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Enel Fils, School of Theology, 1 Year (I Cycle)
My name is Enel Fils, and I am a seminarian from Haiti. I come from a large and very faithful family, of eight brothers. Since I was little, my parents would bring us to our parish, to participate in its daily activities and in the Mass. It was here where everything began. I remember, in particular, a priest who would sometimes celebrate the Mass in a front chapel. This priest would, when he had finished celebrating the Mass, go to find my grandmother, who was very ill, to bring her Communion. He would repeat this gesture of his whenever he visited our parish, and it left a profound impression in my heart, such that one day, I asked my mother in Creole, a language found throughout Haiti: "Mama, what should I do to become a priest?" She responded: "My son, you should pray a lot."
After my primary school studies, my parents decided to send me to Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, because there was no secondary school in our area. I concluded my classical studies knowing that I wanted to become a priest. I had to wait for two years before taking the admissions test, during which time, it happened, my diocese did not have a Bishop. There were many requests for admission to the test; however, after many evaluations, which took into account human, communal, psychological, and spiritual factors, I entered the introductory year. I pursued my studies in Philosophy until I received a call from the Bishop. He asked me to meet him and told me that he wanted people who would have a universal formation, of which the diocese had an extreme need, and Rome was an excellent place in which to receive it.
A short time after that meeting, the Bishop informed me that my new residence would be the Sedes Sapientae, an international ecclesiastical college in the heart of Rome, in Trastevere, because he believed that it would be the best place for me to grow spiritually, intellectually, and communally.
Imagine the emotion! This opportunity would allow me a day to return to Haiti to help people. In fact, since 2010, the country has been passing through a difficult and chaotic situation. The population lives in the most extreme misery, and a great part of its resources were lost after the earthquake. Unfortunately, the wound has not healed: the latest thing to strike has been Hurricane Matthew, which has created further hardships for the whole southwest region of the country, leaving a large part of the population deprived of their basic needs. Yet despite all this, the Haitian people are courageous and strong.
I firmly believe that the help of God and the formation which I am recording can aid my country to regain hope, to not give up in the face of such sadness. I pray that many other seminarians can benefit from such an opportunity, in order to be able to build a better future for Haiti and for the whole world.
Thank you, thank you very much!
7 July 2016
FOR A THEOLOGY OF CREDIBILITY
Prof. Tanzella Nitti, you teach fundamental theology at our university. What is the difference between apologetics of the past and fundamental theology which you teach?
There are without doubt differences of approach, but within the theological studies the role of contemporary Fundamental theology is similar to that played by classic Apologetics, that is, provide reasons to believe. From the end of the 1800s up to about the middle of the 1900s, Catholic apologetics carried out its analysis mostly with the goal of defending Christianity from the critiques of positive atheism and rationalism, and prevent from idealist and fideistic attitudes. This defence was achieved in good part through recourse to rational, philosophical and logical arguments. Special emphasis was put on the demonstration of the “fact” of Revelation, that is, God has spoken to man through clear signs, such as prophecies and miracles. The image of God underlying this approach was that of God as First Cause, as Omnipotent. The motives of credibility were mainly those linked to the historical events of Revelation and to the theological “notes” of the Catholic Church, which warranted their supernatural origin. Contemporary fundamental theology, however, is centered around the credibility of the Revealer, Jesus Christ; the motives of credibility appeal mainly to the existential and anthropological areas. Nevertheless, Fundamental theology is called to include an apologetic dimension, which must always accompany the exposition of Revelation, in the past as well as in the present.
You have recently published a voluminous Theology of Credibility in the scientific context with the publishing house Città Nuova. Which questions does this work seek to answer?
As the title indicates, the work proposes to lay out the contents of Revelation in the context of scientific thought, that is, having in mind an interlocutor of our time, whose mentality is forged by scientific results and the progress of technology. Does contemporary man still need God? Indeed, does he even understand what and who theology is speaking of? There is also another basic idea which runs through the whole work: in order that the man of today may return to understand Christian message and feel attracted to Christian preaching, his reason needs to be “healed”. I am referring to that illness of reason called superficiality, ideology, to the seductions of materialism and hedonism. A reason which is not educated to grasp the metaphysical, to listen to nature and being, to perceive one’s own creatureliness, a reason which does not recognise itself free and in search of the truth, will only with difficulty be able to understand that the universe has a Creator. And, indeed, that this Creator has revealed himself in history, and has come to meet us in his Son made man. Those who announce the Gospel can no longer ignore the feeble state of reason today. If not, Christian preaching runs the risk of falling into a vacuum and getting washed away. This is due not only to motives of language and communication, as we often hear repeated today; the difficulty to overcome, more radically, is the lack of a reason in good conditions, that is, able to receive Christian preaching.
As professor of a Pontifical University, you are involved in the formation of future priests. How can fundamental theology be applied to pastoral action?
Fundamental theology, and theology in general, can serve priestly formation above all if it maintains an accessible and clear language. A good Fundamental theology must be prepared to link up to pastoral theology and catechesis, without substituting them nor being confused with them. I mean that it must develop arguments and ideas which, with the opportune mediations, are able to feed pastors’ preaching and the formation of all of the people of God. Fundamental theology will be useful to pastors if it knows how to listen to them. The fundamental theologian’s ears must be open to the public square to understand what is happening in the world, what people think, what they hope, what they are expecting from the Christian witness. Having the odour of the sheep is good also for theologians, not only for Pastors, as Pope Francis enthusiastically says. Theology must be, in a sense, theology of the people while remaining true theology. By the way we face with this challenge, the future of the Church will depend not a little.
Rev. Prof. Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti
(Director of the SISRI - Scuola Internazionale Superiore per la Ricerca Interdisciplinare)
1 June 2016
A WITNESS, THE STARS AND THEOLOGY
Not long ago in my country, in October 2015, we celebrated the funeral of one of the most important figures in the Slovakian Church, Cardinal Ján Chryzostom Korec. He was truly a father to our nation. Living in prison, he gave witness to his faith throughout the 12 years of his incarceration. Divine Providence saw it that we share the same birthday, and my faith was nourished for a long time by his diaries and other writings.
After the fall of communism, my country is now in the same ambiguous position in which all western countries currently find themselves. We live in a difficult balance between traditional faith and secularisation. But when we re-read the writings of our beloved Cardinal and see how difficult it was to live the faith during the years of the dictatorship, we realise that if our Church is still alive today it is due to men who paid a heavy price and suffered ferocious persecution for their love for God.
I was so taken by the figure of Cardinal Korec that when I was a boy I began to consider becoming a Jesuit like him. As a child I had fallen in love with the Liturgy of the Church, and in Cardinal Korec I found an exceptional example to follow.
But the “Ignatian path” takes the study of theology very seriously, and so, because of my passion for and study of Astronomy, I momentarily distanced myself from my vocational resolution. I would pass hours in the observatory and began studying Physics. I was seeking, through my study and observation of the heavens, a response which never came.
At one point, whilst observing the stars, I asked myself: what does all this mean? For Physics and astronomy were not giving me the answers I was looking for.
And here I am studying Theology. For me it's still very strange: I share a home with guys from all over the world, and with many cultural differences, but personally it's been a very enriching experience. Regarding my studies, my rationalistic formation leads me to seek exact answers, but Theology doesn't work like that - it's a science with it's own method that gives different kinds of solutions. And so I will need to entrust myself to the Mystery, and keep exploring – especially the depths of myself.
Third Year Theology Student
19 April 2016
THE GOD ON HIGH WHO COMES DOWN TO US
Interview with Prof. Don Giulo Maspero, vice-dean of the Theology Faculty.
Professor Maspero, you teach students who come from all over the world. Is this an enriching aspect for the teacher? What are the difficulties that you face? What do you find rewarding about such a unique experience?
Teaching students from all over the world is one of my greatest joys at this university. Certainly, it's also a difficulty, not only because of the linguistic barrier but even more so because of the conceptual one: there are cultures where the way of seeing things is different to ours. But this is exactly where the joy comes from. At this university we teach subjects which go to the heart of man, where what's at stake is the meaning of life. Being able to have access to other ways of seeing the world is very enriching. Joseph Ratzinger once said in answer to the question of how many ways there are to God that there are as many as there are people. In this sense, having students from different backgrounds helps me to be truly open to how God works in history and even to understand better the Scriptures.
Do you have an anecdote that could show just how much professors can learn from their students?
Once, during an exam, an Indian student began explaining that in the Hindu religious tradition there is a God with three faces, and that Krishna recalls the name of Christ and that this deity saves the people. At this point I started worrying that I hadn't managed to communicate the uniqueness of Christianity in the religious panorama, but then the student explained that there is in fact an essential difference, namely, that Krishna saves the people by destroying their enemies, while Christ dies for his enemies. I must admit that I was quite moved.
How can academic formation contribute to the spiritual growth of the students?
I am lucky to have been formed in study of the Fathers of the Church and to have found both my Christian and priestly vocation thanks to Saint Josemaría. This has always shown me just how concrete Theology is, because, as the Founder of Opus Dei would say, he who loves wants to know the beloved, and that's exactly what Theology is. Speaking to the students about God means helping them to let down their conceptual defences – all their idols, as Gregory of Nyssa, a IV century Church Father would say – which prevent them from experiencing the greatness and the simplicity of God. As one French author wrote, we're dying of thirst right next to the fountain. The risk for the Christian is to be unaware of what he has, since God gives Himself to us in Christ as a friend, and since the Most High and absolutely transcendent God makes Himself our neighbour and lives within us.
What, in your opinion, are the new challenges that the University will have to face?
I think the principle challenge is to the show just how an encounter with Christ can be meaningful for everyday life,that is, to be able to communicate the faith in a way that touches our existence, that reaches the desires of man. Some think that the big challenge is interdisciplinarity, but to me it seems that the lack of it is only a a symptom of the crisis of the university-project in a world which no longer believes in truth and is afraid of reality. In our Postmodern context it is essential to show that it is untrue that Christianity poisons desire, but on the contrary, thatThe things we study are for everyone, not for a few experts. What we seek to understand here will help us to live and to love and to be happy, not to write articles and seem intelligent. I think this is the principal challenge for our university, to delve humbly into the depths of the Mystery of God, in order to communicate it to the world, including to those who don't believe but who, like all of us, want to love and are seeking God, though without knowing it.
7 April 2016
WHEN GOD AWAKENS THE HOPE OF THE LITTLEST ONES
I do not know which would be the best adjectives for describing what the recent trip of Holy Father Francis meant for Mexico. Perhaps better than an adjective, is the verb “awaken”, the best-adapted term for describing how much this visit meant for a people for so long lost in the midst of a rough road, plagued by corruption and violence. But what was the importance of this trip? Why was it necessary that Pope Francis had to visit Mexico?
The importance was the awakening of the faith. Mexico is the second country with a majority Catholic population (about 84% of the population, 100 million of the faithful in a total population of 120 million in 2015), and yet the society is marked by a rising secularization, and by the difficulty for the Church, as an institution, of recovering its credibility after so many scandals of sad memory.
The Holy Father came to shake up Mexico, and he did it under the guidance of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In his homily at Mass on February 13th, Francis said that, at the dawn of December 12th,1531, God awoke and continues to awaken the hope of the littlest ones. Every speech of the Pope had this purpose: to rediscover amazement for a God Who is infatuated with us, Who does not abandon us to our fate and Who has wanted to share with us the tenderness and refuge of having a Mother in common. In every appointment, the Pope reminded us of the beauty of being Catholic, of knowing that we have a common family – which is the Church – where everyone is able to find themselves.
The most beautiful thing was to see the simple – but profound and tremendously rich – faith of the holy people of God. It continues to surprise me, this immense snake of thousands of people who followed him along the way. Men and women, healthy people and sick people, old and young, who spent several hours waiting behind a barrier just to see, passing for a few moments, the vehicle of the Pope. They certainly did not come to encounter a politician who denounced corruption or drug-trafficking; for them, the Pope is the papa, the Vicar of Christ on earth, who brings us before the face of a God Who is not uninterested in us, but Who continues to offer His Salvation. How beautiful it was to see these crowds awaiting the Pope, or to consider the holy pride with which the carpenters of Michoacán had embossed the throne, the altar and the ambo which the Holy Father used during the Mass at Morelia. How could one not be moved with tenderness faced with the children who spoke to the Pope about their illnesses in the pediatric hospital “Federico Gómez”, or not be moved at the sight of the shining eyes of the prisoners at the penitentiary of Ciudad Juárez?
