ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCURSION TO NIMROD FORTRESS

Sathish Paul SDB

October 25 2018 - Nimrod Fortress - Golan Heights On 25th October, we, the students of STS, Jerusalem, took part in the Archeological Excursion presided over by Fr. Piotr Zelazko - the Professor of Biblical Archaeology, History and Geography. Our destination was the Nimrod Fortress, situated at the foot of Mount Hermon. It is one of the largest medieval Ayyubid castle in all of Israel, a mountain-top stronghold dating back to the 13th century.

In the morning we began our journey by bus and 4 hours later we reached the astounding fortress. As we drove up, we enjoyed the view of the Golan. So wonderful were the lush Baniyas forests with the rivers and waterfalls. We had an exploratory expedition viewing Israel’s highest and only snow-capped mountain, Mount Hermon. At midday we reached the summit and had a bird’s eye view. The ruins of Nimrod Fortress were really beautiful and well-preserved, a truly visible snapshot of history.

Fr. Piotr, our charismatic guide, explained some interesting details about that place and we were captivated by his facts. The Arabic inscriptions that remain there were really amazing and they took us back to antiquity. We saw the gates, the Beautiful Tower, the large reservoir, the moat, the secret passage, and a number of other aspects of the fortress. It was a thrilling experience to observe the way in which the people those days endured during the war. We were climbing from one fortress to the remains of the other fortress within the main one, listening to our guide, who narrated those rich and fascinating events of the past.

Then we travelled down and sojourned for lunch. Then we reached the Ancient Katzrin Jewish Village, a well-preserved ancient space with a lived experience of Jewish antiquities of the 1st century. We saw the wine press, the synagogue and the type of house they used to live in, etc. We felt as if we were going into the past to live the lifestyle of that Jewish community. We saw a typical family house of the Talmudic period with its unique engineering structure.

We felt so fortunate to visit such legendary places full of breathtaking natural beauty. It was indeed an amazing experience for every one of us.

View of the Nimrod Fortress from the entrance
A beautiful example of Ayyubid architecture
Walking through the fortress with Fr Piotr

RE-LIVING A MEMORY – STS AT YAD VASHEM

Calvin Akunga M.Afr

October, 19 2018 - Yad Vashem - Jerusalem I do not how it was arrived at, but it is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. To this, add sound and motion and you probably have a behemothic library! The ‘library’ that is Yad Vashem includes documents, photographs, interviews, videos, testimonies, artifacts, scale models of institutions and even some relics. It arranges its ‘books’ in such a way that the story it tells remains etched in the memory. In so doing, it fulfils its raison d’être. Under the guidance of Fr. David Neuhaus SJ, Guest Professor of Judaism and Old Testament, the student body of the Studium Theologicum Salesianum completed a visit of the site, commemorating the Holocaust and the foundational events of the State of Israel. The whole exercise took just under four hours.

After an explanation of the roots of the Shoah, the pilgrimage began with a silent, prayerful ascent through the garden. Here, the rough-cut dwarf pillars, set in labyrinthine fashion was counterbalanced by a beautifully manicured lawn with an orderly arrangement of trees. The former bears the names of decimated villages and towns while the latter commemorates individuals who “gave up their lives for their friends”, the so called “Righteous Among the Nations”. It served as an excellent transition to the next phase, which began one-and-a-half hours later: the visit of the main hall. Its construction takes the form of a long tunnel, triangular in cross-section, covering over 4000 square metres. Most of it is subterranean, progressively ascending to a skylight at the end: from the dark moments to the years of triumph. The 10 display halls within it flow one into the next, mirroring a page-to-page reading of history. Each ‘page’ is thoroughly engaging, with throngs jostling to browse through the content. It seems that visitors and guides looking askance at each other, a shove here and there and the occasional elbow in the rib are par for the course; likewise, people shaking their heads in shock and dismay at the horror of the Holocaust.

Yes, Yad Vashem’s narration takes the liberty of appealing to people’s emotions, with or without their permission. We might have been in a group, yet everyone was affected personally. That said, certain common posers remain: how do supposedly erudite individuals conduct high-level meetings to construct an efficient, economic death machine, for use on the very species that they themselves represent? How can any group of people claim superiority over another on grounds of race, religion, gender or any other imaginable discriminant? How was all this ultimately permitted? What are the lessons learnt?

What is clear to us is that the visit was not simply about reading history. It was about studying the story through Christian glasses, their lenses being the Gospel values and the frame being a balanced criticism. The Shoah is an element of the past that needs to be soberly integrated into the reality of both who we are as Christians and what we need to do. The conclusion might not have been anything new, but it was unmistakably palpable: what happened must never happen again to any society. A debriefing of our experience led to an enigmatic twist to the opening of this article: indeed, a picture can tell a thousand words, but certain words can change the whole story. As Father David said, there are parallels to the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord, but this is only an element of a much thicker, complex plot. I dare affirm that all doubts were quelled: interreligious dialogue is a Christian imperative.

