Studium Theologicum Salesianum
Salesian Pontifical University : Faculty of Theology - Jerusalem Campus

1 February 2016, STS-Jerusalem
Adam Dupré, SDB

On the morning of February 1, the students and faculty of the STS gathered to open the second semester. Deacon Tomek Sage, the Student Representative of the STS began with a moment of prayer and invited Br. Lam Dang, SDB to lead a hymn invoking the Holy Spirit to guide the STS for the coming semester. Immediately after the prayer, Deacon Tomek invited Fr. Biju Michael, SDB, Principal of the STS to the podium.

Fr. Biju introduced some of the highlights for the second semester. Before introducing the highlights of what is to come, he invoked our Blessed Mother and the STS prayed a Hail Mary, entrusting the studies to her.

Fr. Biju explained the importance of the study of theology over the course of the students’ tenure of four years. The importance being that our study is our ministry at this point in the lives of the students. He pointed out how St. Luke the Evangelist spent time in research and study to write the Gospel for the sake of Theophilus and others who through this orderly account written by Luke will be able to know the full truth about Christ. Our study and research has the same purpose, namely to make the truth of the Gospel known to our contemporaries. This was the spirit of St. John Bosco when he said, “For you I study.”

Fr. Biju went on to introduce the newest member of our faculty, Rev. Dr. Seby Kidangan Ouseph, SDB, JCD. Fr. Seby’s credentials include a BSc in Mathematics, MA in Christian Studies, JCL with the title of his paper being ,”Missionary Dimension; Institute of Consecrated Life.”, and a JCD with the thesis title of “Right to Evangelization of Christian Faithful; A Post- Conciliar Doctrine.

Fr. Biju then introduced Fr. Francis Preston, SDB as a guest of honour. Fr. Preston is Rector Emeritus of the Salesian Ratisbonne Community; he was a lecturer of Salesians Studies at the STS. Before coming to Jerusalem, Fr. Preston was the Provincial of the Great Britain Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

Fr. Gianni Caputa, SDB introduced the Chief Guest for the Assembly of Students, the Most Reverend Giancinto-Boulos Marcuzzo. Bishop Marcuzzo is the Patriarchal Vicar for Nazareth and the Titular Bishop of Emmaus-Nicopolis. He was born in Italy but later moved to the Holy Land in 1960 to begin his priestly formation and studies at Beit Jala; he was ordained a priest on June 22, 1969. After his ordination he worked as a chaplain in Ramallah and later as a missionary in Malakal in Southern Sudan.

From 1977-1980 Bishop Marcuzzo studied Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University and Spiritual Theology at the Teresianum in Rome. When his doctoral work was completed in Rome, he returned to the Holy Land where he lectured at the Major Seminary in Beit Jala and was later appointed Rector of the same Seminary. The Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah ordained Bishop Marcuzzo a bishop on July 3, 1993.

Bishop Marcuzzo spoke to the students about “the splendor and importance of the serious study of Theology”. He opened his talk by stating “Theology is life…one cannot think or write about theology without realizing the impact it has on one’s life.” He insisted that studying theology is not done for the sake of studying itself but for introducing theology into one’s life.

He told the students that the study of theology is a journey. Some of the advice he gave was for the students to read the introductions to the Documents of Vatican II. He went on to explain that theology is more than a science - it is wisdom. The vocation to theology means to understand God, to go deeper into the Word of God, in order to preserve the Deposit of Faith so that those who study theology can then offer what they have learned by presenting it to mankind.

Bishop Marcuzzo told the students that faith is openness to the Word of God in their lives and for this reason theology cannot be created but rather it is accepted because God reveals theology. He encouraged the students to be always in a state of thinking.

The Bishop accompanied the canonical process for the canonizations of Saints Marie-Alphonsine and Myriam Baouardy. He asked the students of the STS to pray for the beatification of the Venerable Simaan Srugi, a Salesian Lay Brother from Nazareth. After a word of thanks to the students, he reminded them that the time for study is the present moment and warned them that what they do not learn now they will not learn later. The Bishop led the lecture with a prayer, using the prayer of St. Thomas Moore, “Prayer for Good Humor”.

The opening ceremony ended with the Chief Guest and the Guest of honor presenting the STS Football Tournament Trophy to the winning team.

In the second part of the opening ceremony, the students had their Student Assembly in which Bro. Erastus Nduati Chege was elected as the new Student Representative. Deacon Tomsz Sage who had served two semesters as the Student Representative was thanked for his most efficient and dedicated service. The following Year-group leaders were elected: Jerone Warnakulasuriya – 1st Year; Patrick Raphael Sebyera Ndirenganya – 2nd Year; Dieunel Jean Paul Victor – 3rd Year; and Tomasz Karol Sage – 4th Year.

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