How it has helped me to see the love and the care in adorning the altars of the different places where the Pope celebrated the Mass: how much elegance and how much grace had the colonial village by which the native people of Chiapas have depicted their land, by having it as scenery in the Mass at San Cristóbal de las Casas…
There would be so many gestures and so many words to comment upon, but for me, that which awakens my faith is considering so many good people who are waiting for us, who are thirsty to receive a pastor who speaks to them of this good God who is our Father. I think of so many students who pass through our halls and I think of our responsibility as teachers.
I think we all have so much to learn from Pope Francis, from his gestures of nearness, from his spending himself without reserve, from his efforts to construct a culture of encounter, from his claims without being afraid of rumors or human respect… I hope that his trip bears much fruit. Now we ought to re-read his messages and concretely take into our own initiative this desire to awaken the hope of the littlest ones, and to find the energy needed to do it, it is enough to look at that very beautiful photo of the Holy Father while he prays before Our Lady of Guadalupe. As the Pope said to the Bishops, we all need to be reached and transformed by her maternal gaze, by the irresistible force of her sweetness, and by the irreversible promise of her mercy.
22 March 2016
MY VOCATION AND MY FAMILY
Venezuela is a country of strong devotion and intense popular religious sentiment, and my Diocese, San Cristobal, has the highest number of vocations of the whole nation. This notwithstanding, my family has never been particularly religious. But the Lord never stopped by to knock on our door. The conversion of my sister and her consequent life in the Church was the beginning of it all; from the beginning, she began to involve me and my brother in the parish activities, in catechesis, in the meetings organized by the Catholic youth of my city. One day, my sister brought me and my brother to lunch in the diocesan seminary, where her friend lived and studied. It was a decisive meeting; I admired him from that instant, and it became natural to think of myself being like him. I started at University with this thought taken to heart, and often visiting the faculty chaplain I was able to deepen my Faith and my understanding of Holy Scripture, and I began to seek out how to know what my vocation might be. The step was a small one to take, I left the study of Engineering and entered the seminary. Perhaps it was a hasty decision; the temptation not to do it overcame my resolve, and feeling myself to be inadequate, I thought that the priesthood was not my vocation, but only a blunder. I returned to study profitably, I liked the University very much, and yet, I felt that something still remained incomplete. God continued to call me, always more strongly. One day, my brother and I attended a meeting in the seminary, where a video was shown. It was the testimony of a priest who had lived through my own restlessness, my own temptations. Just then, my twin brother sent me a message: “I know what you are feeling now!” It was a new beginning. From that day I began to pray more intensely, asking the Lord to give my heart clarity. I finished up at the University and made the decision to return to the seminary. However, another fear was close to my heart: the reaction of my parents, knowing as I did that they would not be happy. I was scared to let them know of my decision. And yet, I felt that my mother knew what I was living through, perceived her participation in my restlessness. I mustered my courage and, during lunch, I told them that I would be re-entering the seminary. I had not mistaken it, my mother already understood what my heart concealed; my father, at the news, started to cry.
Now I am in Rome, and it does not only seem to me true, but I have even greater certainty. My vocation is not only mine, it is the vocation of my whole family. From when I began this journey, God called them too, awakening a faith which was a little dormant. Now, my family are very happy, and even my father is different: from the cold man he once was, he became a very affectionate father who does not leave me lacking his embraces and frequent gestures of tenderness. When the Lord calls, he does not call only us, but all the people whom we love and who love us. Jesus, calling me to the priesthood, has really transformed my family into a domestic Church.
Edicson René Acosta Mejia
Year II, Philosophy.
11 MARCH 2016
An interview with Rev. Prof. Ramón Saiz-Pardo, current director and coordinator of the University Choir at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross where he also holds a teaching position for the Institute of Liturgy.
When I first arrived at the Holy Cross in 1997 I found many wonderful things about our university community.
I still remember what an impression it made on me for the first time seeing the professors vested in their academic gowns confering “Honoris Causa” docrates. Many things came to mind. The solemnity with which the act was performed didn't seem strange but, inexplicably, the silence seemed to be too loud. Before the ceremony began I noticed that in the corridors, where the procession was taking place, there was just the sound of footsteps with a touch of nervousness in the air, but even these could not disturb the reigning silence.
Using just words risks disdaining or avoiding what's beyond them; using just words risks never appreciating the greatness of song and music.
The question which I kept asking myself then was: How long is this silence going to last?
Is it conceivable that a university so full of ideals and projects doesn't yet have a choir?
But then some people interested in a university choir knocked on my door at the right moment: the project was presented to the academic authorities, which was readly accepted. After the approval we began practices to see the feasibility of our project and gradually the choir began to take its first steps.
A university choir is a nice challenge, and the subsequent meeting of different mentalities and the fact that the members come from five continents makes for a very enriching experience for all involved. We have begun creating something very special, but we will have to see how it develops. because at the end of the day what matters most are the people … and we have a great personality! And so out choir continues to grow with the addition of new members from our community. At the same time we are aware that our university does not have a choral tradition, but this thought pushes us to do our best, whilst humbly recognising this fact. But for now, all that that we lack we will build as we go forward.
19 FEBRUARY 2016
ANOTHER SIDE OF AFRICA
Although South Africa is a traditionally Christian country it's not particularly Catholic, rather there is a much stronger protestant identity and presence. I am a born and bred South African though my origins can be be traced back to England. I had the great grace of being born into a Catholic family and thanks be to God my religious upbringing was rock-solid. My Mother and Father have both always had a very lively faith and for me, being Catholic was always part of my family identity. Over time I grew more personally convinced of my faith despite the fact that even amongst my friends there were never many Catholics. I think I knew only two in my entire High School.
The South African Catholic community is made up of people from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds and in total the Catholic population makes up about 7% of the population. Despite a lower percentage of Catholics, the Faith is certainly free and present and parishes can be found in every town. In some of the bigger cities, parishes are geographically quite spread out which can sometimes hinder the development of strong parish communities.
When I was about 14 years old a group of lay missionaries from the Philippines came to my diocese to promote family-life renewal and to establish small community groups to help revivify the local parishes. Amongst other things, they helped formed parish-based youth groups. My mother encouraged me to get involved in their activities. I eventually, but rather unwillingly, agreed. The experience was, however, undoubtedly life-changing. It was there that I experienced, perhaps for the first time, a strong interior conversion to the Person of Jesus Christ. He became a real, living and powerful presence in my life in a way that I had never experienced or expected. That time was also fundamental for me in the process of discovering my vocation.
In the following years I also learned about the important role that the Catholic Church played in the history of South Africa. During Apartheid, the Church was always a source of hope, taking visible steps to promote integration, equality, justice and peace. In a very complex and, at times, dangerous situation, the Church did not cease to fight against the injustices of the segregation laws and every other type of racial discrimination present in the country at the time. Even my own parents would take part in campaigns and marches for the abolishment of Apartheid.
Thanks be to God, today my country has greatly changed, and although there are still various challenges, racial segregation is a thing of the past. I too, by God's mercy, am greatly changed. Currently I live and study in Rome and am receiving formation to become a Priest. It's a great privilege to study here and the experience is a huge blessing. Naturally I look forward one day to be able to return to South Africa, where, by God's grace and alongside many others, I will seek to share with the people of my beautiful country the hope and healing that can only be found in Christ Jesus.
Richard Andrew Stonier
First Year Theology
15 DECEMBER 2015
For us in Haiti, Christmas is a special time for everyone, but in a particular way for children. In the days leading up to the 25th, Haitian children are given a little bit more leeway than usual; parents are even willing to let them go out on to the street and play with their friends for the whole day.
Having said that, my country is somewhat particular. Genuine Christian devotion must contend with widespread religious syncretism dominated by the presence of Voodoo. Too often, even churchgoers secretly practise “magic” Voodoo rites. This naturally has serious repercussions for their whole spiritual life.
And Christmastime is no exception when it comes to these contradictory practices. For Christians who live their faith fully and coherently, Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of our Saviour, a time of hope and genuine beauty. But it's not like that for everyone. Those who have not abandoned the syncretic world-view believe that during Advent and Christmas evil forces can be unleashed against them and so they have even more frequent recourse to the practise of magic.
In 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti. This catastrophe claimed more than 220 000 victims. The majority of Haitians spent that Christmas under emergency tents. And in these conditions of extreme discomfort, important spiritual differences emerged. Those living their faith fully in Christ saw that Christmas as a moment of great hope. Jesus was born in discomfort, similar to the situation in which we find ourselves. That Christmas under the tents made us all feel as if we were in Bethlehem. Those who practise Voodoo, however, did not know how to draw hope from that situation. They only saw the unleashing of diabolical forces which needed to be fought with magic.
Priests in Haiti go to great lengths to curb this phenomenon. But it's in the difficult moments that Christians find hope whilst others see only darkness.
Jean Gilles Kenley
Studente II Anno di Filosofia
Prof. Don Giulio Maspero, Theology Vice Dean:
"What we study is for everyone, not just a few experts. What we investigate here helps one live, love and be happy, not write articles or seem intelligent."
There are places torn by bloody wars, often invisible and never cited by major mass media. One of them is the Central African Republic. On November 29, its capital Bangui was in focus of the world: Pope Francis wanted to anticipate the start of the Jubilee of Mercy with the opening of the Holy Door in the Cathedral of the city. It is a sign of great hope, but it is above all a gesture to encourage our brothers to pursue the path of Mercy.
A privileged witness of this event was our alumnus Fr. Mathieu Fabrice Evrard Bondobo. Attended the whole Institutional Cycle at our University earning a doctorate in canon law in 2014, Don Mathieu, as a parson of the Cathedral of Bangui, had the privilege to welcome the Holy Father.
Fr. Mathieu is a proper witness of how truly passable is the path of Mercy. When wars, often fratricidal, burning an entire nation, the only solution is forgiveness.
However, the ability to forgive and love our enemies we can not ensure on our own. Fr. Bondobo, during the interview with Vatican Radio in 2013, commented on the killing of his brother: “the Christian at every moment of his life bears witness to his faith, and this faith is a Person who’s Name is Jesus Christ. He is our peace. That’s why, in the name of this faith, I forgive. Forgive those who killed my brother and at the same time pray for them, for their conversion, that they cease to accomplish evil. Before the judgment of God ...”. It is possible to walk along the paths of Peace and Mercy in Bangui. Thanks Fr. Mathieu!
My name is Daniel Segovia, and like the Holy Father, I have recently taken up residence in Rome, in the Collegio Sedes Sapientiae.
It was one August two years ago, that, exhausted from a long flight from Argentina, I thought I would only see my family, whom I had just left at the door to board the plane, after three years' time.
This journey helped me to retrace the path that God had traced out for me. It all began in a little town by the name of Aviateray, on the northern border of Argentina with Paraguay. The wide expanses of soybean, grain and cotton fields are the setting for this dry and very poor region of my country.
My childhood memories are immersed in the green garden of my house, in the company of my sister and brother, linked to Sundays spent with the whole family, to Saturday Masses in a little Church nearby owing to there only being few priests in the area, and of an image of the Virgin of the Rosary in the living room, which we would gather under for prayer.
I think my vocation to the priesthood began with this episode: one day, we were invited to our grandparents' house, and we sat in the garden, together with my cousins, all around a small table. We decided to act, as though we were in the theatre; I took a cracker that was in front of me and asked the others present if they wanted to act as the faithful, and I, at only four years old, decided to imitate the priest.
From that moment onward, I no longer directed my own steps. For ten years I felt that this was my journey, but I wanted, first of all, to have a priest listen to my concerns in order to give me inner clarity.
Looking back on these moments, I am reminded of my parents: their union was founded on prayer and faith in Christ. Sometimes, when I came back from school, I peered into the living room and saw them both reading the Bible, and putting a candle on a little altar where the figure of the Virgin of Lujan stood.
From these first concerns the desire was born in me to deepen this research, so I decided to register myself in some courses of vocational discernment organized by the Diocese. Already, at seventeen years old, I was ready to enter into the pre-seminary; then, there was the passage into the city of Resistencia, and a little after that, an event: my Confirmation, which happened on the 26th of June, the feast of St. Josemaria.
