institutes of Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (SBF), Studium Theologicum Hierosolymitanum (STJ), and Studium Theologicum Salesianum (STS) met at St Saviour Church, near New Gate - Jerusalem for the Mass of the Holy Spirit at 9:00 am. The main celebrant for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist was Bishop William Shomali. The students and the staff were present for the opening of the academic year 2015-2016. The intention for the Mass was to ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. During the homily, the Bishop stressed the importance of studying theology in order to have knowledge and wisdom; basing himself on the gospel he reminded us to be the good example and witness of the Good Samaritan. He further reminded us of the responsibility and duty as students and staff, so as to be of service and of love to the mission and ministry. He also made a reflection on the meaning and the gift of relationship, of and between the
staff and the students. The Mass was accompanied with lively and praiseworthy music by the STS and the animation for the Mass was well animated by the Franciscans. The Mass was followed by a friendly, informal gathering, with refreshments at the Custody. At the end we greeted each other a year full of joy and fraternity. It was a wonderful feeling to come upon a place full of spiritual vitality and earnestness and peace.
BISHOP WILLIAM SHOMALI'S MESSAGE TO THEOLOGIANS IN JERUSALEM Homily delivered at the Mass of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem on 5 October 2015
Dear brothers, dear sisters, dear professors of the SBF, STS, Seminary of the Custody. Reading and rereading the passage of the Good Samaritan, I asked myself: how can I reconcile this reading and the special circumstances of the celebration today? What does this gospel communicate to the professors and students of theology and biblical theology, studying and teaching in the holy city? I discovered an interesting element. The person who came to ask Jesus: "What must I do to inherit eternal life and who is my neighbor" is a doctor of law, a person who spent his whole life to read, study, meditate on and explain the Torah or the word of God. In a way, this person is very close to the majority of us who are students or teachers of |10
the word of God. Of course, there is a big difference between us and him. The lawyer came with the intention of putting Jesus to the test; we, on the other hand, believe that Jesus has the words of eternal life. Jesus seems to tell us: it is not enough just to study
the Bible. Biblical sciences alone will not give us salvation. It is necessary to live the teachings of the Bible. The essence of the love of God consists in living the love of our neighbor. But what is surprising in the parable is the fact that our neighbors may be our enemies, whom we must make our neighbors.
physically, morally and spiritually. Jesus invites us to rediscover the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, to teach the ignorant, to admonish sinners, to comfort the afflicted, to forgive offenses, to bear with patience troublesome people, to pray to God for the living and the dead.
Jesus seems to repeat to us today that it is not enough to have knowledge. We must also have love. Knowledge and love complement each other as faith and works. We find the combination of knowledge and love in the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians: “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-3)
For us priests there is a work of mercy par excellence, of which the parable of the Good Samaritan is a prophetic announcement. We are endowed with the power, on behalf of the Father, to heal the people wounded by sin. The wounds of sin are not less serious than bodily injury.
Let us take another step in the understanding of the parable of the Good Samaritan and ask ourselves: "who is the Good Samaritan?” The Good Samaritan first of all is Jesus who has come close to humanity wounded on the roads of the world. Jesus, being the son of God, leaving the heavens has approached humanity wounded by sin. He himself was wounded, being in solidarity with us all. And by his wounds we have been healed. Jesus is the Good Samaritan. Pope Francis wrote in the apostolic letter on the Jubilee of mercy: “Jesus, seeing the crowds of people who followed him, realized that they were tired and exhausted, lost and without a guide, and he felt deep compassion for them (cf. Mt 9:36). On the basis of this compassionate love he healed the sick who were presented to him (cf. Mt 14:14), and with just a few loaves of bread and fish he satisfied the enormous crowd (cf. Mt 15:37). What moved Jesus in all of these situations was nothing other than mercy, with which he read the hearts of those he encountered and responded to their deepest need. When he came upon the widow of Naim taking her son out for burial, he felt great compassion for the immense suffering of this grieving mother, and he gave back her son by raising him from the dead (cf. Lk 7:15)” (MV 8) Jesus asks us to actualize in our lives the vocation to be a Good Samaritan in the practice of the works of mercy towards those who suffer
“I will never tire of insisting”, says the Pope, “that confessors be authentic signs of the Father's mercy. We do not become good confessors automatically. We become good confessors when, above all, we allow ourselves to be penitents in search of his mercy. Let us never forget that to be confessors means to participate in the very mission of Jesus to be a concrete sign of the constancy of divine love that pardons and saves. We priests have received the gift of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins, and we are responsible for this. None of us wields power over this Sacrament; rather, we are faithful servants of God's mercy through it. Every confessor must accept the faithful as the father in the parable of the prodigal son: a father who runs out to meet his son despite the fact that he has squandered away his inheritance” (MV 17). Dear brothers and sisters, Today's Gospel speaks not only to the doctor of law but also to us students and teachers of theology. Let me conclude affirming that love is not extrinsic to teaching. On the part of the professors, it is a real act of love to prepare well the lessons and to transmit the knowledge of God to our students. I repeat the same for the students: it is a real act of love to listen well, to try to understand, to learn well to be able to convey the truth to the people of God. To be effective in your mission the professor must love his students and the students their professors. Friendship helps much both to communicate and to receive. Dear professors and dear students, I wish all of you a year full of academic success. May the life and activities of the year unfold in an atmosphere of joy and friendship.
DIES ACADEMICUS: THE SYNOD ON THE FAMILY AND ITS INTERPRETATION OF “THE VOCATION AND MISSION OF THE FAMILY IN THE CHURCH AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD” 19 November 2015, Jerusalem Adam Dupré SDB, Jarek Budny SDB, & Romero D'Souza SDB
On 19 November 2015, the occasion of the Annual Day - DIES ACADEMICUS, the Jerusalem Campus of the Salesian Pontifical University (STS), hosted His Excellency Stanisław Gądecki, the Archbishop of Poznan, the President of the Polish Bishops' Conference, Member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, and a member of the Synod on the Family, who delivered the Lectio Magistralis on THE SYNOD ON THE FAMILY AND ITS INTERPRETATION OF “THE VOCATION AND MISSION OF THE FA M I LY I N T H E C H U R C H A N D CONTEMPORARY WORLD”. The words of welcome were given by the Rector of the Salesian Monastery Ratisbonne, Rev. Fr Andrew Wong, SDB quoting our Father and Founder St John Bosco, "education is a matter of the heart" reminds us all that we are educators and that we need to look forward at the world with hope and love educating the faithful in matters that concern the heart of the human being. After which |12
we had the choir of the STS singing "Laudate Omnes Gentes". The guests of honor at the function were - His Excellency Most Rev. Giuseppe Lazzarotto, His Lordship Most Rev. William H. Shomali, His Lordship Most Rev. Giancinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, His Lordship Most Rev. Joseph Jules Zerey and Rev. Dr Damasio Raimundo Santos De Medeiros SDB, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Salesian Pontifical University, Rome. We then heard the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, His Excellency Most Rev. Giuseppe Lazzarotto, who expressed his joy of being present among us and shared the importance of the usefulness and the need of theology especially here in Israel, Jerusalem where there is violence and tragedy with regard to life, faith and religion. His Excellency spoke on the importance of having a centre of higher studies in such a place as Jerusalem. "Today we open two new diplomas.
This is a sign of vitality of this Institution. These diplomas are a great start to creating bonds of fraternity between this Institution and the surrounding community of Jerusalem. These diplomas will assist you (the students) in truly becoming educators. And expressed his congratulations to the academic body for its initiative and its fulfillment.” We as STS, were also privileged to launch the two new Pontifical Diplomas in Biblical Geography and History; and in Interreligious Dialogue and History. The official appointed Teaching Coordinators for each courses are Rev. Fr Andrzej Toczyski SDB and Rev. Fr William Russell M.Afr respectively. Deacon Tomasz Sage SDB introduced His Excellency Stanisław Gądecki, President of the Polish Bishops' Conference. His Excellency Stanisław Gądecki highlighted the most important aspects of the following themes, which are essential and necessary pastoral guidelines for the family life: “language of conversion” - to know and develop the sense of moral principles and values in marriage and family; “education for the proper use of sexuality” – the primary and pedagogical importance of virtues and its integration and application in spheres such as intellectual, emotional, moral, social, sexual and spiritual; “proper preparation for the wedding liturgy” – to deepen the Christian doctrine on marriage and family, with practical emphasis on the moral duty and responsibility through frequent opportunities of catechesis; “pastoral accompaniment” – especially in the first
years of marriage during which the couples grows in the awareness of the challenges and the importance of marriage and the fundamental attitude of acceptance of the great gift of a child. The Lectio Magistralis was followed by a time of dialogue on the topic with His Excellency. Some questions were raised, especially with regard to issues such as the annulment of marriage, the cases of divorce and remarriage to which he responded in a very friendly and realistic manner. To honour Rev. Prof. Pier Giorgio Gianazza SDB as Professor Emeritus, Rev. Dr Damasio Raimundo Santos De Medeiros SDB, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Salesian Pontifical University, Rome, presented him with a medal of the University. Fr Biju read an exhortation from the Chancellor of the UPS. The document recalled the achievements of the life of Fr Gianazza." Fr Gianazza has inspired many to love the scripture, theology and the Church. Fr. Gianazza was then honored with a gift on behalf of UPS Jerusalem. After the Q&A session, we had the STS choir singing melodiously “Spirit of God”. To conclude the Dies Academicus, Sr. Angela Ridout SJA, the Registrar and Secretary of STS, gave the vote of thanks to the Dignitaries, the teaching staff, the students, and the participants. Special thanks went to the Academic Council for their efforts to organize the annual day 2015-2016. The event came to a close with refreshments and a session of photography with His Excellency Stanisław Gądecki and other dignitaries.
