הִנֵּה מַה-טּוֹב, וּמַה-נָּעִים--שֶׁבֶת אַחִים גַּם-יָחַד
Hine ma tov umanaim, shevet achim gam yakhad
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! -Ps 133
One need not quote scripture to emphasize one's point, but, there is no finer way to reiterate the words of the psalmist, as STS, participated in 'Jerusalem as a centre of culture and spirituality'; an evening spent in the sharing of new ideas and in building new relationships.
On the 1st of March, a joint meeting of seminarians from the major Theologates in and around Jerusalem, was organised at St Saviour’s Monastery - namely, the Franciscans, the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Missionaries of Africa and the Diocesans from Beit Gemal. The main theme was to stress the importance of interculturality, which, though misconstrued by many to be an agent of division, is actually a great asset for a community to possess.
At the start, the heads of each institute expounded on various aspects of inter-culturalism and its multi-faceted nature that influences human relations in community. The common idea to most of the presentations given was still the unique position that 'Jerusalem' plays in our life, with its colourful history and rich heritage. However, we cannot deny the fact that though each one of us is enriched by our experiences here, each one of us contributes to this reality for better or worse.
The programme then took on a more lively style form, with everyone breaking off into groups to prepare for a short 'cultural' presentation. These included short skits, dances and others which mostly highlighted some aspect of various regions of the world. These performances by the seminarians not only showed their own talents in acting, music and dance, but also showed the variety of regions from where they come. The very fact of the success of this event was the ability of the different groups to collaborate and even enjoy one another's company
Not forgetting to pray in all this, the gathering then moved to the Church. A well 'animated' adoration which focused on Don Bosco and Francis of Assisi, helped those present to raise their minds to God and give Him thanks for his wonderful works. As a fitting culmination to the event, the Franciscans, hosted a scrumptious dinner.
In the words of some of our brothers, "Today we got to meet the real persons behind those clerical collars and habits. Usually religious gatherings in Jerusalem end up being so engaging that we only have the time to shake a hand or exchange a hug. Today, we actually got a moment to share." Jerusalem is truly a phenomenon in itself. Living here is not only a privilege but also entails a task; a task to build a greater community. The potpourri of cultures and the many flavours of Christianity lived here, and have left an indelible mark on everyone who spends their time here at the confluence of three world religions, in Jerusalem, the city of Peace.
Nathanael George sdb
3rd March 2023