After a series of events, I finished my studies in Philosophy, in the record time of six years, thinking to myself that perhaps the Lord Himself was hastening the time in order to demand something more of me in the future. After a little time that “something more” turned into a meeting with the Bishop of Sainz-Peña, who, after informing me of the opening of a new theological faculty opening for me, asked me if I was ready to leave for Rome. The will of God, he said, comes before my own, and thus without too much thought on my mind, I launched myself into this new adventure. I decided I wanted to share this joy with my family, and which better time would there be if not Christmas? As soon as they learned of my future departure, there was a party; I remember that the day after, my father, while repainting a wall of the house, cried, silently moved. He himself gave me a Rosary, which I always carry with me, and which he recited during the period in which he fought in the War of the Falklands, while he watched his friends die.
A few months before I left, I was sent on a mission in Northern Argentina by my Bishop in order to teach me the importance and the responsibility of the priesthood. By the humility of the farmers there, who lived in mud houses, I came to know the mission with which the Lord had entrusted me.
Great emotions followed the election of an Argentinian Pope: I was with some seminarians and for an hour and a half we followed the conclusion of the Conclave; then, hearing a familiar name, Bergoglio, the whole roomful of people was kneeling before the television, in prayer.
Then I was back, with baggage in hand, just landed in Rome. The day after, I was at St. Peter's in order to assist at the Angelus with the same Pope that just before I had seen on the television. Such a thrill, to pray together with him. The Church has its time, and this Pope puts into practice all the teaching of the two preceding Popes. He has this capacity of knowing how to attract even the people far from the Faith; he is the image of the Good Shepherd.
After this, I came upon the University, a true school of life, the Holy Cross, where we are taught to know how to be with and among the others, where joys and sorrows are shared even with the professors. I was struck by the great professionalism and that touch of humanity of the teachers, who are able to channel the hearts and minds of the students.
I can only thank God for all of this!
Monday, May 25th, 2015, there will be a presentation of the book Humanism in Economics and Business, edited by Domènec Melé (IESE Business School) and Martin Schlag (MCE Research Center).
In addition to the editors, there will be presentations by Prof. Vittorio Cesarotti (University of Rome Tor Vergata) and Prof. Paolo Boccardelli (LUISS Guido Carli).
Gian Marco Romani, Philosophy, Italy:
“One of the strong points of this university is the relationship with the professors, which permits growth both from the academic and human points of view. Additionally, the different university institutions offer the students all the instruments necessary for the deepening of their studies.”
Thursday, May 28th 2015, on the initiative of the Alumni Association, there was a day of Greeting for the students that finished their studies.
At 12:35 PM, the University Choir, directed by Rev. Prof. Ramón Saiz Pardo, held the Concerto "Jocose musical in Three Stages" with the music of W.A. Mozart ("Viva il vino spumeggiante" [“Long Live Sparkling Wine”], "Bona nox" [“Good Night”]) and C. Zöllner (“Il menù” [“The Menu”]).
After a buffet and some greetings by the Rector, Msgr. Luis Romera, a film, prepared for the occasion, was projected.
At 2:05 PM, there was the Award Ceremony for the winners of the Literary Contest "Maria Antonietta Paulotto Colombino", promoted for the seventh consecutive year by the Alumni Association, on the theme In order to serve, serve.
The day was concluded with the presentation of the new Alumni Platform, intended for those who study and have studied at Holy Cross and conceived with the intention of creating an interchange between alumni, as well as offering permanent formation to those who have returned to their own Countries.
“I CAN DO EVERYTHING THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGHTENS ME”
I am Francis Chikwado Onwuchulum; I am 26 years old, and for nine months I have studied for my first year of Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. My city, Onytsha, is a great metropolis in the Southeast of Nigeria that embraces the Niger River, just before it makes an outlet into the Atlantic Ocean.
I was born in a little village not far away, but almost immediately my parents moved to the city, bringing with them me and my brothers. My father worked as a trader in the world of finance, and my mother works at the city municipality; both belong to the Igbo tribe, who in Nigeria unanimously profess the Catholic religion. As a child I grew up in a loving and calm environment, being the smallest of three brothers. Sadly, at the age of three years, I lost my father. I have a vague memory of him, but thanks be to God, our mother always manages to keep it alive: I know that in the city, he was respected for his honesty and hard work, and my mother tells us of a man infatuated with the truth and with an intense life of prayer.
From him, I still have some books on the life of St. Anthony, to whom he was very devoted. My mother was not discouraged even in the face of these events; her life revolved around Christ. Every morning she took us children to Mass in the early hours of of the African dawn, 5.30, in order to then accompany us to school and confront a long day's work, and she did this until my two siblings had graduated, one in economics and one in marketing. The fruits have been seen.
My path has been different: the first strong call of God came at the tender age of eleven, when I was still serving as an acolyte in the local parish, in the ranks of the Altar Knights Association, where my desire grew that I should become a priest. God made me realize something very important, that the boys who undertook studies in the minor seminary changed over the course of a year: they became very responsible for their age, they transmitted great peace, their thoughts were clearer and their smiles became more attractive. When I was faced with this possibility, the Lord put me in front of a crossroads: I then won a prize that allowed me to study at a prestigious school in Abuja. Providence took it upon itself to give me the courage to opt for the humbler path: the minor seminary. It was a rainy day and the sight of my mother moved me: I remembered how she had sacrificed her life to give us an education and a living witness of the faith, how she made us pray morning and evening prayers all together, how she would read us Gospel passages, and her little prayers, and over all I remember a lot of love she had for us. I owe a lot to her.
So it was that from the age of twelve to the age of eighteen, I lived in the seminary, in a small residence outside the city. I remember that in order to stave off homesickness, I began to study with a certain intensity; I remember that one teacher in particular asked us to summarize particular passages from the Gospel, and he would create a real competition around the "Rosary's Decades". The competition was to pray the greatest number of mysteries throughout the day without neglecting one's daily duties. It was an incredible physical and spiritual training that tempered me!
Then came the "Spiritual Year." At that time I was nineteen and I could not have conceived in my head that one could devote an entire year simply to intensify their spiritual life; it would have seemed a joke. Instead it turned out to be the most important year of my journey of faith: it was the time where I learned to speak face to face with God my father. It was a decisive year because I remember well what obstacles presented themselves in my path, first of all from a vocational point of view: many of the friends with whom I had spent time during my studies in the minor seminary abandoned the residence, and I was always alone and disoriented. In the darkest days, a ray of light: I opened the Gospel: "I can do everything through Him who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13). The Lord gave me the strength, and he had always given me it, I thought. The Lord does not test us beyond what we can tolerate. It was only thanks to this reflection that I was able to attend the four years of studies in Philosophy that awaited me and be here to tell my story.
Being in Rome has opened my eyes and mind; its history has always fascinated me, and to think that I saw it only on the television! I remember the day like it was yesterday, when my companions at the College Sedes Sapientiae landed in Rome; as is customary, they brought me to no less a place than St. Peter's. Could one possibly ask for more? The ten-hour flight seemed like nothing after I knelt in front of the tomb of Peter.
Another great joy is the time I'm spending living at Santa Croce. My days at the university are adorned by very talented professors. Not only do they come to give lessons, but they are masters of humanity who generate passion and motivation among the students. The study material that is provided is of such completeness that, after even a short time, one can see among the students a certain maturity of reasoning. I just think of Nigeria: in order to be able to get a meeting with a professor, one needs to reserve a time, but here, the same professors come to you to know how you are doing.
One last thought, which is always with me, I dedicate to the pope. Francis is a big help for me, because his life witness encourages me to get past my mistakes, to savour the mercy of God. With Francis, one can see the face of God a little, and one is really able to aspire to Heaven!
Conference on “The New Climate Economy”, Wednesday, May 20th:
On Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 (at 10:00 AM in the Aula Magna "Giovanni Paolo II",) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the World Resource Institute, The New Climate Economy and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the Holy See, the University will host a Conference on the theme of “The New Climate Economy. How Economic Growth and Sustainability Can Go Hand in Hand.”
The initiative is organized in view of the expected publication of the encyclical of Pope Francis on ecological themes, which is planned for the month of June, and the Conference aims to be an occasion for reflection on the recent The New Climate Economy Report, from which it emerges that "the objectives of the improvement of economic performance and the reduction of risks concerning the climate are complementary."
In fact, the organizers explain, "economic growth is not able to be obtained without keeping in mind the risks concerning the climate that it involves. At the same time, the reduction of emissions will be much more difficult without a strong economy."
Among the participants of the conference will be Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace; Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington; Felipe Calderón, President of the Global Commission on Economy and Climate; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; and Jeremy Oppenheim, Director of McKinsey & Co.
Francesco Zhao, Philosophy, Italy
"Here at Santa Croce I am able to combine my academic course of study together with a deep human and spiritual formation, thanks above all to the availability of the professors, to my fellow students, and to the learning materials offered by the University"
Academic Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, Patron of the Communications Faculty, with Card. Barragán
Wednesday April 29 (10:15 am, Aula Álvaro del Portillo), in honour of the Academic Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, Patron of the Communication’s Faculty, talks will be held themed From values to faith through communication.
Speakers include Card. Javier Lozano Barragán, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, and Sister Myriam Castelli, host of the program Christianity on Rai World.
My name is Akira Kirishima, and two years ago I made the decision to give my life in service to the Church as a priest. And it is for this reason that I find myself in Rome as a seminarian to finish my theological studies at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross after a long journey from Kagoshima, home to the first Christians in Japan.
This is where I grew up with my parents and two younger siblings. My Polish father and my Japanese mother met for the first time at Mass in one of the small churches that spot this southern town of Japan. My father was a student of Philosophy of Religion in Poland but then left his home and came to our land to deepen his understanding of Buddhism and Shintoism, both of which are ubiquitously present in our country.
The example my parents gave both inside and outside the home helped me through the various stages of my life, first as a philosophy student myself and now as a seminarian. Their daily sacrifice together with a deep faith served as decisive factors for my vocation. I still recall my father in my childhood memories, absorbed in prayer before the image of the “Black Madonna” of Czestochowa that he has carried with him in his suitcase since he was a boy. I owe my father the ability to entrust myself and abandon myself into the hands of the Mother of God in difficult situations.
I was also given the grace to attend a tremendously energetic parish that was held together by a devoted parish priest and a kind catechist. They were for me teachers that lost no opportunity to delve deeper into prayer.
In my final years of high school they helped me understand what books to study. And it was thus how I ended up deciding to study philosophy at the Western State University of Kyoto, making it my home for the next six years. And thanks to this new experience I found a way to fill an interior emptiness that had left quite a gaping hole growing within me.
This emptiness was filled quickly because I heard that there was a university center of Opus Dei near my apartment. I had only heard about Opus Dei and my curiosity led me to go visit the center. I was welcomed by several exceptional people that together with a few priests really helped me grow as a whole. They taught me to assume the responsibilities of a Christian in the world trying to live out daily holiness. And on this last point I had to reflect much because sanctity had always seemed to me to be an unattainable utopia. Yet in that place, every young man worked to live out his life in that way. Before the Blessed Sacrament I read these words from St. Josemaría Escrivá and everything became clearer: “Domine ut Videam (Lk 18:41), Lord let me see! Illuminate my intelligence so that your Word may penetrate my mind. Make your life take root in my soul, to transform me into a glimpse of the Eternal Glory (Friends of God, number 127).
From that moment I felt the Lord calling me to take the joy of Revelation to all of Japan. I recognized that to do apostolate work in my country means facing a secularized and indifferent reality, but I was filled with strength from examples of the Christian life. In fact, near my hometown of Kagoshima where St. Francis Xavier arrived in 1548 you will find Nagasaki, theater to the martyrdom of St. Paul Miki and his companions for refusing to give up the “hidden Christians”.
Fast-forwarding to several years in the future, one day while I was speaking with my bishop I told him I would like to go to Rome. He listened to me and after a bit of time passed he gave me the wonderful news that my next residence would be Sedes Sapientiae International Seminary in Rome, and that I would study at the Holy Cross. My parents and I were thrilled. I always put my trust in the Providence of God, but I never imagined I would end up where I am. Thankfully I had previously studied a few books on Italian grammar!
The University has a rich diversity of cultural in its student body as one of its many treasures. I was struck by how Christianity has impressed a unique identity in each of these cultures, something that needs to be reconstructed in Japan. This family spirit is a clear example to be brought back again in the Japanese environment. I have seen how much the professors help and push students on such an immense breadth of issues. The lessons stimulate a search for reason enlightened by faith and the university chapel helps us raise our thoughts heavenward.