His Excellency Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki. His Excellency Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki was born on 19th October 1949 in Strzelno (Poland). From 1967 to 1973, he studied philosophy and theology in the Primatial Seminary in Gniezno. He wrote his final dissertation on the topic: “Herodion in the light of history, geography and archeology.” He was ordained priest on 9th June 1973 by the Primate of Poland, Servant of God, Stefan Card. Wyszyński. He studied at the Biblicum in Rome, where he obtained licentiate in the Sacred Scriptures in 1977, on the topic: “The primitive state and the Lucan version of the parable of the invited guests who excuse themselves (Lk 14:16-24).” From 1976 to 1977 he studied at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem. In 1982 he obtained a doctorate (with summa cum laude) in Biblical Theology, on the topic: “Liberation and salvation in the Second Book of the Maccabees”, preceded by studies at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. The Archbishop lectured the Sacred Scriptures at the Primatial Seminary in Gniezno (Biblical Archeology, the History of the OT and NT, Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures, Synoptic Gospels, Johannine Writings, and Biblical Theology) as well as modern languages (English and German). He lectured also at some others Institutes of Catholic Studies and Seminaries. From 1986 to 1989, he was the Vice-Rector of the Seminary in Gniezno. He was involved in the pastoral work in the church of St. John the Baptist in Gniezno. In 1989, he was doing his research at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. He is the author of over 600 articles, mostly in the field of the Sacred Scriptures, dialogue with Judaism, as well as 17 books (including manuals and handbooks for students). On 1st February 1992 he was appointed the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Gniezno. As his motto he chose st th words from the 1 letter of John 3:18: Opere et Veritate (in deed and truth). On 28 March 2002, he was appointed by Pope Saint John Paul II, the Archbishop Metropolitan of Poznań. In the Conference of the Polish Bishops: His Excellency was a member of the Commission for the Clergy; the head of the Commission for the dialogue with Judaism, and later on, head of the Commission for the Interreligious dialogue. He is currently the Head of the Pastoral Commission. He was the initiator of the day of Judaism in the Catholic Church of Poland. He was also a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Religious relations with the Jews. In 2004, he was elected the Vice-President of the Conference of Polish Bishops and, in 2014, its President. Since 2014, he has been a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, appointed by Pope Francis. Archbishop Gadecki was present at the Synods: of 2008 on the “The Word of God and its mission in the Church”, at the Synod of 2012 on the New Evangelization, as well as at the both Synods on the Family, in 2014 and 2015.
INAUGURATION OF PONTIFICAL DIPLOMAS 19th November 2015, Jerusalem, STS Adam Dupré SDB, Jarek Budny SDB, & Romero D'Souza SDB
This year is special for the community of STS, because of the new projects that have been inaugurated. The Dies Academicus was therefore a great opportunity to officially launch the two new Pontifical Diplomas in Biblical Geography and History and in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism. The Opening words of His Excellency Most Rev. Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine and Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Cyprus summed up the spirit: “The New Diplomas are an opening up of new horizons which will enrich and help the inheritance of the richness and quality of this Institute and university.” He expressed his congratulations to the academic body for its initiative and its fulfillment. Rev. Dr. Andrzej Toczyski SDB, is the Teaching Coordination of the Biblical History and Geography Diploma and on this occasion he gave a short presentation of the main features of the Diploma. What is worth noticing is that this course will enable the participants to be competent in explaining Biblical texts in the context of the History and Geography of the Holy Land. Given the demand for experts in this area, it is important for theology students to deepen their knowledge of the land they live in. Dr Toczyski further stated that the Holy Land is the fifth gospel and so studying and living here in the Holy Land
will help the students' academic knowledge and pastoral wisdom. After the presentation, His Excellency Most Rev. Giuseppe Lazzarotto launched the opening of the diploma of Biblical Geography and History. Rev. Dr William Russell M.Afr. is the Teaching Coordinator of the Diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism. He gave a short explanation on the most important elements relating to the content of this Diploma. “Having in mind the events of the last few days, we are all aware that the dialogue between the representatives of different religions is very important. Especially here, in Jerusalem, the centre of the three monotheistic religions, it is crucial to know, understand and respect each other.” This Diploma has, as one of the main goals, to help students to become engaged in interreligious and ecumenical dialogue. He further elaborated by stating that on achieving this diploma the student will have come to a certain understanding of the relationship of trust of the other religions and their relation to the Church. The diploma seeks to make the student a promoter of justice, love and good. The launching of this diploma was performed by His Lordship Most Rev. William H. Shomali. Without doubt, both projects will be beneficial not only for individual students, but also for the worldwide Church. |15
REV. DR PIER GIORGIO GIANAZZA BECOMES PROFESSOR EMERITUS 19th November 2015, Jerusalem, STS Adam DuprĂŠ SDB, Jarek Bundy SDB, & Romero D'Souza SDB
An important moment for STS community celebrated on the 19th November, during the Dies Academicus 2015, was the honouring of Rev. Prof. Pier Giorgio Gianazza as Professor Emeritus. It was a very significant moment for all of us, since Fr. Gianazza has been always an important person for the STS. His diligence and commitment have been recognised by the Conference of Bishops when he was invited to participate as an expert Theologian in the Synod of Bishops in the Middle East in 2010. In his long teaching career, which began in 1978, he has taught both Theology and Philosophy at Cremisan (Bethlehem), Bethlehem University, the Patriarchate Seminary of Beit Jala, Harissa
(Lebanon) and the Studium Theologicum Salesianum (Jerusalem). In the Holy Land he cooperated with other prominent academic institutions whose lecturers considered it their privilege to share scholarly research and friendship with him. For years he was a member of the Academic Council, and apart from being a professor, he is also the Vice Provincial of the Salesian Middle East Province. He has been one of the most prolific authors in the Salesian Congregation with over a hundred publications spanning various religious themes. His contribution to understanding Eastern Spirituality and Middle Eastern Christianity are internationally appreciated and is evidenced by his publications in various languages. Rev. Dr Damasio De Medeiros, the Dean of the Faculty of Theology handed over the Silver medal of the University to Rev. Dr Pier Giorgio Gianazza and the message of the Chancellor of the University was read to the public by the Principal, Rev. Dr Biju Michael. The occasion of honouring him as Professor Emeritus was a great opportunity to say thank you to Fr Gianazza for all the years of service and hard work given and done for STS, and to express our gratitude that he is still among us.
CONFERENCE ON COMMEMORATION OF 50 YEARS SINCE VATICAN II 5th November 2015, Jerusalem, STS Finansius Sidabutar SDB
On Thursday November 5th 2015, STS's Students and Professors attended the Conference at Notre Dame Centre - Jerusalem organized by the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land on â€œThe Heritage of the Second Vatican Council & 50 years after Nostra Aetateâ€?. The conference was divided into three sessions. Each session concluded with interventions and questions from the participants. In the opening speech, His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal together with H.E. Archbishop George Bacaouni and the Rt. Rev Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, gave an imperative for all of us, to know the significance of the Vatican II documents and the importance of them for the next generation. Patriarch Twal insisted on the point of openness of the Second Vatican Council; openness to world and openness in the Church itself. Rev Fr. Pierbattista underlined the necessity to acknowledge the spirit of Vatican Council II, that is the desire to serve the people of God with joy and enthusiasm, the desire to dialogue critically and yet positively, the desire to propose the faith as an experience and not only as doctrine. In the first session there were three presentations given by respected and honored speakers: Rev Fr. Najib Ibrahim, ofm, Rev Fr. Gianni Caputa, sdb,
Lecturer and Professor at the Salesian Pontifical University, Jerusalem Campus; and Dr Sami El Yusef, the Director of Pontifical Mission of Justice and Peace of Holy Land. Fr. Ibrahim spoke about Dei Verbum and its close connections to Ad Gentes. The mission of the Church is to announce the Word of God to the world. The Word of God is Jesus Christ. As God the Father sent Jesus, so before His ascension Jesus sent the disciples to proclaim the Good News. In consequence of their baptism, all the faithful are invited to proclaim the Good News. Fr. Gianni, in his talk on Priesthood and Laity, by quoting various Council documents, said that Vatican II has made radical changes in the understanding of the dignity of the laity and Priests. For instance, before Vatican II, liturgy was for the clergy and devotion and pious exercise was for the laity. Quoting Sacrosanctum Concilium 7, he further added that liturgy is the public service of the entire body of Christ. All the faithful have the same dignity as the people of God. All the baptized receive a common dignity, receive the same vocation, both sanctity and apostolate. According to Vatican II, all baptized are the recipients of the Word of God. As the consequences of this there are translations of the Bible in different languages. He
stressed that to follow faithfully the spirit of Vatican II, the clergy must work together with the laity. Dr Sami shared his personal experience as a Christian living in the Holy Land and helping people in different places. He said in the middle of an unstable life in times of injustice and wars, etc. there is a â€œbright starâ€? - the institution of various churches which provide services in education and health care, such as clinics and hospitals for all the people, especially the poor, without any discrimination. Bearing in mind that the Christians are a small number in Palestine and Israel, the services are mostly offered to Muslims. Dr Sami spoke of his positive experience, given his position and status. He insisted on the role of the schools to educate young people in their faith and on their role as Christians, marking an important place in the areas of peace and justice. In the second session, there were three presentations given respectively by Msgr. Rafiq Khoury who spoke on Ecumenism, Bishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar of Amman who presented Dialogue with the Muslims in the wave of Vatican II, and Rev. Fr. David Neuhaus, sj, who discussed Judaism. Fr Rafiq stated that to know the heritage of Vatican II in the field of Ecumenism we need to reread the Vatican II document on Ecumenism, Unitates Redintegratio. He highlighted the importance of an extra effort to
reach real Ecumenism in the Holy Land. Bishop Maroun, by quoting Nostra Aetate, underlined the importance of dialogue with the Muslims. There have been steps taken in 50 years for a healthy relationship. In dialogue, we need to acknowledge the fact that we need the others' truths as well as our own. In the third session, Fr Rafiq talked about the implementation of the Vatican II Documents in life of the local Church of Holy Land. There has been progressive and serious implementation of Vatican II, especially in regards to the translation of the Documents into Arabic. Concerning the Bible, it has important roles in the life of the community. Since Vatican II, the people of God is now seen as the centre of the Church, following the recreated structure in the governing of the local church. At the end of the conference, Fr David Neuhaus thanked all the speakers and all those present. The conference was really an invitation for all the people, especially the students of theology, to open, to study and to implement the heritage of Vatican II in their daily life.