Fr David speaks about the history of Yad Vashem
A train cab from the time of the holocaust

OPENING OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2018-2019 AND DIES ACADEMICUS

Michał Jeszke SDB

September 29 2018 - STS - Jerusalem The Opening Ceremony of the new Academic Year 2018-2019 of the Studium Theologicum Salesianum, in conjunction with the Dies Academicus, took place on September 29, 2018. The celebration began with a Eucharist presided by Fr. David Sullivan, M.Afr., the new Director of studies of the Seminary of the Missionaries of Africa. The liturgy was an occasion for the lectures of our University to make a public profession of Catholic faith.

After the Mass we gathered in the Don Bosco Hall for the main function. Firstly, Rev. Sr. Angela Ridout SJA, registrar of our Faculty, presented the report of the Academic Year 2017-2018, highlighting the beginning of the transition from triennium to biennium as well as remembering many initiatives in which we participated. This summary was completed by a video presentation made by Bro. Krzysztof Słapczyński SDB.

Following, words of welcome and encouragement were given by the Principal of the STS, Rev. Fr. Gustavo Cavagnari SDB, who also introduced the topic of the lectio magistralis. Quoting Lucetta Scarafia he underlined the necessity of reflecting upon the issue of women in the Church and society. Fr. Principal read messages sent on the occasion by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM, Apostolic Administrator of the Holy Land, Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, Fr. Jean Jacques Pérennès OP, Dean of École Biblique in Jerusalem, and Fr. Damasio Medeiros SDB, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of the Salesian Pontifical University.

Afterwards Fr. Matthew Coutinho SDB presented our fellow students who had received the highest marks in the year 2017-2018, namely Bro. Jude Fernando SDB from the 3rd year, Bro. Parfait Balma M.Afr. from the 2nd year, and Bro. Calvin Akunga M.Afr. from the 1st year. The first part of our gathering concluded with the presentations of the new students made by Fr. Moses Wanjala SDB and that of the new staff members made by Fr. Andrzej Toczyski SDB.

The highlight of the day was the lectio magistralis of Sr. Shalini Mulackal PBVM, Professor of Systematic Theology at Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi, India. Sr. Shalini was the first woman President of the Indian Theological Association from 2014-2017. After an introductory speech given by Fr. Stanislaus Swammikanu SDB, Sr. Shalini presented her conference entitled: “Gender Sensitivity in Theologizing”. In her lecture she focused on the analysis of the situation of women in society and the role of theology in the process of their appreciation. Our Chief Guest challenged all to rediscover a woman’s place in theological reflection. She stated: “doing theology from the context of women who are subject to various discriminations and whose dignity and rights are negated far too often is not an option of theologians any longer (…). It is a Gospel imperative.” In conclusion, Sr. Shalini postulated that we ought to be practicing theology more sensitive to the fate of women, suggesting a pastoral implications empowering theme and including women into a theologizing process.

Our guest-speaker’s address was followed by short Q&A session, moderated by Fr. Stanislaus. Afterwards, whilst thanking Sr. Shalini Mulackal for her presentation, Sr. Angela remarked that Pope Francis “stressed that the Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution women make through their sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skills. He stated his delight to see how many women are offering new contributions to theological reflection.”

The whole morning concludes with the official photo session.

Filled with many inspirational thoughts we began the new Academic Year, honoured by the occasion to deepen theological knowledge in the Land of Jesus Christ.

Fr. David Sullivan, M.Afr., presides at the mass of the Archangels for the start of the year
Fr Gustavo Cavagnari SDB delivers his opening comments
The first year students being introduced by Fr Moses Wanjala SDB
Sr Shalini delivers the lectio magistralis
A beautiful day comes to a close

ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCURSION TO ROSH HANIKRA AND MONTFORT CASTLE

Craig Spence SDB

September 25 2018 - Rosh Hanikra Grottoes - Nahariya On September 25 th 2018, the year of Archaeological Excursions began with visits to Rosh Hanikra and Montefort Castle. Fr Piotr Zelazko once again led the excursion. In a full bus, the student body departed for the beautiful Rosh Hanikra, home to beautiful limestone cliffs and naturally created grottoes. Fr Piotr led the tour of the grottoes and explained the history of the old British train tunnel between Israel and Lebanon. The participants ascended via the infamous cable-car for a visit to the Montfort Castle.

After lunch at Goren Park, the group began the 45-minute hike to the old Crusader castle. It was wonderful to be in such a location surrounded by such history. A short hike to the bus and the return trip home ended another wonderful excursion to begin the new Academic Year.

The view of Montfort Castle from Goren Park
An arch from Montfort Castle
The group at Montfort Castle
The beautiful limestone of Rosh Hanikra
The group at Goren Park

NEW STUDENTS INDUCTED TO STS

By Prabhu Jesumani SDB

September 12 2018  Studium Theologicum Salesianum  Jerusalem The first week at the Studium Theologicum Salesianum, beginning on September 11, was a colourful experience of sharing and friendship amongst the new students coming from different contexts and cultured. After a moment for introducing each other, Fr. Gustavo Cavagnari, the STS Principal, and Sr. Angela, the STS Registrar, presented some information about the Faculty. Next, a group photo session preceded the Diplomas’ presentations by Fr. Andrzej Toczyski SDB and Fr. William Russell M.Afr.