"We want to remain Christians and preserve our faith, despite all the tragedies." Monday, April 20, 2015, a group of 40 Catholic Iraqi refugees, now French residents, visited the University during a pilgrimage to Rome and other Italian cities this week.
During the visit, they also met with a number of journalists, recounting their experiences as refugees.
Tom Sundaram, Canon Law
"I love studying canon law at Santa Croce. It gives me a strong background in the principles and philosophy of the law of the Church. With the emphasis on the study of justice and the role of the jurist, my study itself teaches me, more and more, to 'delight in justice', as the Book of Wisdom instructs us [Wisdom 1:1]. I feel confident that my talents will be well developed in my program."
Wednesday, May 6th (9:00 am, Álvaro del Portillo Hall), the University is hosting a Study Day and Reflection on Consecrated Life, as we are now in the Liturgical Year dedicated to this. Testimonies of Religious men and women are scheduled, as well as a prayer encounter in the Basilica of Saint Apollinaris.
My name is Van Vien Tran and I am in my first year of philosophy as a seminarian here at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Just six months ago and after a long voyage from my native land of Vietnam I touched down in Rome.
I spent my childhood in the endless rice fields of the countryside of Nam Dinh, a town about one hundred kilometers distance from the capital city of Hanoi. I am the eldest of four siblings, all of which struggle with different stages in life, the youngest being only twelve years old. The third second youngest is neck-deep in university studies and the second oldest has a degree in economics and commerce and now has a baby boy after his recent marriage.
Until thirteen years of age my life progressed somewhat slowly. My parents began work very early everyday and I grew up with my grandparents who lived with us during that time. I recall as if it were yesterday the deep piety and solid faith that compelled my grandfather to pray, morning and night, before a small image of Our Lady of Fatima. He prayed intensely for the entire family and he never forgot a single detail. The more I saw him the more my curiosity grew, and I moved from observation to action. He was in fact the fertile soil that prepared my own soul for growth.
It was thanks to him that I decided to spend my afternoons in the parish church first becoming an acolyte, then choir director and finally a catechist for the youngest children. One day in the parish it occurred to me that there was a course on vocational discernment open to young people. I met a priest there who profoundly impacted me on my spiritual journey. Up until I was thirteen years old these “men in black” that were always available to everyone and anyone and never failed to smile roused a kind of admiration within me. And it was no different with this priest. I remember how his simplicity and ability to communicate would draw in children of all ages. And a year never passed that the group did not continue to grow in number. Friendships that I still cherish to this day were born there, and it still surprises me to hear that a lot of these other children have been ordained as priests or taken vows as nuns.
These courses continued for years. And my grandfather noted how my enthusiasm and faith grew through time. So he decided to give me a beautiful wooden cross that I still have and would later take with me everywhere I went. At eighteen I moved to Hanoi to finish my schooling and had the possibility of choosing between four programs: Music, Communications, English and Law. I knew deep down that the final choice was mine but all my decisions were made through contemplation. And what better way to do this than before the wooden cross my grandfather gave me? Exams were brutal but I noticed how sacrifice was paid with favorable results. And the Cross served as a great help against fear! Even today I keep it on the nightstand next to my bed. Every morning I fix my gaze on it and reflect on the amount of suffering and find the strength to face the day, knowing that with Christ I can do anything.
And now I am to face another cycle of study at the Holy Cross: a university that is able to combine a high quality of education with a strong sense of community especially for those seminarians like myself who hail from the far ends of the earth. The quality and modernity of the facilities impresses me as well as the general care given or the number of books available to students.
And who can forget the first time one enters St. Peters? I hoped to attend the Christmas Mass with Pope Francis. Hours and hours of waiting in lines finally paid off as I stood in the magnificence of that church. I could not have imagined its grandeur having only seen online photos.
And finally, I would like to share an experience that has helped me to contemplate all these events in my life: to pray at the tomb of Cardinal Van Thuan. Through his writings I have been able to reflect on the life of this great man of the Church and the arduous situations he faced with such faith and tenacity. I was able to learn from him that hope in God and His mercy must be kept in mind in every moment of our lives.
From April 27-28, 2015, (Aula Magna "Giovanni Paolo II") the International Conference’s sixth edition “Poetics and Christianity” will take place. The initiative is promoted by the Faculty of Institutional Communications, with this year’s theme as, “To write, what for and for whom. The joys and travails of the artist.”
“To write a novel, a screenplay, a musical composition or create any work or art” – the organizers explain – “simultaneously arouses a profound joy and fatigue for the artist, not only physically but also spiritually. Some writers describe the creation process of every work of art as nearly an interior trauma. From where does the need to write arise? Who is the target audience? What are the motivations and intentions of the artists as he/she labors?”
The VI edition of the Conference “Poetics and Christianity” will be concerned with the writer, whether novelist, musician, or screenwriter, from the prospective of the subject as opposed to the work of art itself. Many schools of writing consider the craft of writing, namely, as how to compose a work that functions, and perhaps concentrate on tools that ensure success. Few, maybe none, can transmit the personal disposition of the one creating, of the talent and the efforts that it involves, and above all, the unveiling of a vocation and one’s personal response to it.”
The edition of this Conference seeks to highlight questions considering ‘for what’ and ‘for whom’ one writes. In our effort to offer a response, representatives from the artistic writing world will convene to dialogue with critics and academics.
Giulio Capece, Communications
"The University of the Holy Cross is an intellectually stimulating environment where the academic formation is part of the integral growth of the person
Thursday, March 26, 2015, on the initiative of the Department of Church History, the book presentation of Colaborar en el terreno dela caridad, by Prof. María Eugenia Ossandón, took place.
The book analyzes the relationshop between the Holy See and the International Committee Croce Rossa, between when the Committee began and the 30's of the XX century. Intervened Massimiliano Valente (European University of Rome) and Gianfranco Armando (Vatican Archive Secretary).
My name is Nguyen Van Cao. I am a twenty-five-year-old seminarian from the diocese of Hanoi, Vietnam and have been here in Rome for just over six months where I currently live at Sedes Sapientiae International Seminary.
My family is of humble origins and I am the youngest of three siblings. My sister worked as a secretary in an agency in the capital before she married and had children. My brother is a handyman and is also married and has two children. My mother worked in the rice fields for many years before taking her pension and my father worked in construction.
Just east of Hanoi, the capital of my country you will find our village that is essentially a series of small houses, shops and a small chapel in the center of the town. Life took on a fairly normal pace in our house. My father took advantage of every moment in the day when we were all together to explain to us some verses of the Gospel as it was so compelling for him, and he passed along this passion for Sacred Scripture to us children. My mother had to move to Saigon in the southern part of Vietnam for work purposes. My mother worked so much in the rice fields that we were only able to see her during Christmas for the better part of ten years.
And in her absence, my grandmother was the one who took up the mantel to watch over us. I recall how she would wake us up at four o’clock in the morning because it was the time when our village started to come to life. She would prepare breakfast for us and then take us with her to the chapel for prayers. My brother and sister would walk on each side of her while I, the smallest and youngest, would ride on her shoulders.
Her faith in God was immense and I often asked myself how she maintained that pace throughout those years of her life. Today I still believe that without her testimony I could not have dedicated my entire life to the service of the God in the Church. And after our usual visit in the chapel my grandmother then took us to school everyday. We would follow this daily ritual until my mother returned after her ten years of work.
During this time I was blessed to meet one of my fathers nine siblings that was then finishing his studies in the seminary to receive his ordination. Our conversations about Jesus grew increasingly interesting as he explained to me what it meant to be a priest for Him and how much good one could do by taking the habit. All these testimonies so alive and direct were gifts to me because they were able to enrich and help grow that vocational impetus that I needed to take the grand leap in my life.
After 1975 many churches were closed in Vietnam. Our own little chapel was only filled for Mass once a year and the nearest priest had to travel 45 miles to arrive at our chapel. For this reason, prayer was at the heart of our daily life in the absence of the Mass.
And then, at eighteen years of age I felt called to enter the seminary together with a dear friend of mine. We were however told that in order to better prepare, seminarians were first obliged to attend a state university for a time and study either communications, music, law or foreign languages, my friend and I chosing the final option. They were intense years, immersed in Chinese and English. But I was also finally able to dedicate myself to another passion that my father had cultivated in me when I was young: the organ. Unfortunately when I was small there was no opportunity to play such an instrument in my hometown and I only practiced on a small table of wood into which my father had carved makeshift pedals.
After our three years of study my friend was asked to go to study at the University of Navarra in Spain and shortly thereafter the secretary of the bishop called me. He looked at me and I remember only one word from that very emotional conversation: Rome! I was afraid of that choice because I didn’t feel up to the task. I decided to pray for ten days to ask God for strength. And during this time I read a passage from the Gospel of Luke (12:49-53). “I have come to bring fire to the earth. And how that I wish it were already kindled!”
After this everything became simpler. The first time I flew in a plane was to nowhere other than the heart of Christianity. I arrived in June and took in all the beauty and history of Rome. I went with a group of fellow residents to St. Peters and as I stepped across the threshold of the basilica I was immediately filled with an indescribable emotion and started to cry. As a child I saw only photos of this place and now I was physically standing here, not far from Pope Francis, another life-example for me. His evangelical call to poverty at the core of his messages always astounds me. Looking back over his life as a priest and bishop in greater detail, I discovered his proximity to the most needy and it motivates me even more to want to follow his example.
In October of last year, I started attending philosophy classes for the first year of the licentiate program at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. The University has had an extraordinary impact on me with one detail in particular standing out above the rest: the chapel attached to the University. I had never seen such a thing in Vietnam – to have Jesus so nearby as I study is a first. Professors are always available and patient, especially with those of us coming from very different realties. Lessons are clear and professors manage to outline deep and complex concepts to make them understandable to students.
I should like to conclude by saying that whenever I find myself before the Tabernacle I constantly ask God to make me into the priest that He wants me to be, and not the priest that I want to be.
Giovanni Fasulo, Communications, Italy
“My university years here in Rome at the Holy Cross have been rich with human and spiritual encounters. It provides ample opportunity for students to spend time together outside of strictly academic contexts in other strongly communal activities. My courses are incredibly engaging and professors are always available to students, not to mention the fact that they are always incredibly well prepared in their many years of academic experience. I will remember this experience at the Holy Cross for the rest of my life.”
Rev. Prof. Arturo from the Department of Moral Theology was awarded the Economy and Society International Prize under the category of young researchers in Social Doctrine of the Church. In 2012 Bellocq published the study “La doctrina social de la Iglesia. Qué es y qué no es”, as the second volume in the MCE Book Series.
This is the culmination of the Gospel, it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! This event is the basis of our faith and our hope. If Christ were not raised, Christianity would lose its very meaning; the whole mission of the Church would lose its impulse, for this is the point from which it first set out and continues to set out ever anew. The message which Christians bring to the world is this: Jesus, Love incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, but God the Father raised him and made him the Lord of life and death. In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death.
In the Hands of God
My name is Centus Muhogalu. I am twenty-nine years old and arrived in Rome just over two years ago to pursue a License (Masters equivalent) in Theology at the Holy Cross after having already finished my seminary studies in the archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria.
I am the fourth of five children and the only seminarian in the family.
I have to give credit to my parents for my first encounters with Jesus as a boy. To be a part of my family was a special time in my life because every morning we would all wake up and pray together, and again as a family we would do the same in the evening. It was in fact so important to pray as a family that we only began once everyone was present.
Over time my home became a place to pray the rosary. All the children of my village were welcomed into our living room to gather in a circle around an image of Our Lady of Fatima with the three little shepherds. The oldest children in the group would tell the story of Fatima at our get-together and this significantly enriched my spiritual life. I recall every time I heard the story that I too desired to become like the little shepherds and have a face-to-face encounter with the Blessed Virgin.
All these experiences brought me internally to a place of seeking growth and drawing nearer to God. One day when I went to Mass the parish priest announced that there were forms that could be filled out at the end of the aisle for those wishing to become priests. I took this announcement as a call to which I wished to respond. So without deliberation I filled out the form. I must confess that I did not feel I was equal to the task and it was not until after I had already passed two extremely challenging entrance exams that I realized that regardless of all my weaknesses I was held up because I was in the hands of God.