STS FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT 9th December 2015, Jerusalem, STS Jarek Budny SDB
After almost three months of academic work this semester, on Wednesday 9th of December we had an opportunity to forget about the studies and upcoming exams for a while. This was because a Football Tournament had been organised by STS in Jerusalem. Though the weather forecast was showing -2 degrees in temperature, it was a sunny day to kick off the tournament. The Football tournament is a feature started at the STS last year to have a day when all the students and staff can play together to celebrate fraternity. The date of the event this year, was not chosen at random: the tournament was organised to celebrate the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, inaugurated just the previous day by Pope Francis on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a very important feast for the whole Salesian Family. Deacon Tomek Sage, our Student Representative, along with Chege, and a few brothers organized the event.
The Tournament began with the Prayer to our Blessed Mother Mary the “Hail Mary”, led by Fr Andrew Wong SDB, Rector of the Ratisbonne Community. All our students and also some Professors were divided into four teams, namely, St Augustine (Captain: Deacon Carmel), St Thomas (Captain: Deacon Clarence), St Basil (Captain: Brother Chege), St Gregory (Captain: Brother David). All the games were interesting and rich in funny and unexpected ways. However, the unexpected team at the end was the winner of the STS Football Tournament – the team of St Augustine, coached by Fr Matthew Coutinho SDB, our Professor of Moral Theology. Everyone had a fantastic time and really enjoyed the tournament. What is the most important is that we spent a pleasant afternoon as a family, brought together by the spirit of fraternity and mercy.
ASSEMBLY OF THE STUDENTS 16 December 2015
The second Assembly of the Students took place on Wednesday 16 December. The students began by individually evaluating each course taught in the first semester. After this, they gathered in the Don Bosco Hall to do an overall evaluation of the teachinglearning experience of the first semester. Deacon Tomasz Sage, the elected student representative to the Academic Council guided the discussions. The Principal, who was present, was then invited to respond to the concerns raised in the assembly. A short time of singing Christmas carols to wish each other a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year 2010 formed the last part of the assembly. Carmel Myrthong, the leader of the winning team of the STS Football Tournament and Gustavo Ramirez, the Referee for the tournament were invited to cut the Christmas cake. The meeting ended with a time of informal fellowship over coffee and cakes. ASSEMBLY OF THE TEACHING STAFF 17 December 2015
Members of the teaching Staff gathered at 9.30am on the morning of 17th December for a meeting to discuss some important issues. After a prayer, led by Fr Moses Wanjala, the President, Fr Biju Michael, welcomed those present and introduced the new members of staff, namely Ms Antonella Mirone, Guest professor for Italian and Sr Angela Ridout sja, the recently appointed Registrar. The minutes were read and duly approved. The Agenda for the day proceeded as follows: ! ! ! !
A discussion to evaluate the 1st Semester Updates for the 2nd Semester A discussion on the revision of the STS Curriculum & the Triennium System A.O.B.
The meeting concluded at 11am.
THANK YOU Mary Colman, fse (former Registrar & Secretary)
SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES JUDAISM FOCUS LECTURES & EXPERIENCES The STS is an academic institution interested in and committed to engaging in interreligious dialogue (especially with Judaism and Islam) as well as in ecumenical dialogue with the Christian Churches. Besides that which is contemplated in the curriculum, the STS has initiated extracurricular seminars, lectures and experiences that will not only augment our knowledge of other religions and churches, but provide us with a taste of real and practical dialogue. This is so, for the fact that we are situated in Jerusalem and have the privilege to invite people who have experience on these matters and who are members of those religions or churches. At times, we are also able to visit them and to pray with them. This year, 2015-2016, our lecture series and experiencesare focused on JUDAISM. The lecture series this year was inaugurated on October7, 2015 by world renowned Rabbi David Rosen.
“FIFTY YEARS AFTER NOSTRA AETATE” A revolution in Catholic Jewish relations in our times 7th October 2015, Jerusalem, STS VladoPlasek SDB
dramatic, overwhelming change. Judaism is born from the people and people are born in Judaism; religion and Jewish people are inseparable. The fear from the past was replaced by collaboration.
Rabbi David Rosen began his lecture on “Fifty Years afterNostra Aetate” by sharing with us the vision of T. Herzl's normative view on Jews through the world history and from the Church's perspective. He later spoke of the Jewish tragedy and the Christian scandal. He also made mention of Saint John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI, Pope Pius X, Angelo Roncalli, Pope John XXIII regarding their positive outlook and relationship between the Jews and Christians. Rabbi David Rosen further elaborated and dealt at length with Nostra Aetate as the “aggiornamento” of the Church of the Second Vatican Council as well as one of the first official document on relations Jewish-Christians. This document uses the present tense: “There is a covenant, it promises …” The way to change the view of Jews was not easy; we cannot change the mindset of people overnight. To see a particular community with hatred, rejected by God and overnight to see them as the older brother, loved by God, was a really
On a personal note, he began “As a Jew, from childhood I had the premise that Christianity is the enemy.” Nowadays I am able to believe in unique and divine design in relationship to the Jewish and Catholic world. But most Jews do not have many occasions to meet Christians. If they travel abroad, they recognize them as non-Jews, with relation based on past events. There exist Christian communities that have never met Jews. There are even priests who do not know about the document 'Nostra Aetate'. Basing himself on the current issues and facts of the recent past, Rabbi Rosen stated: “In the USA there are thirty institutions aimed on interreligious dialogue between Christians and Jews; in Europe, there are only two”. The Jewish attitude to Christians in Israel is marked by the bilateral dialogue that led to John Paul II's visit to Israel in In 2010, Rabbi David Rosen was appointed a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his work promoting the interfaith dialogue. He was the Chief Rabbi of Ireland and Senior Rabbi in South Africa as well as a member of the Executive office of the World council of religious leaders. He was also an honorary advisor in interfaith relations to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He received the Papal Knighthood in 2005. |21
SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES 2000. It was an important step in mutual relations. John Paul II understood that not many people read documents, but many watched TV. To see the Pope showing respect to Jewish personalities, the respect at the Western Wall or Yad Vashem, asking for forgiveness - these steps sent a powerful message. Jews are historically a deeply wounded people. Understanding and reconciliation would take time and a lot of love. The conference concluded with reflective and relevant questions from the assembly about
collaboration, historicity, and the issue of democracy in a political and monolithic religious based society. Fr. Biju thanked Rabbi Rosen for sharing his views on the document Nostra Aetate, whilst expressing this as an opportunity to further extend the program of interreligious dialogue in collaboration with him and his Institute, especially in launching the Diploma Program in Interreligious Dialogue at STS.
GUIDED VISIT TO YAD VASHEM THE HOLOCAUST HISTORY MUSEUM 18 October 2015, Jerusalem Report by Olivier NDAYIKENGURUKIYE M.Afr
In line with the STS program of interreligious dialogue, a guided visit to the YAD VASHEM â€“ National Israel Museum, located in Jerusalem, th took place on 14 of October 2015 for the students of second, third and fourth years of STS, under the guidance of Rev. Dr David Neuhaus SJ. At the beginning of the visit, Fr David explained that the Holocaust Museum tells the story of the massacre of Jews during the Second World War. For us Christians, the Holocaust memorial is meant: to remind us of the history of persecuted
Jews in order not to repeat the mistake of racial or religion related hatred that can lead to tragedy. Also it is crucial to understand that the problem was the negative use of power by the majority. The narration of the story is conveyed in photos, films, documents and also artefacts and of course, the explanations given by the authors of the displays. Documentary videos telling the stories of the living witnesses of the Holocaust events which took place under the German political rule of Adolf Hitler, starting from 1933, were especially moving
and appalling. Historically, the hatred against Jews started in the early 1900s. Jews had equal rights but were later suspected of wanting to dominate the world. Out of the hatred, certain conspiracy theories were created, that together with propaganda, clearly affected the way of thinking of German people. In 1938 the Nazis groups started making nationwide attacks on Jews. After the World War started in 1939, all the Jews of the Eastern Europe were put into crowded ghettos in preparation for mass deportations to concentration camps, where they were supposed to die of disease, starvation, and overwork, or murdered in the gas chambers if they were regarded as useless for the work for the Third Reich. In 1945, allied forces liberated some of the concentration camps. However, six million Jews (1.5 million were children) from Europe were killed in German Nazis' 'death camps' in what became known as the Holocaust. Different righteous people put their livesat risk and rescued some of the Jews before the transportation to the camps. Today, they are called 'Righteous among
the Nations'. So far we know of about 22,000 'righteous' people, but the number is still increasing. On the other hand, there were also others who cooperated with the Nazis or remained silent. Fr David Neuhaus helped us to realise that the Holocaust museum is a symbol of today's Jewish freedom after their return to the Promised Land. It helps them to be more united and not to forget the past. Using the archives the museum helps people find the names of their relatives who were killed by the Nazis. Although the museum tells the story that happened 70 years ago, it is still valid for us to remember how much harm and hatred can be caused. The values of the people who tried to help the Jews, the solidarity, charity, are the things we so often lack today. Let this visit be the opportunity once again to remind ourselves that, as Christians, we are supposed to strive for peace and charity among all the people.
