Fr. Francesco CEREDA
General Councillor for Formation
Rome, 5 February 2005
To Revv Frs
Dear Fr Provincial,
I send you my heartfelt greetings assuring you and the confreres in your Province of a remembrance in my prayers at the beginning of the holy season of Lent.. In this letter I want to give you the latest news about our Formation Community and Study Centre in Jerusalem in the Holy Land.
On 29 October 2004 in the presence of the academic, religious and civil authorities there was the inauguration of the new site of the Salesian Theological Institute, formerly situated in Cremisan. Since September the Formation Community and the Study Centre had been in Jerusalem in the “Ratisbonne” building located in the new area of the city.
From September 2005 the language of the Salesian Theological Institute in Jerusalem will start to be English. Students and teachers are now almost ready for the change. Summer will be used to fill in any linguistic gaps. The new students for 2005 - 2006 therefore will need to know the language well from the beginning. The Library is also being equipped with this new arrangement in mind. In the curriculum and during the summer Italian will not be neglected since it is necessary for a knowledge of Salesian sources and for the life of the Congregation.
The Salesian Theological Institute of “Saints Peter and Paul” is developing as an international body. The possibility of sending students is offered to all the Provinces of the eight Regions of the Congregation; the first element of its international nature in fact is provided by the presence of students coming from all over the world. I invite you therefore to take advantage of this formation opportunity, which reflects the wishes of the Rector Major and the General Council.
Some changes to strengthen the formation and teaching personnel are in progress. The new Rector will be Fr Francis Preston, who has completed his term of office as Provincial of Great Britain. Fr Francis Gustilo, who is now finishing as Provincial in Manila, will also form part of the teaching staff. The composition of the team is in the process of being completed and you will be informed subsequently. I take this opportunity to thank the formation and teaching personnel who have been involved in this change-over, in particular the Rector Fr Giuseppe Giorgis and the Dean Fr Francesco Mosetto. I also thank the new confreres who are joining the Community and the Centre of Studies.
The Institute has its own Statutes for the International Formation Community and Centre of Studies, approved by the Rector Major on 10 June 2004 which indicate the various responsibilities of the Rector Major and the General Council, of the Middle East Province and of the Theology Faculty of the Salesian Pontifical University. The Curatorium of the Institute has also been established and this is working on a renewal of the Convention with the UPS, so that the Centre of Studies may continue its affiliation to and collaboration with our University.
In recent days the revision of the Academic Curriculum has also been approved and I am sending you a copy. You will be able to read there the letter of approval sent by the Councillor for Formation: “The revised Curriculum is well-balanced in its parts, consistent with the indications of the Ratio, expressing the aims of the plan of the Congregation for this Centre of Studies. A notable emphasis is still to be found in it regarding biblical studies: exegesis, biblical theology, languages, history, geography and archaeology. The theological areas of study are well ordered: systematic, moral, liturgical, patristic, historical and canon law. There are new arrangements for spiritual theology, pastoral theology and Salesian studies; the areas of missiology, study of religions, ecumenism and Judaism have also been strengthened. The study and the exercise of Italian has also been ensured.”
Regarding enrolments and other information one should refer to the Rector of the Formation Community in Jerusalem Fr Giuseppe Giorgis. It would be good to make any enrolments before 31 March 2005. The Rector will send to all Provinces an enrolment form. In the case of any financial difficulty one could look for burses of study from international organisations or from the Rector Major’s solidarity fund.
Thanking you, and assuring you of my best regards.
In Don Bosco,
Fr Francesco Cereda