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

Salesian Pontifical University at the Service of The Holy Land


The Salesian Pontifical University’s Jerusalem Campus of the Faculty of Theology recently ventured into a project to make good literature on the Holy Land available to pilgrims from around the world. The concept originated with the recognition that many peoples from around the world, who visit the Holy Land as pilgrims do not have books available in their mother tongue.

Approximately, more than 3 million people visit the Holy Land each year. Close to 60% of the visitors are Christians. Of these, about 50% are Catholics. About a million of the visitors define themselves as Pilgrims.

While the largest numbers remain those from America and Europe, pilgrims from other nations have been on the increase. Newspaper reports indicate that pilgrims from India, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, African nations etc., have almost doubled since the year 2000.

There is a dearth of Christian literature in local languages for pilgrims from these countries. While many of them can get around with a bit of English language skills, literature in their language will improve many fold the quality of their visit to the Holy Land. With a view to meet this need, the Salesian Pontifical University is publishing booklets for Christian pilgrims in different languages. The Apostolic Administrator, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa is an ardent supporter of the project. The book is authored by Fr. Biju Michael, SDB (President of the Salesian Pontifical University’s Jerusalem Campus), Fr. David Neuhaus, SJ (Patriarchal Vicar for the Hebrew Speaking Catholic community and for Immigrants), and Fr. Lionel Goh, OFM (Chief Librarian of the Custody of the Holy Land) – all professors at the Jerusalem campus. The books are financed and marketed by Scopus World Travel Ltd.

Books in Chinese, Tagalog (Philippines), Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Polish, Indonesian, and Kiswahili are already completed.

Sinhala Translation: Bishop Harold Perera of Kununegala Diocese of Sri Lanka coordinated the translation with the help of Rev. Fr Piyal Janaka Fernando, Rev. Fr. Ananda Weerakoon, and Rev. Sr Clarice Perera.

Chinese Translation: Theresa Yan, Philip Huang, Francesca Li, Song Lei, Tian Jia Shen, Huang Bin, and Zhang Yun worked together to produce the Chinese version of the book.

Tagalog Translation: Rev. Fr Francis Eugene Fadul, the Chancellor and Personal Secretary of the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Paul in the Philippines translated the book into Tagalog.

Polish Translation: Rev. Fr Piotr Przesmycki, sdb, a veteran pilgrim guide in the Holy Land and a former professor at the STS, translated the book into Polish.

Indonesian Translation: Rev. Deacon Finansius Sidabutar, sdb, a final year student of the STS translated the book into Indonesian.

Kiswahili Translation: Rev. Deacon Erastus Nduati Chege from Kenya and Brother Samwel Severin Sagut from Tanzania, both students of the STS translated the book into Kiswahili.

Translations in other languages (Vietnamese, Burmese, Arabic, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Konkani, Kannada, Malayalam, Slovakian, and Russian) are in various stages of production.

The demand for the books that are already in print indicate that these books are meeting a genuine need.
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