VISIT TO A SYNAGOGUE FOR THE SHABBAT PRAYER 13 November 2015, Jerusalem STS Report by HerveTougmaM.Afr
In trying to deepen our knowledge of Judaism, we, the Studium Theologicum Salesianum students of the triennium, took the opportunity to attend a Shabbat prayer at a Reformed Synagogue (a community of more open and liberal Jews). During the service, men and women sit together. Concerning their social engagement, it is a synagogue which is very progressive and is
involved in Justice and Peace with the Church in the Holy Land, especially concerning the IsraeliPalestinian situation. Before leaving our university campus, our Professor and Lecturer of Judaism, Fr David Neuhaus SJ, briefed us on the parts of prayers which we would be attending and invited us to pay attention to the space concerning the organization of the synagogue and those who |23
SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES play a role. Furthermore, he added that the reformed Jews are very few in Israel but the majority are to be found in the United States of America. The ceremony included the evening prayer and the great calling of the Kabbalat Shabbat service for Shabbat. As customary, Jews pray three times a day. However, we attended the second service known as Minha which is a compulsory prayer on Friday evening. Once in the synagogue, each one was given a prayer book in Hebrew with English translation. The service was led by a Rabbi who sat in the middle with his prayer book and a table which also served as an instrument to accompany the chants. In the first part of the service, each one was invited by the Rabbi to have a review of the past week day by day, as we prepare ourselves to welcome a new one. During the service, after chanting a few psalms, we moved to the second part known as the Kabbalat Shabbatduring which we were all invited to stand and welcome the Shabbat. For the reception of the Shabbat, the whole assembly had to face the door like the bridegroom who welcomes his bride.After the Kabbalat Shabbat, we continued with the morning service for Shabbat. We all joined to chant the psalms and prayers for an active participation. However, during the service, there were times
when the Rabbi was the only one praying while we kept silence in communion with him. There are two fundamental parts in every service of the prayers known as the creedal part which focuses on the declaration of faith from Dt 6:4 “Shema Israel…' followed by three sections of the Pentateuch. From the Pentateuch, we have a part of Dt 11 “Remember the rain will not come” in connection with the end of Nb 15 “the wearing of the tassels to remember”. These three parts constitute the core of the prayer. From our own knowledge, of the rabbinic revolution on Judaism, we can understand that Jewish spiritual life is not only in 'the Synagogue', but also at 'home', where the candles are lit before going to the synagogue. In a home, each woman lights two candles. Then from the Synagogue, they come back home to eat a meal together with thanksgiving hymn and praise. The prayer continues on Saturday as Shabbat is their sacred time. After the evening service, we ended the celebration with the morning service for Shabbat, saying a prayer for peace in these words: “Source of peace, Ruler of peace, Grant peace to Your people Israel and let peace spread among all Your creatures....”
WOMEN AND MITZVOT (COMMANDMENTS) IN JUDAISM 2ndDecember 2015, Jerusalem,STS Romero D'Souza SDB
The Studium Theologicum Salesianum (STS) had a conference “WOMEN ARE A SEPARATE PEOPLE?” by Rabbah Dr Melanie Landau which was held at 3:00 pm. in the in Auditorium Hall on the 2nd December 2015. Rabbah Dr Melanie Landau lives in Jerusalem, and is the Fellowship Director for Encounter (a non-partisan Educational Organization cultivating informed and constructive Jewish leadership on the IsraeliPalestinian conflict). She has earned an MA degree in Psychoanalytic Studies and a law degree. She was a lecturer in Jewish Studies at Monash University for eight years and is the author of |24
Tradition and Equality in Jewish Marriage: Beyond the Sanctification of Subordination which is based on her PhD. The tension between Dr Landau's twin passions of commitment to the Jewish legal tradition and feminism came to a head in Tradition and Equality in Jewish Marriage. Dr. Landau was ordained a Rabbah by YeshivatMaharat in June 2015, the first institution to grant women ordination within an Orthodox context. As a leader, she supports, promotes and mentors other women in Jewish spiritual leadership including the establishment of YeshivatKolIsha, a feminist post-denominational yeshiva that nurtures women's leadership and encourages women's voices in the public domain. She recently completed a research for Australia's Monash University a project on Australian Jews on 'The Future is Bright - The Coming of Age of a Post-Holocaust Community'. Rabbah Dr Melanie Landau presented to us the students and staff of STS, a conference on the tension that rabbinic Judaism relates to women. She shared two examples for women which are basically examples from time-bound commandments (quoting Kiddushin 29a and Rosh Hashana 29b), and examples from Torah study (Kiddushin 34a) (Sotah 20a). In her source sheet she also provided excerpts of a response on women's spiritual leadership. Dr Landau presented a detailed exploration of how women are separated in the administration and performance of certain rites and rituals. She
examined and analysed the nuanced ways of feminism taking into delicate consideration a historical point of view, also integrating sensitivities of women today. In the latter half of the session, we had a range of questions asked by students. Some questions related to ordination (laying of hands), rituals, rite of passage, and laws regarding marriages, parenting, and divorce. Other essential questions were about the relationship of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In addition there were questions that were based on the ordination of women - is it in line with the authority and tradition of Jewish teaching and doctrines? Is female ordination a threat or a challenge to the Rabbis (male priests)? To these questions Dr Landau replied with personal experiences. To conclude, in the words of Dr Landau: “It was an honour and pleasure for me to share my expertise to the students of STS. I appreciated the questions the students asked, especially about the inspiration and learnings of Jesus' good relationships with women; about me as a female religious leader – is it a sign of contradiction and undermining religious authority to be ordained? I sincerely appreciate having a chance to share my vision to men reclaiming their open-heartedness and healing from the wounds of patriarchy. I think that is much more preferable than holding on to the idea that only women have hearts open enough to engage in conflict transformation”.
IMPORTANCE OF STUDYING JUDAISM 23rd September 2015, Jerusalem, STS John Paul Vemo SDB
On 23rd of September, we the students of the triennium had a guest speaker in Brother Pierre Lenhardt NDS, eminent expert in Jewish Studies who has had four decades of teaching experience in Israel and elsewhere. He was invited by Dr. David Neuhaus SJ to introduce the students to the academic course on Judaism.
Torah, the historical figure of Rabbi Akiva (135 AD), and the tradition of the feast of Sukkot. He concluded by exhorting us the students to enrich ourselves from this course of Judaism to gain knowledge and insight into Judaism and into the Christian religion.
He began his lecture by responding to the question: Why is it necessary and important for Christians to study Judaism? He elaborated the key points of Judaism such as the study of Simhat |25
TOPOGRAPHICAL VISITS TOPOGRAPHICAL VISITS â€œI rejoiced when they said to me: 'Let us go to the house of the Lord'. And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalemâ€? (Psalm 122). With these words the ancient people of Israel expressed the joy of going back to the Holy City, after the burdensome years of the exile. With joy, we too, students of the STS, come in contact with the Holy Places that fill this city. On a monthly basis, the first year students, guided by Rev. Fr. Leopold (Pol) Vonck M.Afr., have the chance of a half-day visit to the most important holy sites of Jerusalem. What follows are the reports of these visits and experiences during this first semester.
HOLY SEPULCHRE 23rd September 2015, Jerusalem STS Eduardo Chincha SDB th
On Saturday Sept. 12 , the new Theology students of the STS had our first topographical visit of the year. Our destination was the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. Before we began our trip, we were given a detailed introduction and history of the site by Rev. Dr. Pol Vonck M.Afr., Chief Museum Director of the Missionaries of Africa. Our trip began by going through the Jaffa Gate, then walking through the market, until we arrived to the Coptic Monastery next to the St. Helena Chapel. From there we worked our way around to the Mount of Calvary, the Parvus, and the Aedicule itself. We learned first-hand how all the different Churches and rites were praying in
their own way and in their own language, at the same in different parts of the Basilica. Looking at it positively as Fr. Lionel Goh OFM, told us, it resembles the first disciples who began worshiping God in different tongues after Pentecost. Towards the end of our visit, we explored the many chapels that are found around, like the Tomb of Adam, St. James, St. Mary Magdalen, as well as the Seven Arches of the Virgin, and the OFM's chapel. In all, it was a great experience and we grew in friendship while journeying on the same path that Jesus walked two thousand years ago.