My parents and my siblings were quite enthusiastic about my choice and the news spread throughout the village. I remember many people congratulating me because I was the first from our area to enter the seminary.
My time in seminary was a smooth experience, even though I was still quite young, thanks to the support I received from my parents, and in particular my father. He was a generous man especially with those who had less than us. He spent much on parish activities and it was not by chance that all the children of the village got together at our house. Despite difficulties, he was in constant prayer. There was no morning when he did not wake us to begin the day with Jesus. He lived it as a task that was given to him, something of which I am deeply grateful. His closeness during my time in the seminary was essential for me. He lifted me up with his encouragement because he knew that is where I had chosen to stay.
There was however, a particularly challenging moment of my life before I arrived in Rome. Just before I left, my youngest brother moved with his family to the north of Nigeria to open a store. This greatly concerned my father, aware of the constant threat of the terrorist group Boko Haram in that region. Shortly after my brother had built their house, the store was attacked by some from this terrorist group and two people ended up being killed. I remember that I prayed a lot for him during that period and for his conversion given all the personal difficulties going on.
After some initial difficulties I made my way to Rome. When I arrived at the University I immediately felt that same sense of belonging that I breathed at home in Africa. The courses do not just help one deepen one’s theological understanding but they also serve to enrich each person’s spiritual life.
Pope Francis? I would love to say much. I believe he wants to give everything for God and it is evident in the way he speaks and receives people. He spends time with every person he encounters. He seeks deeper contact with others. He wants to make the Church a place of universal meeting where a humble welcome becomes the first fundamental step.
Lastly, like I always say, that which sustains me in life and pushes me to move forward is the Love of God. Because of this I am able to strive for Him and work to help people, to tell them of this Love that is also for them.
Francesca Falato - Philosophy
“When you enter Santa Croce you discover an environment that transmits a serious academic rigor, enriched with a deep humanity of both professors and personnel in administration. From my first day here, I have been able to appreciate this multi-cultural smorgasbord that has opened my eyes to the world and afforded me the opportunity to see things from perspectives different than my own.”
Rome, March 3 – 4 2015
The School of Theology of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross held its annual conference entitled The Mystery of Christ Made Present in the Liturgy on 3-4 March 2015.
The purpose of the conference was to offer a theological reflection on the liturgy focused on its centre and foundation: the mystery of Christ. This mystery is to be understood with all its facets as presented in the New Testament, both in the Gospels and in the Pauline Letters. The "mystery" is identified with Christ: His Person, His Pascal Mystery, united to the Church as His Body, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. This perspective leads to a historical-salvific understanding of the liturgy. The main addresses are situated in this context: the mysterion in the New Testament; mysterium and sacramentum in the liturgical sources; the actualization of the mystery in the liturgy; the liturgy of the hours, as a celebration of the mystery; the experience of the paschal mystery through liturgical music; Christian life as marked by the mystery celebrated.
Beginning Thursday March 5, (8:45 am, Aula Álvaro del Portillo), and for the following two months, the VI Course specializing in Religious Information for Vaticanists will take place. The scope is "to know the fundamental structures and dynamics of the Catholic Church to aid professionals dealing with these issues, as well as papal activity and the Roman Curia”.
My name is Emmarlone Ravago and I hail from the Philippines. This is my third and final year of studying theology here in Rome at the Holy Cross and I wanted to take this opportunity to especially thank all those benefactors whose gifts made it possible for me to have this experience of studying near the Holy Father.
Before I comment on my experience of the Papal visit to my homeland, I would like to speak about my vocation because I believe that this can help to elucidate that little hidden transcendence behind the pastoral visit of the well known “Lolo Kiko”, a sobriquet my people gave Pope Francis after having seen him pass through the streets of Manila and being swarmed by the crowds. The thing that struck me the most of this visit was his nearness and paternal love.
God’s call was seminally implanted during my childhood when I was an altar boy for our parish priest. I recall how he communicated his profound testimony through sacrifice and joy. But it was only at seventeen years of age that I decided to enter the diocesan seminary in Maasin, in the province of Leyte, a two hours drive from Tacloban – the place that was literally razed to the ground a year and a half ago by the typhoon Yolanda and also where Pope Francis recently desired to celebrate mass in the presence of thousands of people that personally suffered through the fury of that tempest.
I remember the moment of my call with absolute lucidity. I was at church during one of my usual visits in front of the Holy Sacrament when I felt a strong sense of peace envelop me, followed then by a long silence. It was an experience where words fail to describe but I believe that it had some semblance of what is described in Psalm 84: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” And thus, I began my first years of formation and was later invited to the University of Saint Thomas in Manila (the same place where Pope Francis met with 70,000 young people) to conclude my studies in philosophy.
One day at the University I met my spiritual director out of providence who happened to be there for work. While I was speaking with him he asked me if I would like to study in Rome. Then and there I said yes even though I knew it could never happen because of a lack of financial means. A few months later I received a letter from my Bishop informing me that he was able to secure a scholarship that would open the door for me to study in the Eternal City.
Once I arrived in Rome I was so excited that I still could hardly believe it. But the cultural shock and new language shook me out of that rather quickly. The most difficult trial for me came after a few months of being here when one of my aunts called and told me of the sudden death of my father. In the blink of an eye I found myself back in the Philippines and thought to myself that I would not be able to return to Rome because I thought I could not leave my mother alone. I was after all the only one there who could take care of her. But grace prevailed and so, with the same gift of strength and determination that led me into the seminary, I was able to persevere on my path.
The loss of my father was a hard blow to overcome because especially in that moment I really needed his presence. But when the Pope visited my homeland I felt an especially overwhelming joy in seeing him surrounded by abandoned children in one of the orphanages of Manila that he wanted to visit. It was something indescribable for me. I will conclude by saying that I think Pope Francis didn’t want to meet the people of the Philippines as Pontifex Maximus or a Head of State, rather simply as a father, or better yet, a grandfather with a deep desire to embrace all. And precisely for this reason, his name among my people will be forever remembered as “Lolo Kiko.”
Héctor Patricio Aranda Mella, Communications
“To study in Rome has given me a vision of the universality of the Church and above all has taught me the diverse realities that will reinforce the mission that God has entrusted to me.”
The 13th of February is the liturgical feast day of Our Lady of Apollinaris, in memory of the rediscovery of her Holy Effigy. The fifteenth century fresco that depicts Our Lady between the Apostles Peter and Paul is found in the entrance portico of the Basilica.
In December 1494 the fresco was covered with a layer of dull and colorless plaster to hide it from the soldiers of Charles the VIII as well as to protect it from the dangers arising from the struggle between the Orsini and the militias of the Seneschal Belcari that were encamped in the portico. The fresco was subsequently forgotten through time. Some 153 years later on February 13th 1647 the protective plaster crumbled and the Effigy appeared still intact. This aroused a strong popular devotion and was ‘crowned’ by the Vatican Chapter in 1653.
At the base of the throne there is an inscription that is believed to have been affixed during the plague of 1657:
SANTA MARIA REPARATRIX NOSTRAE CONCORDIAE OMNIUM FIDELIUM CHRISTIANORUM FIDELIUM CHRISTIANORUM TU INTERCEDE PRO NOBIS APUD DEUM UT LIBEREMUR A PESTE EPIDEMIA ET AB OMNIBUS MALIS PRAESENTIBUS ET FUTURIS. AMEN.
The “Anthropological Question” and the Evangelization of the Family
Rome, March 12-13, 2015
In the final document of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, the Synod Fathers highlighted the anthropological question as central to understanding the family and in giving practical responses to the crisis that it suffers in today’s society: “Faithful to Christ’s teaching, we look to the reality of the family today in all its complexity, with both its lights and shadows (…). Anthropological and cultural changes in our times influence all aspects of life and require an analytic and diversified approach” (n. 5).
Moreover, as Pope Francis himself said, in the process of the rediscovery of the “Gospel of the Family” the anthropological question is a necessary element for carrying out a truly effective pastoral care of the family.
Taking a cue from these suggestions, the School of Canon Law, with the participation of other Schools of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, has decided to organize this Interdisciplinary Conference on Marriage and the Family during this period between Synods.
The Conference will attempt to make a constructive contribution to the reflections of the Church on Marriage and the Family. The common feature of the different contributions will be the study of the “anthropological question” that emerges in the different fields of knowledge: from Theological and Philosophical Anthropology to Sacramental Theology, Canon Law of Marriage, and the Pastoral Care of Marriage.
Besides presentations on anthropological, theological and juridical issues, there will also be time dedicated to practical sessions in which experts working in the field will present initiatives that have produced abundant fruit in two areas: marriage preparation and accompaniment of the married couples in their journey together, in both good and trying times.
I am Emmanuel Jipson Fernando Warnakulasuriya, seminarian from the diocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka. This is my forth year in Rome and I’ve arrived at the final semester of studies for my License (Pontifical Master’s equivalent) in Spiritual Theology here at the Holy Cross.
This year has revealed itself to be particularly special for me, most of all because I personally witnessed the Christian catholicity through the Papal visit to my home country. Ten years ago Sri Lanka was devastated by a massive tsunami that left thousands of dead and scattered people in it’s wake, and this also amidst thirty years of civil war.
This is the third Papal visit to have happened in my country after Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, the latter of which I only vaguely remember the surrounding buzz and emotion on account of the fact that I was still a baby. However, I would venture to say that the visit of Pope Francis has probably been the most important and most anticipated of the Sri Lankan people. In fact, in my own parish they had been organizing days of prayer and lots of activities since last summer in preparation of this momentous occasion.
I think that it was of such significance for three reasons: the first is from a religious perspective, since inter-faith relationships between Christians, Hindi, Buddhists, and Muslims have improved. Thus, the Pope was also heartily welcomed from the other religions. In fact, of the six-hundred thousand people that attended the Canonization ceremony of Joseph Vaz, first Saint of Sri Lanka, one-hundred and fifty thousand of them were Buddhists.
The second reason is the fact that it was on the occasion of the Canonization of the first missionary priest of Sri Lanka I mention above, a personage of great importance not only for Catholics but for all religious confessions because he was a man that helped all and did not serve according to religious or social distinctions.
The third reason is of a political nature. The country is experiencing a moment of peace after thirty years of cruel violence and conflict between the Singhalese and Tamil. I should add that Francis has been the first Pope to visit the Marian Sanctuary of Mahdu, a sanctuary of great note for the Sri Lankan people since it is the site of the first Christians in our country. In the past century it was also bombed and ransacked by terrorists and separatists of both ethnic groups.
But now returning to the Papal visit, I believe that the prayer the Pope made in front of the statue of Our Lady of Mahdu was for me personally the most moment moving, as the sanctuary has somehow remained fully upright and intact after so many years of tragic war. In memory of this reality, a huge hole has been preserved next to the sanctuary where a cannon projectile struck and almost destroyed everything. And the Pope spoke in Mahdu with such authority and courage that I believe that from his example we will be able to regain a desire to return to a peaceful unity between the parties.
I was struck by a phrase in a recent interview with the Cardinal Archbishop Ranjith of Colombo, where he talked about how both Pope Francis and Joseph Vaz have a uniting factor: they both managed to capture the attention of all peoples of Sri Lanka, and more specifically, the spirit of optimism and joy in facing the challenges that we face when going on a mission. The facts show that Joseph Vaz and Pope Francis moved forward in both their own lands and abroad by relying totally on the hands of the Lord.
I actually arrived here by chance, almost reluctantly. But after the strange initial impact I slowly was enraptured by this new world. And I think that this choice has opened up horizons to me that were previously obfuscated or of which I was completely ignorant. These are horizons of a fullness of that amazes me every time I think about it. I have found such happiness in this place, a love that is freely given, an attention to each person, a place where the question “How are you” is not just a matter of lip service. I owe the “Giulia” I have become today to this university and the wisdom gained from the professors, the incredible experiences of fellow students, and the kind and generous work of administration personnel.
Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th of this week in February the University is hosting the days of study in collaboration with the Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI Foundation. The topic of study is “Ratzinger and Daniélou before the mystery of history”.
Through this criterion we wish to emphasize the educational role of philosophy by recognizing its origin and genuine objective. The current argument, with considerable impact as it is at the center of much international debate, not only lends itself well to illustrate the usefulness of philosophy, but also to deepen its essence according to the classical Socratic and Platonic definitions, and subsequently as it has historically developed up to today.
