The new school year gets kicked off at St. Saviour’s

The celebration had the aim of entrusting the new 2017-2018 school year to God. Thus, the Custody of the Holy Land kicked off the beginning of classes for the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum and the Studium Theologicum Jerosolimitanum. Courses are starting up again at the College of Biblical Sciences and Archaeology, which is based at the Franciscan Monastery of the Flagellation in Jerusalem but is part of the Pontifical Antonianum University in Rome. The major seminary for the formation of seminarians studying for the priesthood, the Studium Theologicum Jerosolimitanum, is also opening its doors again to students from different nations and continents at St. Saviour’s.
To begin this new year of study, on October 5, nearly sixty priests gathered at St. Savior’s Church in Jerusalem, as well as friars, seminarians, consecrated religious from various orders and laypeople from the Custody or from the parish.

All of the authorities of the academic world concelebrated the mass, including the new deacon of the SBF, Fr. Rosario Pierri. Fr. Claudio Bottini, a deacon emeritus, presided over the celebration, and he also said the homily. “You young people, who are involved in formation programs that last for years, may have the feeling that you are wasting your time,” said Fr. Bottini. “Do not be tempted: only the habit of study, along with prayer, can give consistency and meaning to the mission you aspire to. Even before Jesus began his ministry, he spent thirty years in the silence of Nazareth.” Commenting on the Gospel, the deacon emeritus emphasized the call to the commitments of prayer and poverty. He also encouraged [those present] to live out the missionary dimension [of their calling], keeping in mind that “nothing that is asked of the missionary disciple had not already been done by Jesus; everything that he taught, he lived out, too. He always precedes us in everything.”

Fr. Rosario Pierri spoke at the end of the mass to thank Fr. Claudio Bottini and Fr. Massimo Pazzini, deacons emeriti, and to congratulate the new president of the Ratisbonne Salesian student organization, who was present there. “It is a joy to gather here together to give thanks for all of the gifts that God gives us—and he will continue to give them to us during the school year that we begin today,” said Fr Pierri.

The celebration was also attended by the students of the Salesian student organization and by the Missionaries of Africa from St. Anne’s Church. [There were people from] different orders and nations of origin, but they were all united in prayer and in song, accompanied by guitar.
After the blessing, those present gathered convivially for refreshments in the courtyard of the custodial curia.

“I am starting the new year with great enthusiasm. I will study theology and this is important because I feel called to the priesthood,” said Br. Paul, a young Brazilian student. I will have to put together my study commitments and those related to my pastoral work.” In fact, the friar has completed his year of studying Arabic and he hopes to serve Jerusalem’s parishioners.

Emmanuel, another young friar, explained that this will be a year during which he will meet new people: “This year, too, there are many of us, more than last year. We are 35 seminarians and we come from so many countries. Then there are also lay people and outside people.” Among the subjects he loves the most is the one that is fundamental to the lives of all Christians: Sacred Scripture.

Beatrice Guarrera

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