MOUNT OF OLIVES 17th September 2015, Jerusalem, STS Jerone Fernando SDB A visit to the Mount of Olives became the second milestone for the students of the STS (Studium Theologicum Salesianum). Fr Pol Vonck helped us to understand the history and the present situation of the places we visited. Our starting point was from a Mosque - the place of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus into heaven. Then we
moved on to the place called “Eleona Church” which means the Church of Olives and known also as “Church of the Pater Noster”. This church is built on the site of a cave, which was already being venerated before 314 A.D. After this, we visited Dominus Flevit, which translates from Latin as "The Lord Wept". From this place we have a clear picture of the city of Jerusalem, and historic writings are found that St. Peter had been reflecting and spending his life in this place. Our next stop was the Garden of Gethsemane, which is full of olive trees and next to which we find a beautiful church - the Church of All Nations. The Church of All Nations is also known as the Church or Basilica of the Agony, because Jesus suffered for the sins of all the people. Then the final visit was to the Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary, also known as the Tomb of the Virgin Mary at the foot of Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem. With this spiritual and historic visit to the Mount of Olives we were well able to enhance our faith.
ISRAEL MUSEUM 15th October 2015, Jerusalem, STS Jerone Warnakulasuriya SDB
The Israel Museum was founded in 1965 as Israel's national museum. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighbourhood of Jerusalem, near the Bible Lands Museum, the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The most important current event is the celebration of the 50th Golden Jubilee of the founding of the Israel Museum. At the museum, we the first year students of STS, had a great opportunity to explore the history and the development of the State of Israel and above all, the history of the world and development of different ancient eras.
One of the most important aspects of this Museum is a collection of different works dating from prehistorical to present day events. Archaeology, fine arts and Jewish arts are to be seen; among them this museum extends its lines towards biblical and holy land archaeology in the world, specifically in the Israel. Rev. Fr. Pol Vonck M.Afr. guided us through the museum and explained the model of Jerusalem city in the time of Jesus. Importance was also given to the great architect of those times, King Herod the Great, who built the temple and the city with strong and lasting architecture.
TOPOGRAPHICAL VISITS The next important place we visited was the Shrine of the Book, for which much importance is given in the Museum. It was designed by Armand Bartos and Frederick Kiesler and is dedicated to the Scrolls that were found in the Kumran caves. They are also known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world and rare biblical manuscripts of the early medieval period. We proceeded to the place where the Nano Bible came in to existence, a modernized history of science and technology and then to the place where evolution came in to existence. We had an extended explanation of human kind and the evolution of the being. This was followed by the ancient life style and the literature of Greek, Roman, and Canaanites. Amidst this there was an area dedicated to Herod the Great and his work. We found this visit a rich focus on the historical, biblical and other archaeological factors.
WESTERN WALL 10th November 2015, Jerusalem, STS Elena Camilleri (Student for Diploma)
Amidst the rainy days of the fall, on Wednesday 10th November, we were blessed with a sunny afternoon even though most part of our fourth topographical visit was spent underground, mainly under the Muslim quarter of the old city. Starting at the highest point inside the old city of |28
Jerusalem, the Jaffa Gate area, the visit took us on a guided walk along the ancient walls of the city. Rev. Fr. Pol Vonck, M.Afr, handed us a small sketch illustrating old Jerusalem walls which helped us imagine the no longer existing walls. We were standing near the Jaffa Gate entrance right at
the northwest corner of the First Wall, which connected to the Temple Mount and also the northwest corner of the Second Wall which lead to the Antonia Fortress. At this point probably stood the Palace of King Herod and we could see what still remains of the lower part of one of the three Herodian towers, undoubtedly in Herodian style. We headed to the Jewish Quarter along David Street which follows the same path of the First North wall and then turned along the path of the old Cardo Maximus, the main street designed by the Romans during the 2nd century. This brought us to a short stop in front of the fascinating Broad Wall unearthed in the 1970s, probably dating back to the 8th century BC under Hezekiah's reign. After a short stop in front of the Wailing Wall, or better the 'Western Wall', thanks to excavations started in mid-19th century we could walk through an underground tunnel exposing the full length of the Western Wall. A complete, good and clear explanation by a well prepared local guide equipped with models and audiovisual aids, made the tour educationally interesting.
Being this earthed part of the Western wall closer to the Temple Holy of Holies, assuming it under the Dome of the Rock, Jews also come here to pray as we could actually see during our walk. We also stopped in front of the biggest stone in the Western Wall weighing more than 500 tons! Here again we could study closely Herodian architecture looking at the distinctive pattern of Herodian stonedressing. As we were told, Old Jerusalem stood around 15 meters lower than today and actually through glass windows we could see far beneath us the Herodian Road which went along the western wall, probably a portion of the market street which existed during the Second Temple period. Thanks to the Mameluke arches and successive reconstructions of other dominations, all this was covered and protected in their original state till this very day. The visit was undoubtedly enriching as it deepened our knowledge and understanding of the Bible and the historical time of Jesus.
VISIT TO THE MUSEUM OF THE TOWER OF DAVID 10th December, 2015 Jerusalem, STS Report by Adam DuprĂŠ, SDB th
On the 10 of December 2015, the first year students embarked on a topographical outing to the Tower of David Museum. The students started the visit by going to the top of the tower and were treated to a wonderful view of the Old City of Jerusalem. From this vantage point the students were able to see the Holy Sepulchre, the
Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives and Dormition Abbey. After having seen the sight of the Old City the students went into the museum to see the history of the development of Jerusalem from the Canaanite period until the beginning of the Israeli State in 1948.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCURSIONS The students then proceeded with the guide, Rev. Fr. Pol Vonck M. Afr, who explained to us the history of the City of Jerusalem with the help of the blueprint structure. In the first exhibit the students saw the foundation of the City by King David. The time period of King David and the establishment of the City of David dates back to 1000 B.C.E. As the students travelled through the exhibit they learned about the history during the Assyrian and Babylonian Kingdom to the Hellenistic Period. From here the students entered into the Hasmonean Kingdom period (ca 140 B.C.E.) followed by the Roman Empire which took control of Jerusalem. In the Roman Empire 37 B.C.E.
special mention was made and stressed of Herod the Great, a tenant king for the Roman Empire. King Herod built the Second Temple and largely expanded the City. It was during Herod's reign as King that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. This visit to the museum was a moment of historical learning about the various time periods and the development of the cities from the time before as well as after Herod through the Roman Empire, through the Caliphates and Crusader Kingdoms, all the way through until the British Mandate. The visit to the museum ended with the end of the British Mandate in 1948.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCURSIONS & GALILEE STUDY TRIP One of the most peculiar and unique features of studying at the Studium Theologicum Salesianum is the privileged monthly excursions throughout the Holy Land. In a cycle of three years the students are provided with the rare opportunity of visiting the historical and holy places in Israel, from the Galilee region in the north to the Negev region in the south. All these archaeological excursions are meant to aid the students in having a clear knowledge about Geography, Prehistory, Archaeological finds and Biblical events hidden in these precious sites. These excursions make study of Theology in the Holy Land particularly interesting. One element which seems to be common is that the places themselves tell a story which no person can convincingly explain except that he/she has seen, touched, and has put himself into the context of the people who lived on this Holy Land many centuries before us. In the first semester of this academic year (2015-2016) the students had two excursions to: Ashkelon, Tel Erani, Lachish, and Bet Guvrin, Maresha, Tel Godet. The third excursion to Ghezer, Lidda, Emmaus Nikopolis and Kiriat Yearim was postponed due to bad weather. Each year, the first year students, as they begin the study of the Gospels, have a three days excursion to Galilee. The students' experiences are reflected in the articles that follow.
ASHKELON 1st October 2015, Jerusalem, STS Odise Lazri SDB
We, as a Faculty of Theology, Jerusalem Campus have been on an Archaeological excursion where we visited very important places which are mentioned in the Bible (O.T). We went to:
showcases impressive remains from that period, among them marble and granite columns and capitals, the Roman basilica and statues of the goddesses who were the patrons of the city.
Ashkelon on the southern Mediterranean coast, encompasses thousands of years old history and heritage. Ashkelon was a thriving commercial centre in the Roman period, and the park
In the north-eastern part is the most outstanding find: the Middle Bronze Age gate, with the earliest arch in the world, dating to approximately 1800 BCE. The view from massive ancient glacis,
topped by the ruins of a wall from the Fatimid era (mid-12th century) in the eastern part of the park, takes in the park, the dunes to the south and the modern city of Ashkelon. Shephelah. The word "Shephelah" means "low place" in Hebrew. The region was low, indeed, from the viewpoint of people on the mountains of Judah. It consists of hills and valleys, the hills reaching 1,500 feet above sea level (whereas the mountain reaches 3,000 feet). In the Bible, Shephelah functions as an inbetween land. It lies between Judah's section of the central mountain range and the part of the Great Trunk Road that runs near the coast. It
appears, therefore, as the debating ground between the Philistines, who straddled the southern part of the Trunk Road, and the Israelites on the mountain. Lachish. Lachish is generally regarded as the second most important city in the southern kingdom of Judah. It enters the biblical narrative in the battle accounts of Joshua, Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar. Approach Ramp - The city was surrounded by two walls including a lower retaining wall. The approach ramp led to the outer gatehouse, which in turn led to the inner triple-chambered gatehouse.
