A prayerful back-to-school

On Monday, October 5, the St. Savior’s Church in Jerusalem brought together students and teachers, for the back-to-school mass for this academic year. It gathered students from the Studium Salesianum Theologicum, as well as those form the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, in addition to gathering Franciscan seminarians from the Studium Theologicum Hierosolymitanum.

The mass was presided over by Mons. William Shomali, the Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem. The Gospel of the day focused on the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37). In his homily, the bishop put emphasis on the question of “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” that was asked by a doctor of the Law, a man who had studied the biblical sciences. Jesus’ answer is clear: to study the Holy Scriptures is not enough: it is charity, love of God and neighbor that Christ asks of us. However, far from wanting to discourage the religious from their studies, Mons. Shomali said that learning, studying and trying to understand the Word of God for the sake of conveying it to the people of God, was an act of charity. He wished everyone an enriching year in an atmosphere of joy and friendship, while asking for prayers for the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants, who have been dealing with an increase in violence.

Livened by the Salesian music group, the mass was dynamic and showed the participants’ joy. The entrance chant Veni, Creator Spiritus, invoked the Holy Spirit, as was highlighted by the Franciscan student Br. Oscar Parra: “Before being students and teachers, we are religious. We, therefore ask God through the Holy Spirit to be at the heart of our lives in this new year. That by the gifts of the Spirit, especially wisdom, peace and knowledge, we may be able to make His Word our own, so as to better share it with others later on.”

Refreshments were served in the rectory lobby after mass, which allowed everyone to get together and talk. “Between students from the different schools, we come together for certain feasts during the year, as well as for the Taizé prayers that we organize every month,” said Salesian Br. Minh Dang. “For the first time this year, the Salesian seminarians will help teach catechism to children at the Latin parish of Saint Savior.”

Br. Massimo Pazzini OFM, Dean of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, stated: “For some years, we have tried to foster collaboration between the different theological institutions in Jerusalem We have this shared back-to-school mass, as well as the first course of the year at each institution, where all are invited, and then certain conferences throughout the course of the year.” Representatives of the African missionaries and of the French Biblical and Archaeological School (EBAF) were also present.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path,” sang the congregation during mass. Hopefully this year will bring everyone closer to God, enlightened by His Word

Back to School Conference: Saturday, November 14, 2015 at the Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem.
9:00 a.m.: Introduction of the Director of the EBAF, Fr. Jean-Jacques Pèrennès, OP, and of the Dean of the SBF Fr. Massimo Pazzini, OFM.
9:30 a.m.: Presentation by O. Artus (IC Paris): The study of the Book of Numbers in the last 20 years.
11:00 a.m.: presentation of Liber Annuus 64 (2014) in honor of G.C. Bottini.
11:45 a.m.: the Father Custos speaks.
11:50 a.m.: presentation of a short film about the SBF that was produced by Christian Media Center.

Hélène Morlet

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