The conference will deal with the topic through a three-fold approach: historical-philosophical, theoretical, and educational-pedagogical. In addition to a historical journey made by highlighting exemplars for the philosophical definition of paideia, there will be an in-depth study of relevant theoretical issues with educational-pedagogical sessions.
All conference speakers will be asked to comment on the general proposed theme: the educational role of philosophy – in order to offer reflection for research orientation and teaching practices.
I am Alberto, a second-year student of Theology from Ghana. I come from a large family with six children. I am the only seminarian and my sister is the only nun and provincial superior for the Congregation of St. Joseph of Cluny. And the other four? You could say that with a cardiologist, an otolaryngologist and an ophthalmologist we have a proper hospital in our home.
In truth, since I was a small child I was convinced that I wanted to take on the career of a lawyer until one day in elementary school, during one of our recreations I saw a priest that came to bless our games. As I watched him a strange sensation came over me. I remember in that moment I was struck by a particularly strong joy that emanated from that person, and I concentrated on one detail: the stole with a large gilded cross sewn into it. That meeting completely changed my objectives
I don’t believe that it was a merely casual event. In fact, before that experience I placed myself at some distance to the Faith and had no intention of participating in the Mass, also being influenced by some friends at school. I didn’t believe there was any reason or need to adore the Lord. One morning my father, observing my behavior, worked with great delicacy to get me to see just how important the Mass was for my life. And from that moment I decided to accompany my parents to Mass every morning until I met this priest.
My father certainly wasn’t mistaken. Through time and in developing the habit of going to Mass a desire grew within me to meet with Jesus more and more and that he was asking me to serve him as that priest I met at school served him.
In the meantime my high school studies progressed and I passed my final exams with very high grades and I found myself at something of crossroads. My grades were high enough to get into a good university or do I instead take another path into the seminary? I took some time to decide and in the interim I taught religion in a school and because the assistant principal. Two years passed from that time and suddenly I heard a voice inside of me saying, “Alberto, come to me!” And thus, I entered the seminary against the opinions of my siblings and friends who all took me for a loon.
I believe that the example of my father has been decisive in this decision as he was then president of the diocesan laity and a bank manager from whom I learned to love the Church. His spirit of service for the community had no limits. Often he told us how he would leave his place of work at the bank to give a hand in the parish. I didn’t understand this behavior and so decided to ask him why he helped the Church so much, knowing that there would be no money made from it as he did at the bank. I remember that he looked at me and said, “Alberto, the Lord is my strength. He is my source, all my wealth.”
And after having studied for five years in the minor seminary of “St. Gregory the Great” in the city of Paakoso I was shipped off to a completely new reality, in the hear of the Church, to the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. After two years of Theology I’ve had a foundational experience of both spiritual and academic formation, encompassed by diverse cultures and traditions to learn so much from others not like my own African ones.
Bartosz Wasad, Institutional Communications
“The Holy Cross is a university very well organized and universal in scope, in the sense that it gives light to the world and is open to the world. The professors are always available and the classes are incredibly engaging. I am grateful to be part of this reality.”
Tuesday January 20th 2015 the School of Theology celebrated the Academic Feast in honor of their patron Saint Thomas Aquinas.
After Holy Mass in the Basilica of Apollinaris, Rev. Prof. Robert Wielockx gave the speech St. Thomas on certainty and liberty in the Aula Magna “John Paul II”.
A Masters for formators of seminarians and another course on Ars praedicandi will be offered by the Center for Priestly Formation, beginning in February.
Beginning on the 19th of February 2015 the Center for Priestly Formation will launch it’s second installment of their Masters for Seminarian Formators, a 44-hour course divided into two semesters for ongoing formation of priests that are students in Rome.
Among the objectives of the Masters that is sponsored by the Congregation for the Clergy are the improvement of skills in the context of the completion of training projects, the knowledge of processes of seminarian maturity to help better their development skills, and preparation in various forms of spiritual guidance.
The program will thus focus on areas of human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and organizational development for the seminarian.
The Ars praedicandi will kick off on February 25th entitled “Classical rhetoric and modern communication at the service of Evangelization”. The 12-hour course is to serve as an aid to priests for preparation of their homilies, by beginning with the study of classical rhetoric and then offering practical applications.
“The glory of God is not expressed in the triumph and power of a king, it does not shine out in a famous city or a sumptuous palace, but makes it abode in a virgin’s womb and is revealed in the poverty of a child. In our lives too, the almightiness of God acts with the force –often in silence- of truth and love. Thus faith tells us that in the end the defenseless power of that Child triumphs over the clamor of worldly powers.” Benedict XVI
The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross would like to wish you a very Merry Chrsitmas and a happy New Year.
“We’re losing our humanity.” These are the cries from Liberia, and more specifically from the mouth of Msgr. Anthony Borwah, Bishop of the diocese of Gbarnga as he speaks of the national emergency caused by the Ebola outbreak. “This calamity is making simple acts of affection impossible, like consoling someone broken and in tears with a simple hug.”
Msgr. Borwah, a Holy Cross alumnus of the School of Church Communications and Synod Father of the recent Synod of Bishops on the family tells of how he was unable to participate in the recent Synod held in Rome. He adds that this would have been important but since the very first case of Ebola was discovered the country went into an immediate state of emergency: schools were closed, markets vacated, and offices emptied, ravaging the entire country. The virus has also caused a general impoverishment of the family as many now cannot even afford a single meal a day.
“In addition to being hungry and angry” – the bishop continues – “the Liberian people are rapidly losing hope and believe that God has abandoned us again. To be precise, before the now ubiquitous Ebola threat, the Church in Liberia worked tirelessly the past decade to heal the still-fresh wounds of the civil war, one that literally brought the country to its knees ten years ago with a severe economic crisis and proliferation of firearms.
The situation is dim. Liberian victims of the virus currently number around 2,400 according to international sources. Meanwhile, the bishop tells us the diocese of Gbarnga wants to begin a food distribution network since the prices of rice, corn and other consumables is experiencing a dramatic spike due to supply shortages and the fact that no one wants to be anywhere near Ebola outbreaks. Ten minutes before the recitation of the rosary, the faithful in all parishes are informed of the risks of the contagion and the Catholic Church of Liberia is working with the government “Ebola Task Force Team” throughout the country, instructing groups of nurses in various dioceses of Liberia.
But the story of Msgr. Borwah is one of personal tragedy as well, having lost his dear friend and spiritual director to the virus, the Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, one of the first Europeans who contracted the virus and died in Spain shortly after his return.
“The solution?” The Liberian Church Father points out that what is needed is a “rediscovery of our humanity, our spontaneous goodness, seeking to offer, as the Church, solutions of the lasting sort.” This then sends a message to the world: “The friends of Jesus Christ – the poor, women, children, the innocent – these need spiritual and material support. The Liberian people are losing their own faith, hope and love. They are poor, hungry and desperate. God does not abandon us and will never abandon us. Please, do not abandon us to the devastation of Ebola. We beg you to pray for us!”
Costanza Murgia, 1st year philosophy student
“When I came to the Holy Cross I noticed that people don't study here to pass exams but to grow together, in passion, genuine interest and a desire for a deeper understanding of the Truth.”
Economics for Ecclesiastics Course
Friday January 16th 2015, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross will host the fifth session of the course “Economics for Ecclesiastics”on the subject “money and inflation”. The course is organized by MCE Research Centre and will be offered by Lord B. Griffiths of Fforestfach, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs International UK.
My name is Samuel Armnius and I am a first year student of Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross as well as a diocesan seminarian.
My family is of Egyptian origin but my parents, soon after getting married, moved to Paris where my four siblings and I were born. The Faith that was passed on to us since childhood bore considerable fruit because my two sisters are nuns and my brother is already a priest, leaving just me now as a seminarian.
I remember feeling the presence of Christ beside me ever since I was very young. And after high school I decided to take up studies of Law and Accounting for five years at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Once I concluded my studies I opened a consulting office specializing in Organization and Management because I wanted to help people be able to disentangle themselves from the serpentine French bureaucracy. In the meantime however, I also noticed that the presence of Christ increased in my life and I eventually felt His call.
So it was thus that after a few years in the seminary in France I now find myself within the walls of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross here in Rome. Two weeks proved more than sufficient time to see that this environment was warm and welcoming but also serious, where spiritual and theological growth, in addition to personal growth, are at the very heart of teaching.
What’s more, I must add that my “Roman sojourn” is becoming ever more interesting thanks to the familial ambiance I have found at the International Ecclesiastical College Sedes Sapientiae, located in the center of Rome and Trastevere. It has become for me a second home.
My origins are found in the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox community, which has been for me a unique example of simplicity and love for Christ. Since I was young I remember quite well how often the Egyptian community was affected by violent bombings in Egypt that in most cases was intended to destroy our churches. And after one such attack I remember asking my aunt in Cairo through Facebook how they were living through and dealing with these difficult times. She told me that the Coptic Christians were planning to gather for a vigil prayer in the town square so that they may also witness to the love of Christ to all people, including the bombers.
“The first thing that struck me about this university is the attitude and accessibility of professors towards students, even in their first year. For them the person comes first, then the student.”
Marina Scarrone Second Year Student of Institutional Communications
The Bishop Prelate and Grand Chancellor of Opus Dei, Msgr. Javier Echevarría, presided over the Holy Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit at 9:30 in the Basilica of St. Apollinaris, also concelebrated by the school deans and academic authorities.
Rev. Prof. José María La Porte, Dean of the School of Communications then offered the inaugural address immediately following the Mass in the Aula Magna under the title “Communication of the Faith in the Existential Periphery”.
During the opening discourse of the academic year, the Grand Chancellor noted that, “a Church looking outward is in need of a university that looks outward, that doesn’t close itself up in some ivory tower, but one that develops a thought that is born from life and is placed at the service of life.”
At the close of the ceremony silver medals were awarded to university employees who have served for twenty-five years.
Thursday, December 4 (5:00 pm, Aula Álvaro del Portillo), the University will hold the award ceremony of the 2014 Novak Award assigned to prof. Oskari Juurikkala, Finnish scholar who is expert in economy and law, now completing a doctorate in theology. Due to the award, prof. Juurikkala will hold a conference A free-market appreciation of Pope Francis.
My name is Charbel Obeid, and I am from Byblos, a northern city of Lebanon, located 30 km from Beirut. I’m studying my first year of theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and living in Sedes Sapientiae, the University international college for seminarians. I also have the privilege and responsibility of being the only Lebanese seminarian studying in Rome.
I come from a simple family. My father has bakeries and my mother is a housewife. My father’s religious faith helped me to grow in mine as well and get closer to Christ. From school my friends always considered me as someone who is sensible to the things of God: so much that I was nicknamed "the priest".
At 18 I began studying civil law and at the same time I was appointed president of the youth ministry in the diocese, which was comprised of around 120 young people. This allowed me to encounter the reality of the Maronite Church in a special way and work closely with the Bishop of Jbeil in that time, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, who in 2011 was elected Patriarch of Antioch and in 2012 was created cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.
The experience I had working with my bishop was very enriching because on the one side I could see the confidence he placed in youth, and on the other, his tireless work for the unity of Christians. I remember that despite his work he always gave us the necessary time to listen to our needs and celebrate our achievements. This certainly created in me an appreciation for the priestly vocation.
Finally, at the age of 22, after a long period of vocational discernment, I joined the seminary of the patriarchal see of Bkerke, where I did my studies of philosophy. The Maronite Church of Lebanon has the characteristic of living with other churches and religions, especially the Greek Orthodox Church and Muslims. Each year we encounter the latter where we encourage dialogue and fraternal coexistence.
My first year in Rome has been wonderful because I've been fortunate enough to learn and delve into the Latin liturgy, meeting other views and exchanging opinions. This experience has helped me to open my horizons and further strengthen the bonds of unity.
The most beautiful experience was meeting Pope Francis. I saw in him a true shepherd and guide that gives himself fully to his people. Just a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in the meeting that the Holy Father had with students of the pontifical colleges in Rome. In this occasion I also had the privilege of asking him one of the questions we prepared. After the meeting I greeted him and I could see his interest for the Church in Lebanon and the Middle East.
The mission is very challenging and difficult but also exciting and encouraging. And I would like to thank especially all benefactors of the University of the Holy Cross and Sedes Sapientiae that, with their constant help and interest in helping the Church, assist the mission of forming true shepherds that will watch the Lord's flock.