GALILEE STUDY TRIP 8-10th October 2015, Jerusalem, STS Richard Mulenga M.Afr, Adam DuprĂŠ SDB, & Eduardo Cincha SDB Day One: October 8, 2015 On the 8th October 2015, we the new students of the Salesian Pontifical University Jerusalem Campus had our study trip to Galilee. We were guided by Fr. Karol Kulpa SDB and Frs Matthew and Jaison accompanied us. We began with a visit to Jericho where we had explanations of its history along with the Biblical scriptures from (Luke 19:1-10) about Zacchaeus the tax collector and the healing of the blind man, Bartimaeus from the Gospel of Mark. (10:46-52). When we reached the sycamore tree, we read the gospel of Luke and spent some time in reflection.
From Jericho we went to the River Jordan at the baptismal site of Jesus. Here we read Biblical references to the Jordan River about the baptism of Jesus from Matthew (3:13-17), from Joshua #3) and the taking up of Elijah into heaven. We then had our morning prayers and renewed our baptismal promises after which we went to Capernaum where we celebrated the Holy Eucharist on the shore of the lake. This was followed by a visit to the house of Saint Peter, the Synagogue and the remains of some of the ancient city.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCURSIONS We had an opportunity to visit the Kursi house; here we found the remains of a byzantine church. This place is believed to be the place where Jesus drove the demons from a possessed man into the herd of swine according to Mark (5). Later we visited Magdala which is still under archaeological investigations. Our first day was concluded by a visit to the Mary of Nazareth International Centre where we watched the presentation on the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and their hidden life in Nazareth. Day Two: October 9, 2015 On October 9th we travelled to Cana to visit the church where Jesus began his public ministry. Outside the Church there we read the Scripture verse from the Gospel of John 2:1-12. The students then had time for silent prayer and reflection. After
informative. At the site of the Primacy of Peter the students and professors read the Gospel account of Jesus asking Peter if he loved him (John 21: 1519). There was time for silent prayer and reflection. At the site of the Multiplication of the Fishes and Loaves (Mark 6: 44-54) the students saw the Church that was built upon the site of the miracle. Underneath the main altar is the rock that tradition holds to be the place of the miracle. It left a great impression on the group and brought the Gospel to life in a more vivid way when seeing the places where Jesus had ministered. Later that afternoon the group visited the Mount of Beatitudes. It was in this place that Jesus preached the sermon on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 1-12). Here the students and professors celebrated the Mass. It was a truly blessed experience. After the visit to the Mount of Beatitudes the group visited Domus Galilee which is operated by the NeoCatechumenal Way. The Domus Galilee has one of the best views of all of Galilee. The view includes all of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Tabgah, Magdala, Mount of Beatitudes and much more. Day Three: October 10, 2015
Cana, we travelled to the nature reserve at Banyas (Caesarea Philippi). Here we saw some of the remains of an ancient temple as well the place where Jesus brought Simon and changed his name to Peter, meaning Rock. Gathering at the base of the rock, the students read from the Gospel of John 1: 35-51. After the reading and some viewing of the ruins to an ancient temple of the Greek god Pan, the students and professors went on a hike around the nature reserve. Whilst on the hike there were many places to see such as ancient buildings built during the Roman and Crusader periods. After the trip to Banyas the group went to Capernaum for lunch. Next we went to Tabgah. In this area the Churches of the Primacy of Peter and the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves are located. The visit to each of these places was very peaceful and |32
On Saturday, we visited the remains of the ancient city of Sephoris where Jesus could have gone to work along with St. Joseph, since this city attracted many workers from the nearby villages, like Nazareth.
Then the group returned to Nazareth we visited the Basilica of the Annunciation, St Joseph's Church, and the Synagogue. We also enjoyed an excellent presentation of the Nazareth Village, where many actors re-enacted the life of first century Nazareth, along with a model of Nazareth during the first century. After lunch with the Salesians of Nazareth, we departed Nazareth for Mount Tabor in the Moses
chapel at Mount Tabor, where Jesus was transfigured and showed his glory to some of his disciples. We also had the celebration of the Mass here. With this wonderful experience the STS students will have a greater understanding and appreciation of the Gospels during their studies here and religious life for the rest of their lives.
TEL GODET, BET GUVRIN & TEL MARESHA 27th November 2015, Jerusalem, STS Simon Chege M.Afr On the 26th of November 2015, the Studium Theologicum Salesianum (STS) had an archaeological excursion to three different sites in the region of Judea. These sites were: Tel Godet, the ancient biblical city of Maresha and the city of Bet Guvrin from the Hellenistic period. We first visited the Tel of Godet which is believed to have been already inhabited during the Bronze Age, and the Judean Kingdom. It was then destroyed by the Assyrians and rebuild during the Hellenistic period. The book of Chronicles shows that the Prophet Micah was born in this place, though little is known of him. Fr. Karol Kulpa SDB, the guide for this trip, read us a letter from the 'prophet Micah' written by Fr. Vernet Joan SDB in which we find the major characteristics of
Tel Godet. The letter presented Tel Godet as an ancient town that was well fortified by King Rehoboam because of its proximity to the border of Philistines in the extreme part of Shefela and Judea. It was also a great city of Gaad, one of the capital cities of the Philistines. This is near Ashkelon, Gaza, Agdon and Ekron: these were the Pentapolis (5 cities) of the Philistines, the mortal enemies of Israel. Next, we visited the ancient cities of Maresha and Bet Guvrin which are located near the crossroads of the trade routes connecting Mesopotamia and Egypt. Historically, the city of Maresha was fortified by King Rehoboam of Judah following the campaign to the region of the Egyptian |33
Pharaoh Shishak. The city Maresha was completely destroyed in 40 BCE in a military campaign by the Parthians, who controlled Western Asia beyond the Euphrates River and who were the enemies of Rome. On the other hand, the city of Bet Guvrin became the region's most important city after the destruction of Maresha. Also during the Byzantine period, this city became an important Christian centre and churches were build there. In these two cities, we had the opportunity to visit a number of antiquities. The first one was an ancient piece of equipment for processing an agricultural product: a model olive oil press that operated in this region in ancient times. Secondly, we saw ten different caves that were used in various ways including being a
cistern hewn, a place of raising doves, a sitz bath, a dwelling place, and others as quarries. Thirdly, we visited the remains of St. Anne's Church which was built during the Byzantine period. This church is named after Anne, the mother of Mary, Mother of Jesus. The Arab inhabitants of Bet Jibrin preserved the name as â€œSandahanna.â€? Lastly, we visited an ancient Roman Amphitheatre that was a public structure for sports competitions and spectacles like combats between gladiators or against wild animals. The visit to these places was beneficial as it marks important learning for us as Christians and especially as students of theology in study of archaeology and Sacred Scriptures.
Many students and faculty who come to the STS either bring with them, or discover while they are here, a creative side of their personalities, which we appreciate and consider important to share with others. The writing of articles, composing of music, writing of poems, drawing and other talents are encouraged. A few of these offers are included here.
LAUDATO SI' POSTER COMPETITION
The STS organized a poster competition on the theme â€œNurturing the Planet through Educationâ€? based on the Encyclical LAUDATO SI'. The winning creative posters are reproduced here.
CREATIVE CORNER THE GOAL OF STUDYING THEOLOGY Deacon Carmel Myrthong SDB
To say something on the goal of studying theology, first of all we need to clarify the meaning of the word 'goal'. The goal that I am referring to here, means the aim, the purpose and the end result for which we study theology. People in general may have different goals in studying theology or any other sciences for that matter. However, our main purpose in studying theology is to become messengers of the Gospel. We study to become passionate revealers of the face of God the Father. Studying theology should help us to become true pastors of souls. It aims to make us leaders of faith and morals. By this I mean to say, that we ought to teach people rather by example and not so much by what we say. As the saying goes, "Leaders are not listened to….but they are watched!”….hence the necessity for us to live a life of COHERENCE in our words and actions. One will be listened to in as much as one is able to 'walk the talk'. In this journey towards being good leaders on the way of the faith, we may not be able to please everyone, but the important thing is to do the will of God at all time. Some
people would say, "If everyone is happy with you, then surely you have made many compromises in your life. And if you are happy with everyone then surely you have ignored many faults of others". Yes this is true. Not all were happy with Jesus and Jesus was not happy with everyone. At the Temple in Jerusalem, some were not happy as he cast them out and overturned tables of the money changers. In Capernaum many turned away as he revealed Himself as the Messiah, the bread of life. Some were not happy with Jesus as he went to eat with Zacchaeus. Some grumbled as he healed the paralytic man in Capernaum and forgave him his sins. In all these instances, Jesus went on doing good and accomplished the will of his Father. This is because Jesus was clear about what was his 'goal'. Even at the age of twelve Jesus knew his goal and mission: to do the will of his Father. May the study of theology help all of us to consolidate our goal and place our faith firmly on Christ and his Gospel, so that we may be able to be true revealers of the compassionate face of God to all his people.
