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 Bishop’s onference, 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 FAMILY IN THE CHURCH AND 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 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 center 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.
Rev. Dr Andrzej Toczyski SDB spoke about the common phrase of “the Holy Land being the fifth gospel”. It will facilitate the students in leading pilgrimages and Bible studies in the places where they are assigned after the completion of their studies. He invited His Excellency Giuseppe Lazzaroto to officially unveil the new Diploma for Biblical History and Geography.
Rev. Dr William Russell M. Afr pointed out that while Interreligious dialogue and ecumenism are different topics they are integrally related. The unity of the Church is at the service of humanity. Interreligious dialogue seeks to build trust and knowledge of one another. Acknowledging the differences we have it fosters respect for each other and our common love for humanity. He then invited the Most Rev Bishop William Shomali to officially unveil the new Diploma in Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism.
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 questioning 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, to the participants. Special thanks 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.
This article was written and submitted by Adam Dupré SDB, Jarek Budny SDB and Romero D’Souza SDB, students at the Salesian Pontifical University, Jerusalem Campus.