Day seminar on "Evangelii Gaudium and Academic Work"
In what mode does Evangelii Guadium, the first apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, call upon the academic community and university research? This question was at the center of a recent seminar for university professors that took place on May 15th 2014. Professors from all schools within the Holy Cross as well as the Institute of Religious Sciences were in attendance. Useful ideas emerged from discussion and debate concerning teaching and research in theological, philosophical, canonical and communications fields.
"I often wonder what keeps me going amidst the constant deadlines and endless work to be done. The answer is simple: passionate professors seeking to share the truth, crystallized by Rome's visible and singular manifestation of it."
School of Communications
The School of Philosophy of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, in collaboration with the Lumen Christi Institute for the promotion of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, will host a 5-day seminar on St Thomas Aquinas’ philosophical account of liberum arbitrium and the psychological and metaphysical underlying principles from June 23rd to the 27th. The seminar aims to delve into the issues that the Angelic Doctor expounds on the relationship between intellect and will, investigating certain issues of particular interest such as causal determinism and choice between good and evil.
My name is Hector Patricio Aranda Mella. I'm from Chile, and I come from the Diocese of St Bartholomew of Chillán, a diocese in the outskirts of the Archdiocese of Concepción. I am currently completing my bachelors of Church communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and living in Altomonte’s residence for priests, under the care of Opus Dei, where I have the opportunity to share experiences with 50 other young priests of different nationalities.
I am the second of four kids in my family and the only son. My family has always been very close to the Church and this has certainly contributed to a natural growth of my priestly vocation. Since my childhood I was continually amazed by the joy of the priests and the ease with which they lived the parish life among their parishioners. However, it was not until I turned 24 that God intervened into my life through a vocational retreat. This event marked my life in a very special way and gave me the courage to give a generous yes to His call to serve as a priest and a shepherd of his flock.
After the retreat, I entered into the archdiocesan seminary of the Immaculate Conception where I underwent my priestly formation: four years of philosophy and three years of theology. During my first year of seminary I experienced a great difficulty with the death of my father that God used in a wonderful way to shape my heart and prepare me for great sacrifice. On the one hand I had the needs of my family that I was thinking about. What would my mother and sisters do? And on the other, the voice of God calling me to give up everything and follow him. Finally, with my superior’s support as well as through prayer, I was not only able to overcome this great trial, but I came out of it even stronger and more convinced that God wanted me as his pastor.
I was ordained a priest on October 6, 2007, by my Bishop Monsignor Carlos Pelegrin. Immediately after, I began my ministry as parish vicar and was in charge of the diocesan youth pastoral work. Years later, I was sent to be a pastor to one of the outlying areas in my country. These six years as a priest have not only been a time of learning and identifying myself with the vocation of a pastor, but I have also seen how God guides his people through us.
Thank God the diocese already has a radio and a magazine that broadcasts to all the faithful of the diocese, but you can do even more. I spoke about this precisely to my Bishop, a few weeks ago, when he came to Rome for the Beatification of John XXIII and the Canonization of John Paul II.
Certainly, we expect to do great work, but this is necessary to fulfill what the Pope told us when he spoke to the students of the Pontifical Universities of Rome on May 12th. He briefly said, "The pastor must move in the front to guide the flock, in the middle to understand the needs and concerns of his flock, and in the rear to push them and encourage them to move forward."
From March 28th to the 30th 2014, under the initiative of the School of Church Communications, the IX Professional Seminar for Church Communications Offices took place.
Entitled “Church Communications: Creative Strategies for Promoting Cultural Change”, the seminar aimed to provide “positive experiences and networking opportunities among communication professionals as well as tools for debating and communicating the faith in the public sphere”.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, spoke the opening day discussing the cultural challenges for Church communicators. Moreover, there were the speeches by Card. Philipe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon (The Family as a Communications Opportunity), and Prof. Joaquín Navarro-Valls, former spokesman for the Vatican (Holiness and Communications: the Figure of John Paul II).
"I really love working with people, and here I am in contact with many wonderful individuals. We are primarily in touch for work, but we often form friendships too! There is never a moments rest, but I love it."
Santa Croce Library
On Thursday May 22nd, the school of canon law hosted a day seminar on mercy and law within the context of Marriage.
In anticipation of the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family, this seminar aimed to stimulate reflection on the importance of mercy in canon law, and more specifically around the topic of marriage, also taking into account current pastoral challenges regarding the family.
My name is Danilo Jubenal Aranda, and I am currently in my third year of theology at the University of the Holy Cross. I come from the Diocese of San Roque, in Argentina, and am the youngest of three children of a humble family. I grew up with my grandmother and I was the only one of the three grandchildren who was able to attend school thanks to her and my brothers’ support. It was she who instilled in me a great love for God and the Blessed Virgin. She, without being aware of it, watered that seed that God had planted in my heart long before I was born.
As a teenager, I used to travel by bicycle nearly 19 miles to attend Catechism in the parish church. This certainly instilled a greater sensitivity for the things of God within me, but I would say that it was more the lack of priests and the people’s need that I saw that drew me at the age of 15 to become a priest. And yet, even then, God still wanted me to walk other paths to better grow that seed and to reinforce my assent to His call.
So I finished my high school studies and entered the police academy. But just before I was about to begin actually working as an officer of the law, God made it clear He wanted me to change profession. Instead of protecting people through service to the law, He asked me to give my life for them, just as his Son did, through service to the Church. At 22, after an intensive vocational discernment, I entered into the seminary of the Archdiocese of Resistencia where I did my first years of philosophy studies.
My studies in the seminary coincided with the 25th anniversary of its foundation and Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was invited for this momentous occasion. What struck me about this first meeting with him and what has always edified me has been his simplicity and closeness. I remember serving Mass and having the opportunity to greet and tell him of my coming to Rome to study theology. He was so very friendly and encouraged me to continue in my diligence.
I completed philosophy and then came to Rome to begin theology. I was very excited, but also had a great fear of not living up to what was asked of me, because I thought that only intellectuals come to Rome and certainly they were wrong about me. But now, after three years, I see that it has been a wonderful experience in every way: living with seminarians from other countries and cultures, the professionalism and Sensus Ecclesiae I see in the professors of the Holy Cross, the faith of the Church reflected in its art and architecture, and especially, the closeness to the Vicar of Christ by personally experiencing important historic moments like Benedict's resignation and the election of Pope Francis.
I was once again able to experience the joy I felt as an acolyte with Cardinal Bergoglio’s Mass, but this time with him as the bishop of Rome. The opportunity came last year at Pentecost Celebration. It was spectacular: a raffle of our names was done among all who live at the college to see who would be the acolytes, and I was the first to be chosen. At the end of Mass I had the opportunity to greet and thank him for everything he is doing for the Church. A few days ago I experienced another important and unique moment in the history of the Church: The canonization of two Popes. What a joy and what a gift from God that allows me to live these unforgettable moments in the heart of the Church!
The school of theology hosted a special academic ceremony in honor of Rev. Prof. Michelangelo Tábet on Wednesday April 9th which also included a presentation of the volume Collectanea Biblica, a collection of most of his writings edited by E. González.
School of Church Communications
The Campus Ministry for the Diocese of Rome will hold an evening pilgrimage for university students to the Shrine of Divine Love on Saturday May 10th. The theme of the evening will be “walking in joy”.
The pilgrimage is for larger groups of University students and will be concluded by Mass celebrated by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar of the Holy Father for the diocese of Rome.
I am Fr. Kennedy Rodríguez Montes de Oca, from the Dominican Republic and I come from the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo. I am the eighth of twelve children, all of whom were born and raised in Barahona, a province in the southwest with a paltry presence of the Church where the percentage of various sects and nonbelievers is quite high. My family belonged to the latter group, not because we did not want to join the Catholic faith, but because no one had taught us.
Only when we moved to the capital city did we first hear about the Catholic Faith, though we still did not practice this faith. This was all made possible thanks to my neighbor who invited me to the CCD class. I gradually grew to know Jesus and drew very close to Him. This all began as a teenager since my young childhood was completely absent of any knowledge of Jesus. And yet, everything I heard about him was extraordinary. During this time I had the opportunity to meet other religious denominations and systems of belief, but none were as convincing as the Catholic Faith. The Liturgy, the Sacraments and the person of the priest strongly drew my attention. How is it possible that a man with his own two hands can bring God himself to earth and give God to others?
At the age of 17, I was invited to participate in a retreat that touched my life in a very special way. But the thought still never occurred to me that God perhaps wanted me to follow him in this particular path. Instead it was a feeling that I wanted to draw nearer to God. I remember how on Sundays, so as to avoid any suspicion in my family, I would get up very early while everyone was still sleeping and attend Sunday Mass. Afterwards I returned home and went back to bed to get up with everyone else as if nothing had happened.
Finally that same year I told my family my desire to become a Catholic priest. Obviously everyone was opposed to the idea and could not believe it. They thought I was crazy. And from that moment on, all the way to my priestly ordination, I began a difficult path, a period of suffering and purification, where I had to accept that even my own family, relatives and friends, seemed to be against me. But I felt comforted knowing that He who has called me has traveled the same road, and that I was not alone. I was ordained a priest on August 23rd, 2008 by the hands of the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Primate of America, Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez.
Immediately after my ordination I was assigned to work at the parish Evangelizadora Mediática San Antonio de Padua, a particular church for its unique mission. In addition to the regular pastoral work, my parish had the responsibility of broadcasting the liturgical celebrations and other liturgical events to various stations both nationally and internationally, reaching a total of thirteen national channels and four in the United States. Here I began to understand the importance of media for the transmission of the Gospel to a greater number of people.
Later I was sent to a poor parish in the countryside. It was a big change, but the mission is always the same: evangelization. There we built churches and schools, with the support of many people I met in my previous parish. In 2013 I was asked to come to Rome to study Church Communications. I can say that it has been, and remains to be, an experience that enriches and opens my horizons so as to perform the mission of Jesus in the vast and fertile fields of the media, as I work for the harvest.
On Saturday March 22nd, deacon Paterne H. Koyassambia- Kazondo from the diocese of Bangui (Central African Republic) received his priestly ordination from the hands of Msgr. Guerino Di Tora, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, in the basilica attached to the University that serves as the student chapel.
Father Paterne studies Canon Law at the university and currently resides in the Altomonte college for priests.
"Understand the roots of our Faith more deeply, and to walk where the first Christians also walked."
School of Communications
On April 10th, the School of Philosophy of the University of the Holy Cross will organize an afternoon seminar session on “Freedom and dependence: An Interdisciplinary Perspective” in collaboration with the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies and Roma Tre University.
In the organizer’s own words, "the objective of this seminar will be that of describing and defining various types of dependence, to identify its causes and try to frame a conceptual space that is capable of addressing the problem in a positive manner while also hold consistent with human nature".
Along with other speakers will be professors Robert Gahl and Wenceslao Vial, respectively teachers in the schools of philosophy and theology of the university. In order to better form an understanding of such complexities, the subject will be approached from the following interdisciplinary perspectives: philosophy, neurobiology, psychiatry, psychology and sociology".
My name is father Krzysztof Seroka and I am from the Diocese of Elk, in Poland, a region that borders Lithuania and is rich in its wonderful and abundant lakes and forests, made famous by an enthusiastic priest who in the 40s' organized tours with his students. These excursions that continue to this day are still carried out by many of us as we emulate our beloved Blessed John Paul II.
My mother was an elementary school teacher and my father was the bus driver of the same school. There they met and God united them in marriage and granted them three sons, me being the second in the lineup. I can say that we are a family that lives faith intensely and we all belong to a family movement called "Domowy Kosciól" (Church Domestic).
The seed that grew in my heart, bringing me to the priesthood, was born out of this environment. I would say that what most influenced my vocation was the personal testimony of parish priests, and above all, of those who accompanied me during my adolescence: two young missionary priests that, with apostolic zeal and joy, were able to instill a great love of Christ in me. I still remember the pilgrimages we made, the most famous being the one we made biannually to the Shrine of Czestochowa, a 322-mile two-week walk, praying and singing in a truly Christian environment, camping along the way. Later I made this pilgrimage many times as a priest and I believe Czestochowa was a major part of discovering my vocation.