THE GREATEST GIFT Gustavo Ramirez SDB
My name is Gustavo Ramirez. I am a Salesian of Don Bosco from Mexico; I joined the Salesians in the USA and made final profession this year in California. I have spent most of my life as a Salesian in the formation process which has taken me to live in different parts of the United States, New York and New Jersey and now has brought me to the Holy Land. When I was a child, there was an old lady in my hometown who dreamed of me becoming a priest and she said to me, “One day you will be a priest,” I never gave up the thought having listened to her dream. At the age of eighteen I attended a vocational camp and there I clearly heard the call from God to follow him more closely and to pursue this vocation. At that time my Father did not approve of my desire and I was not allowed to enter the Seminary. I immigrated to the United States, at the age of twenty one and once there I |36
found myself free and spent some years working a variety of jobs; from a janitor, dishwasher, waiter, gardener, to an office worker. While working, the idea of a religious vocation swept into my mind. It was exciting, crazy, frightening, incredible, all at the same time. Honestly, I could not make much sense of it: here I was making money and having fun, and thinking of becoming a religious? I had never heard of such a thing. I thought it was a crazy idea; but just as I had felt it some years ago, I felt that same strong desire. Being and knowing that I am a very independent person. Surely I could never make a vow of obedience and live in a community of brothers. Yes, I was giving myself all kinds of reasons why this was non-sense of my joining the religious life. And yet deep inside I had a strange, sense of joy and meaning. I was becoming aware that God was inviting me to a deeper intimacy and
to become part of Jesus' mission of proclaiming God's love to the world. Jesus said, “I lay down my life freely”. I can't even think of comparing my life to Jesus' sacrifice, but after all I am called to be His faithful companion in laying my life down too, and in doing it freely. What does it mean “to be free”? In discerning my vocation I realized I was free when I was able to put aside my work, friends, security, etc. and choose a religious life committed to God; free to choose something in spite of what “the world” prefers; free to choose something good among other good things (work, relationships); after all, all are gifts. Currently and after seven years as a clerical religious I find myself in my third year of
Theological studies and few months away from my Diaconal Ordination, I can say that the dream of that old lady is coming to fulfillment. The call at the age of eighteen continues to resound in my mind and despite the many sacrifices that following God implied, I still recognize the greatest gift that God has given me which is my vocation. I pray to him that as Ordination to Diaconate and later priesthood come, I will be able to spread God's word especially to young people; and just like the prediction of the lady in my hometown and the dreams of our Patron Don Bosco, I may also continue to dream and become the best Salesian Priest that I can be.
EXPERIENCE THAT LEADS ME ON… Mark McPherson OFM
I am Brother Mark of the Cross McPherson, OFM and student at the Studium Theologicum Salesianum, here in Jerusalem! I live in the Old City and I am one of the cantors of the Seminary at Saint Savior's and a cantor at the Holy Sepulchre. I am grateful to God for the opportunity to study with the brothers at Ratisbonne. Everything in my life has brought me to this point where I am now. I put all my trust in the Lord Jesus, Our Saviour. I would like to share two pivotal moments of my life that I think are at the foundation of my religious vocation today. They are two very early experiences of Jesus and the Blessed Mother in my life. In 1987, my family was undergoing a very difficult trial and I had turned to Our Lady because I had thought my mother was going to die. I asked Jesus to have His Mother to be our mother. This was my first real prayer, a real deep prayer request from my very depths. I believe to this day that God sent His Mother to watch over us, and He healed my mother as well! The presence of Saint Pope John Paul II had something to do with my mother's healing as well! He was visiting Los Angeles at the time my mother was experiencing serious problems. My first experience of Jesus was at a Church Play in my Parish in Glendora, California on Good Friday 1989. I was Jesus in the play. It was a Passion Play and I was crucified on the altar in my Parish in which I grew up. I felt strongly, the
Presence of Jesus within me. It was as if He took me out of myself and He showed me what He has done for me. A small boy came up to me after the Play and said “Hi Jesus!” I began to cry and thought to myself this is what we are supposed to be as Christians; to be Jesus to other people. Much has happened in my life since this very first experience of Jesus in my life. Now, I am actually in the same place where Jesus Himself walked the real Via Dolorosa 2,000 years ago and I have sung in front of where the Cross stood, and sung in front of where He rose from the dead. It is an amazing experience to be here. One more story from my vocation journey: In 2008, I was working in a grocery store in Southern California and was not very happy. I was looking into different religious communities and some said I was too old, some never wrote back to me and one even said I could not even come to visit them. I finally found a Community on the internet called the Franciscans. These friars were in charge of the Shrines of the Holy Land. It never hit me before 2008 that there were Franciscans in the Holy Land! Childhood dreams of being Indiana Jones came back to life deep in my heart! HAHA!! I had a visit set up in Washington DC but I did not have enough money to travel there. Friends at my Parish, called Saint Dorothy's, helped me pay for it! I looked on a website called cheap tickets.com and found an airline called Virgin America. It was set up for me |37
CREATIVE CORNER to go to Washington DC to meet the Franciscans of the Holy Land. I arrived there, thanks to Our Lady who flew me over there on her airline. I went into the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception which was down the street from the Franciscan Monastery I was to visit! Above the door that I walked into it said “BEHOLD YOUR VOCATION!” It was as if Our Lady was saying “Here! Stop! This is the place for you!”
So I am very happy to be here studying in Israel in the Salesian Pontifical University. I think God has brought me here. The atmosphere at the STS is friendly and fraternal. It is also a very well organized academic institute and enriches us as we work towards our priestly, diaconate ordinations, or other degrees. Thank you Lord for everything you have done for me in my life!
A GREAT MYSTERY WORTH CELEBRATING WELL: A CHRISTIAN LIFE EXPERIENCE Fr Moses Wanjala SDB
Besides celebrating God's “hidden” Mystery revealed in Christ, our own life mystery as persons created in God's image, is worth celebrating too. “The Eucharist is a great Mystery! And it is one which above all must be well celebrated” (John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine, 17). One would thus say that either we celebrate well our encounter with our loving God in Liturgy, or we do not celebrate at all! It is about an authentic disposition of our hearts that genuinely express the state of our being and conscience, with our strengths and limits before our Creator. We are often reminded of the need to pray unceasingly (1 Thess. 5: 1618), that is, a total dependence and living in a constant awareness that God hears our cries and He is always with us as a loving Father. It is about sanctifying every moment of our lives and recognizing, with humility and trust that everything comes from and returns to our Creator. |38
The Christian assembly therefore celebrates by thanking, praising, asking, seeking and knocking unceasingly at God's house through prayer. Prayer is a Father-Child dialogue whereby the believer opens himself “as he is” and “downloads” his whole self, “throwing his heart open” with trust into the big heart and arms of his loving Father. Rather than being a formality, in the Gospels, prayer is presented as a habitual attitude. The invitation “to pray at all times”, implies that by virtue of Christ's Passover and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the person is radically transformed from within and is always before God, thanks to Christ's sacrifice. This sacrifice entails being and doing everything “before God”, in imitation of Christ. In imitating Christ, we highlight the Sunday assemblies that are certainly a theological and liturgical locus for a full, active, conscious and authentic celebration. We only unite ourselves
with Jesus, our brother and perfect offering. The entire Eucharistic celebration is a dialogue of God who speaks to his people. “Stay with us, Lord, for it is almost evening” (cf. Lk 24:13-35), was the insistent invitation of the disciples heading to Emmaus, who were downcast and could not recognize at once the Risen Lord, and yet, at the same time, they felt that their hearts were burning as he spoke to them and explained the Scriptures right from the OT. The light of the Word shone into and unblocked the hardness of their hearts and “opened their eyes”, that eventually led them to a yearning: “Stay with us,
Lord”. Jesus stayed with them right through the “breaking of the bread”. In our Liturgy of life, we continue to invite the Risen Lord to stay with / in us; to soften our hearts with his Word so that we can recognize him better whenever we gather, with one mind and heart (Acts 4:32); to break the bread of life and share it with others. The “Abide in me, and I in you” (Jn 15:4) deep and mutual relationship enables us to have a certain foretaste of heaven on earth. In the Eucharist, Jesus is received in person as the “living bread come down from heaven” (Jn 6:51) to nourish and satisfy his people till the Parousia.
UPON OUR POETS' COFFINS
James Raj Samynathan SDB
Minh Dang SDB
An Air to Pant An Aid to Grant A Blessing to Count A Beauty to Applaud A Charity to Exercise A Consolation to Evangelize A Grace to Own A Guarantee to Win A Gracious gift to Bear A Gratuitous gift to Share A Hand to Fold A Heart to Behold An Image to Imitate A Visage to Imbibe A Mirror to Reflect A Miracle to Manifest A Meteor to Impel A Moon to Dispel A Paradise to Dwell A Power to Will A Word to Proclaim A Way to Reach Him
Upon our poets' coffins soon I'll be. If you read me from time through time soon enough, you will no longer locate the stars, the sky and the clouds. We will be twins - nothing standing between you and me I have ceased to question stars and books and you, fate and reason. You are the poet that I long to be to lie down by your side – to weep and cry. Already you could be my older brother telling me that you used to tie me to a tree so that I wouldn't run off. I am a boat having lost its crew – drifting through the world's waters. Who can wake silently while the mud slides in? Upon our poets' coffins dawn scattered my ashes along the fields of sunflowers. I have walked these streets with actors, seekers, and dealers. Have I been lost by what my eyes have seen? Look, look how they rolled out the red-carpet waiting for my downfall.