On September 12 the enrolment of the new students took place. Fr. Jaroslaw Rochowiak SDB, the UPS Secretary General, was present on the occasion. On the same day, the students had their first topographical visit to the Holy Sepulchre, leaded by Fr. Leopold Vonck, M.Afr.

On September13, they concluded their induction having their second topographical visit to the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Dominus Flevit, and the Tomb of Mary.

New Students of STS 2018-2019

BACCALAUREATE EXAMS: JUNE 11TH

June 11 2018 - STS - Jerusalem On June 11, three STS Students successfully completed their Baccalaureate exams.

John Paul Soro SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "God’s Progressive Revelation: Creation, Fullness in Christ, the Holy Spirit in the Church, and the Beatific Vision at the Parousia".

Desta Wolde Milkisa SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "The Priesthood of Christ and of Christians: The Nature and Exercise of the Common and the Ministerial Priesthood and the Treatment of These Themes in Ecumenical Dialogue".

Paolo Negrini SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "'He Loved Them to the End' (Jn 13:1). Christ’s Self-Giving Love for Us, Revealed in Its Fullness in the Paschal Mystery, Enables Us to Live Our Life in Him, in the Trinity, in the Church and for the World, so That We Become Self-Giving, like Him".

John Paul Soro SDB
Desta Wolde Milkisa SDB
Paolo Negrini SDB

BACCALAUREATE EXAMS: JUNE 9TH

June 9 2018 - STS - Jerusalem On June 9, three STS Students successfully completed their Baccalaureate exams.

Vladimir Plasek SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "Christians Are Sons and Daughters in the Son: “But When the Fullness of Time Had Come, God Sent His Son, Born of a Woman, Born under the Law, to Ransom Those under the Law, So That We Might Receive Adoption. As Proof That You Are Children, God Sent the Spirit of His Son into Our Hearts, Crying Out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Gal 4:4-6)".

Gnana Pragash Rayappan SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "'God Became Man So That Man Could Become the Son Of God' (Athanasius). The Incarnation Reveals the Holy Trinity’s Project of Eternal Love and Manifests the Model of a New Humanity in Christ".

Andrea Lupi SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "The Parousia of the Lord As Condition For The Full Realization Of The Life In Christ".

Vladimir Plasek SDB
Gnana Pragash Rayappan SDB
Andrea Lupi SDB

BACCALAUREATE EXAMS: JUNE 8TH

June 8 2018 - STS - Jerusalem On June 8, two STS Students successfully completed their Baccalaureate exams.

Vernon Lushibashi SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "Jesus Transcends Social Barriers, Offers Himself as the Sacrificial Lamb and Unites Divided Humanity".

Anil Kido SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "The Eucharist as an "Action of Christ and of the People of God Hierarchically Ordered" Is the Summit of Christian Life and the Source from Which the Church’s Action Takes Its Origin".

Vernon Lushibashi SDB
Anil Kido SDB

BACCALAUREATE EXAMS: JUNE 7TH

June 7 2018 - STS - Jerusalem On June 7, three STS Students successfully completed their Baccalaureate exams.

Benedetto Di Bitonto successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "'We Saw His Star at Its Rising and Have Come to Do Him Homage.' A Sign of Fulfillment, Salvation, Divinity and Universality: Theological Implications of Matthew 2:1-12".

Joel Moreira successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "Jesus’ Hour and Human Redemption: 'Amen, Amen, I Say to You, Unless a Grain of Wheat Falls to the Ground and Dies, It Remains Just a Grain of Wheat, but if It Dies, It Produces Much Fruit' (Jn 12:24)".

Tiziano Conti SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "'Truth, Freedom and Conscience: Christ, Who Taught That 'The Truth Will Set You Free' (Jn 8:32) and Described Himself as 'The Way, the Truth and the Life' (Jn 14:6) Illumines the Individual Conscience, Bringing Human Beings into the Fullness of Truth and Setting Them Free".

Benedetto Di Bitonto
Joel Moreira
Tiziano Conti SDB

BACCALAUREATE EXAMS: JUNE 6TH

June 6 2018 - STS - Jerusalem On June 6, three STS Students successfully completed their Baccalaureate exams.

Asmare Degeffe SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "The Trinitarian Love of God Fully Revealed in Jesus Christ and Offered to the Whole of Humanity through the Cooperation of His Mother Mary".

Javier Quinones Orengo SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "A Theology of Blessing: Divine Gift and Human Response for a Reconciled and Fruitful Humanity​ (​Eph 1: 3-14)".

Romero D’Souza SDB successfully presented his Theological Synthesis, "'And the Word Became Flesh' (Jn 1:14): Understanding the Eternal and Incarnate Word and Exploring the Intimate Link Between Christology and Soteriology".

Asmare Degeffe SDB
Javier Quinones Orengo SDB
Romero D'Souza SDB