ALUMNI VOICES At STS, With STS Romero D'Souza SDB
At STS (Salesianum Theologicum Studium) we learn, grow and form ourselves with STS – Sacred Scriptures, Traditions of the Church, and Spirituality. Sacred Scriptures: We have a living experience of the Fifth Gospel which is nothing else but the Holy Land. We have classes, lectures, and seminars on Sacred Scriptures studying subjects such as Introduction to Bible, Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John, the Prophets of the Old Testament, the Letters and Writings of St Paul, and the Pentateuch. This is done by using the synthetic and didactic methods of hermeneutics and exegesis. Apart from the theoretical and analytical studies we also have practical and living experiences. This takes the form of Archaeological trips and Topographical visits to historical and ancient places of the Bible and of the Church. Moreover, we also learn the ancient languages of Greek, Hebrew and Latin, and this knowledge helps us to read and analyse old texts found in museums and archives of the Church. Traditions: It is known to be one of the pillars of the Christian faith and the Church. We delve deep into the traditions of the Church in studying the Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church. We also study different time periods from early centuries of the spread of Christianity, up to the
modern period of Church History. Special importance is given to the various councils that led to the Second Vatican Council. We also dedicate time to study different “ologies”: Christology, M a r i o l o g y, S o t e r i o l o g y, M i s s i o l o g y, Anthropology, and Cosmology; all under the subject matter of THEOLOGY. To supplement the above, we read many positions and are obliged to write synthetic papers in fundamental, doctrinal, ecumenical, historical, canonical, and moral areas of our faith. Spirituality: To provide certain spiritual experience, we also have a number of practical courses, such as Sacraments and Liturgy that are further reflected in the daily living of our lives, the sacred scriptures and tradition. Putting these three elements of STS together, I think and believe that we at STS, do study, reflect, and pray along with these closely knitted realities that lay the foundation and lead to the formation of faith. It helps us make our study, reading and living relevant. It is a process of growth, of learning, of maturing in faith and love. It is a moment of meditation, of reflection, of formation, of transformation. It is a step to deeper understanding of ourselves, a step from becoming witness to being witness, from Christian-ess to Christ-ness.
MY EXPERIENCE AT STS Classes begin at 8:45 AM, for the whole student body. We first year students are a varied group made up of Salesians, Missionaries of Africa, Focalare Movement, and a Brother of Sion. Classes demand a lot of reading on our own, but are Eduardo Chinca SDB still informative since there is time for the students to ask questions and express our opinions. The variety of countries that the students bring to our class is another important enriching factor. We come from Tanzania, Kenya, Brazil, Peru, Sri Lanka, India, USA, Albania, Malta, South Korea and Myanmar; we learn so much from the sharing |40
of our faith and mission experiences. We also see how our faith is the same in all the places, but expressed in different beautiful ways. We are also united by studying together, reflecting together, sharing together the struggles and the successes. Living in Jerusalem is another priceless asset to our learning, since we get to see and touch what we have learned in the classroom. We have been able to walk around Jerusalem, Galilee, Nazareth, and so many other areas that make the Gospel more vivid. Truly indeed, one has rightly said that the Holy Land is the fifth gospel of the Bible. All in all, Life at STS is an experience we are all grateful for and definitely will use in our future ministries.
MY EXPERIENCE AT STS After nine weeks of classes the STS Jerusalem campus, I can say I have had a good experience so far. To begin with, we had an excellent induction programme to which ample time was dedicated to familiarise us with the life in the Holy Land and the life of the University; this facilitated a harmonious start to our stay and studies in this land. A cheerful and wonderful welcome on the day of the opening of the Academic Year was a remarkable moment that made us feel at home. When it comes to classes, there are no complications as such. The timetable is well planned and it is communicated on time. It gives
sufficient time for personal studies and research. As for the professors, I find their ways of lecturing and presentations very good and they are a source of inspiration and encouragement. This also implies for commitment on the part of the students. Lastly, I would like to note another enriching aspect of our stay and studies here at STS: the topographical visits, study trips, archaeological excursions and conferences on different subjects. It is a privilege for us, that our spiritual life and studies are deepened and strengthened by these practical aspects of our academic experience and learnings at STS. Hence, to date, this adventure is a rich and encouraging one for us all.
ALUMNI VOICES The fruits of the STS are above all its past pupils. Many of our gratudates work as priests, religious men and women or as committed lay ministers in different parts of the world. In this section of the Newsletter, we are happy to report some activities of our Past Students.
DON BOSCO HIGH SCHOOL NKHOTAKOTA, MALAWI FR GEORGE PHIRI SDB (STS 2011-2015)
After having spent four years in Jerusalem-Israel seriously studying theology, the Salesian congregation through the ZMB Vice Province, assigned me to work in Nkhotakota, one of our Salesian presences in Malawi. It is situated along Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa and Malawi's main source of fresh fish. The community comprises a Parish that has three church centres and sixty-seven outstations. The furthest outstation is 70 km away. We also have a secondary school, called Don Bosco High School. The school officially opened in September 2012and was blessed by Fr GuilermoBasa単es, the then Regional for Africa and Madagascar. As of now, we have 320 students and it is clear that the |41
ALUMNI VOICES numbers will increase in the years to come. My duty now is to direct the school and make sure that the students and teachers are introduced to the Salesian spirituality.
given an opportunity to present something at the assembly so that they may improve their public speaking capabilities. Among the many activities of the school, the students participate in coEach morning the students gather for an assembly curricular activities that include sports, debates, at which they say their morning prayers and one quizzes, drama, poetry, arts, social awareness teacher gives a talk. In the evening students are programs, retreats, inter-school fares, Don Bosco spirituality courses and many more.
REMINISCENCE OF THE STS FROM SEVILLE, SPAIN FR MANUEL HURTADO SOLÍS SDB (STS – 2011-2015)
there is a priceless gift that I thank the Lord for, every day. I could say that the Bible is the best travel guide for a place like this. To visit different sites with the Bible in hand and reread the Last Supper in the Upper Room, or the Lord's Crucifixion on the Calvary are experiences that mark one deeply.
There was once a village boy, thirteen years old, who was thinking where should he study in a secondary school. There was no possibility of further studies in his small village. Eventually this boy came in contact with the Salesians and found himself in the school of Don Bosco. He is none other than me: my name is Manuel Hurtado and I am now a Salesian Priest. I am going to share with you my experience at STS where I spent my last phase of initial formation studying theology in the Holy Land. I feel blest that I have lived in this "magical" land. I feel I am not fully aware of this particular privilege: being able to visit the Holy Sepulchre, to celebrate the Eucharist, or to be at the Calvary touching a spot on which the tree of the cross was placed;all this I regard as a unique experience that makes me feel privileged by God. I was privileged to stay just twenty minutes away from the Holy Sepulchre. To study the Bible right |42
I also experienced the greatness of the Salesians of Don Bosco. I lived in a community with fifty brothers from thirty different nationalities. All of them were different but at the same time, all equal. They came from different cultures but all of them follow the Lord in the way of Don Bosco. There are many differences between a Vietnamese Salesian and a Spanish one, yet we are united by many things: Being in love with God and the Bible, the passion for the young and the project of Don Bosco, the Salesian joy, the ability to generate a good atmosphere ... and so many other things that unite us. At STS it is quite comfortable to feel at home despite being 4,000 kilometers away from Spain. This has been my experience in this land. As you know, theology is not only reading books, it is much more, it is a journey into the heart of Jesus. Here in Jerusalem it can be done in a different way and I must confess that it was exciting. Now I am in Seville. My Community is called "Beato Bartolomé Blanco" and it is the prenovitiate community of the Province. I am the
Vicar of the community. We are four Salesians as staff member and we have five pre-novitiate and 1 aspirant in the community. At the same time, the community is a boarding house in which 6 street children are taking refuge. We are trying to give
them food, shelter and dignity. They are all illegal immigrants coming from Morocco and Latin America. They are studying with us and trying to heal their past wounds psychologically as well as physically.
CONGRATULATIONS! Congratulations to Rev. Dr Andrzej Toczyski, SDB, our Scripture Professor on earning his PhD from the Heythrop College, University of London. His thesis was on: The 'Geometrics' of the Rahab Story: A Multi-Dimensional Analysis of Joshua 2. The Supervisors were: Dr Ann Jeffers, Dr Sean Ryan (Heythrop College, University of London) and the Examiners were: Professor Paul Joyce, (King's College, University of London) and Dr Adrian Curtis (The University of Manchester). Fr Andrzej received his formal title at a colorful function in London in December 2015. Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Seby Kidangan, SDB, our Canon Law Professor on earning his Doctorate in Canon Law from the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome. He wrote his thesis on: â€œThe Right to Evangelization of the Christian Faithful: A Post-Conciliar Doctrinal and Juridical Study in the Light of 'New Evangelization'.â€? The thesis was moderated by Rev. Dr. Jesu Pudumai Doss, SDB, the Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law of the UPS. Fr Seby defended his Doctorate in October 2015.
welcome TO NEW STAFF
Aloysius Ssekamatte, m.afr (Scripture Professor)
Andrzej Toczyski, sdb (Scripture Professor)
Khalil Maroun, cm (Church History Professor)
Angela Ridout, sja (Registrar & Secretary)
Matthew Coutinho, sdb (Moral Theology Professor)
Antonella Mirone (Italian Professor)
Seby Kidangan, sdb (Canon Law Professor) |43
NEW DIPLOMAS LAUNCHED
EDITORIAL BOARD D'Souza Romero Budny Jaroslaw Dupre Adam Ridout Angela
For admission and details kindly contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Studium Theologicum Salesianum Salesian Pontifical University, Faculty of Theology Jerusalem Campus 26 Rehov Shmuel Hangid, P.O.Box 7336 91072 Jerusalem - Israel www.jerusalem.unisal.it / email@example.com