At the age of 19, after completing my schooling, I entered the seminary. It was a very natural step because since childhood I was convinced that this was what God wanted of me. It was so clear because although I had many female friends, I never wanted to strike up a dating relationship with any of them. This of course did not spare me from the trials I was to later face during my years of formation, that I believe served to reinforce the call from God.
During the training period in the diocesan seminary, consisting of two years of philosophy and four of theology, I had great experiences that helped me develop a priestly heart, as well as many examples to emulate including John Paul II. I learned and continue learning much from his great love for humanity, and particularly for the youth of the world.
And while on the subject of youth, I feel I should highlight the “Christian rock band” from my seminary years where I played the bass to accompany my fellow seminarians. We offered concerts where we taught Christ, offered our testimonies and showed the young people the joy of leaving everything to follow Him. It was a very successful endeavor and brought life to both the seminary and the diocese and served as an effective paradigm shift in the view that many young people have of those who are in the seminary to become priests.
I was ordained a priest in May 2010 and worked the first years of my apostolate in the parish of Gizycko. There I had the opportunity to interact with good priests, learning and working with them in the formation of youth and adolescents. In the summer of 2013 my bishop asked me to come to Rome to study Church Communications in order to improve this need in our diocese, and make better use of the resources we have so as to evangelize and effectively dialogue with today’s world.
On Wednesday March 12th the Harambee project, an international solidarity organization that promotes education in Africa, held an exhibition promoting current social initiatives born out of the encouragement and efforts of the future Blessed Mgrs. Álvaro del Portillo, in concomitance with the conference organized by the University of the Holy Cross on the occasion of the centennial of his birth. The exhibition also offered the possibility of supporting four projects for 2014, including some scholarships for African students studying at the Holy Cross in Rome.
"Thanks to the Santa Croce, our education here is preparing us to take the New Evangelization to every corner of the globe with a strength that only comes from God."
School of Philosophy
On Tuesday March 18th, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross held a day seminar for scholars in the school of philosophy entitled, “Ethical Problems”. The seminar was hosted by Prof. Robert Gahl, tenured professor of Fundamental Ethics.
My name is Pratheesh K. Thomas and I am from the Archdiocese of Thrissur, in the province of Kerala (India) where we belong to the Syro-Malabar rite, a community that dates back to the Apostle Thomas himself. I grew up in a small family with my parents and my younger brother. My mother and father created a small company working in typography, and together created this firm for minor typographical projects within the city. I remember the many times I used to work with my father during the holidays and how my mother always made us wait for my father to return home so we could to eat together as a family. And within this environment of a tight-knit family and work, I grew into the man I am today.
From the very beginning of my childhood my mother instilled the importance of the daily Mass within us. At the age of 10, after receiving my first communion, I regularly served the parish as an acolyte. As a child I always had the idea of becoming a doctor, but I used to say that I wanted to be a priest. When I was 14 I told my mother for the first time about my desire to enter into the seminary whereafter she immediately told me to forget about it because I was still too young and we could see about it later once I was a bit older. But I was already strong in my desire and decided to speak with my parish priest. After my parish priest spoke with my parents they allowed me to enter into the seminary.
The following weekend I was doing my vocational retreat and within a few months I was in a vocational summer course we call "selection camp" because of the 300 children that begin the course, only 50 are chosen each year to study at the minor seminary. I lived there three years and I distinctly remember the unforgettable experience that changed the course of my vocation.I was with my family for the holidays. In our home we had a power generator that provided electricity to both my father's workshop and our house. This, in turn, was controlled by a switch that was always switched on or off before the generator because of electrical current. But one day, by mistake, I didn’t turned off the switch and, when I tried to turn off the generator, I was instantly shocked with 220 volts passing through my body, which knocked me down and left me stuck to the driver without being able to let go. A few minutes was certainly enough for me to not be able to tell this story now. I just remember that I could not scream, I remained voiceless, and gradually I fell unconscious. But here is where God acted. My dad, who was returning from work, by habit or perhaps as an instrument of God saw that the switch was left on and turned it off not knowing that I was attached on the other side. Some minutes later they noticed my absence and found me laying unconscious but alive, thank God that my father had turned off the power. However, the shock I received from God was even stronger because that experience deepened my love of Him and solidified my vocation.
Years later I joined the St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary in Alwaye to continue my studies in philosophy. I can say that in this archdiocesan seminary I learned the meaning of sharing and fraternity. I also learned the meaning of universality as we were about 300 seminarians from across the entire province, from the first year of philosophy through the last of theology.
In 2009 I started my year of apostolic internships, being sent first for sixth months to the minor seminary as an assistant and the other half of the year I spent teaching CCD in my parish, visiting homes, and helping provide for the needs of the parish.In 2010 I was send to Rome for my theological studies. Honestly I did not want to come. I felt so comfortable in Kerala, with my community. But now after almost 4 years of being in Rome, I see that there have been plenty of graces and spiritual experiences. I have been greatly enriched, for example, by getting to know the Latin rite, by being able to participate in the Beatification of John Paul II as a seminarian, and now in his forthcoming Canonization as a deacon. God willing, I’ll receive the ministry a week before this momentous event. These are some of the experiences that I will doubtless remember for the rest of my life.
On Monday February 17th the School of Canon Law of the Pontifical University Antonianum in collaboration with the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross organized a day seminar on “The ‘exequatur’ thirty years after the Agreement of Villa Madama: it´s Issues and Perspectives”. The Consociatio Internationalis Studio Iuris Canonici Promovendo sponsored the event.
One of the many speakers, Massimo Del Pozzo, professor of the Holy Cross, gave a presentation on the evolution of treaty law and it´s acceptance. We were also honored by H.E. cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
"I am amazed by the love and affection for the Church and the Pope that Santa Croce places at the base of all its academic formation."
Gian Luca Teseo
School of Communications
On Thursday February 27th, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, held a day seminar for teachers of Sacred Scripture entitled, “The History of Israel in Recent Literature: Contributions, Problems and Proposed Solutions”. The seminar was offered by Prof. Francisco Varo, tenured professor of the Old Testament at the University of Navarra, Spain.
My name is Fr. Arnaldo Rodrigues and I come from the Archdiocese of San Sebastian, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We are four in the family: my father, my mother and my brother. I belong to the parish of "Our Lady of Grace", though as a child we more frequently attended a small chapel close to home, which was later established as a parish now called San Juan Bautista. I come from a region of the city where –thanks to God – a significant portion of priestly vocations come to the archdiocese. In my case, as in many others, the Lord's initial call came through the testimony of another priest. This often reminds me of the importance of always striving to be a priest as Christ has called me and not as I necessarily think I should be. The active testimony of one’s own self-surrender to a Christian or consecrated life is far more powerful than mere words. After a considerable time of discernment, and after finishing my studies in Marketing in Rio, I decided to enter into the diocesan seminary.
During my last year of seminary formation I was invited together with two other seminarian classmates to work for the organization of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro 2013. It was a great joy for me, especially since I had never previously witnessed a faith experience of such incredible magnitude. After more than a year of hard work and preparation for the conferences, I had the opportunity to participate in the meeting of youth delegates from all around the world that was organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rocca di Papa, a nearby village from Rome. On this occasion I had the privilege to participate as deacon at the Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, a beautiful gift I will never forget.
WYD was drawing near and I had many beautiful experiences in which I clearly saw God’s providential hand through those preparations: experiencing the universality of the Church, working with young volunteers, experiencing the joy of young people and families who contributed to the welcoming of pilgrims, watching many conversions and the coming back of many others to a sacramental life after having left the Church – graces and blessings beyond measure that would be impossible to describe in a few lines. After all the beautiful work and contribution of so many, World Youth Day finally arrived. I was able to see Pope Francis on several occasions from his arrival at the airport in Rio all the way until his last day before returning to Rome. I was given the opportunity to organize three specific WYD events with Pope Francis: a meeting with young Argentinians in the cathedral, the vocational meeting, and Holy Mass with all the clergy. In those three moments I saw him tirelessly available and friendly to all who drew near to him. I also remember that in the cathedral, my archbishop, Cardinal Tempesta, introduced me to the Pope and I was able to briefly talk with him.
The Pope asked about vocations, so I had the opportunity to explain to him that we were grateful to God because at that moment we had many priestly vocations. The Pope said again, "you should always pray for vocations and take care that they may be good." I told him I was going to pray for that and then he asked me with great simplicity and sincerity that I should pray for him as well. I replied that he could count on it forever. After the meeting with the Argentinians, and before getting into the car, he came to me and said, "Remember what I said about prayer. Pray for me and for vocations." At that moment I kissed his hand and told him I was going to pray for him. On a few other occasions I was able to greet him but only briefly.
The following month after WYD, I came to Rome to study for a degree in Church Communications at the University of the Holy Cross, while also working at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. In Rome I’ve learned many things, not only the language of Dante, but also the culture, art, history, and basilicas. I have now been given even more occasions to be with the Pope in various liturgical celebrations. In short, I have received many beautiful experiences and gifts that I hope will always serve as a great source of wisdom so that I might better serve the Church.
The School of Communications of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, in collaboration with ISCOM Association, held a Seminar of religious information for Spanish-speaking journalists from January 30th to February 2nd concerning the theme: reporting with regards to the Church in Pope Francis’ pontificate.
This seminar was designed for journalists interested in the Catholic Church and its communication with the secular world. The central topic of focus was two-fold: to provide interpretive keys on the organization and operation of the Holy See, and to address some currently central questions often encountered in religious contexts.
"I have been able to experience the whole world in Rome. Being here has truly helped me widen my gaze in life."
School of Communications
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of our first Grand Chancellor, Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo, and in view of his approaching Beatification, the University of the Holy Cross will hold an international conference from March 12th to 14th that seeks to examine three broad areas of his life and work.
Firstly, the conference will explore Msgr. del Portillo’s relationship with Opus Dei, both as a spiritual son and collaborator of its Founder, Saint Josemaría, and also as his successor.
Secondly, we will focus on his love for the Church, as can be seen through his noteworthy contributions to the Second Vatican Council and the new Code of Canon Law, as well as through his service to the particular churches.
And lastly, we will consider the key elements of his spiritual message – an echo of the teachings of St. Josemaría - and its particular application to such themes as the New Evangelization, the priesthood, the reflection on the Faithful and Laity in the Church, etc.
The main talks will be of an academic character (historical, theological and canonical) and promise to provide insight and direction for further development.
There will also be two round-table discussions presenting living testimonies concerning central themes discussed in the workshops.
I'm Father Enrique Andrés Ramírez Sánchez and I belong to the Archdiocese of Mexico. I’m the youngest and only boy of three beautiful children that the Lord gave to my parents. I come from a pious family in which devotion to the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe has always had a significant presence. The first time I felt God's call to the priesthood was when I was only seven years old. And you can undoubtedly see how patient God has been with me because he had to wait for my answer all the way into my twenties.
It was during my second year at the Universidad Panamericana, UP (an Opus Dei institution in Mexico) studying law when I decided to make a profound discerment of what God really wanted from my life. A process that lasted a year and ended with my entering into the seminary of Mexico on August 7th, 2000. It was, of course, a very significant year because it also happened to be the Jubilee year.
I fulfilled my philosophy studies in Mexico and then began my theology. While begining my second year of theology the superiors asked me to continue my studies in the University of Navarra (Spain) an Opus Dei institution as well. From that point forward I was quite certain that God wanted my vocation to be closely linked to the spirituality of Opus Dei, a spirituality I already knew well through my studies at the UP. In Pamplona I discovered the universality of the vocation, seeing how despite the differences of race, culture, etc. we share the same vocation. I was ordained deacon on April 10th 2010 and later priest on June 11th, 2011 by the hands of the Cardinal Primate of Mexico.
After priestly ordination I was sent as a parochial vicar in the Archdiocese of Mexico. During my first three years of pastoral ministry I was in three different parishes working with children, youth and adults. One of the most beautiful things has been working with young people, especially young couples through Christian Family Movement. I've also had a lot of gratification working with children because I’m aware that piety has to be planted in men from childhood: if you manage to grow up as a pious child, you will most certainly become a pious adult even if at some point there is some straying from the path.
What struck me most in parish life is that a priest has to actively do little to reach people. It was sufficient to simply make myself available 24 hours a day. I remember that in my third parish, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, every Sunday I was in the confessional at least 5 hours and sometimes had to celebrate three Masses. I always finished in physical exhaustion, but filled with a unique spiritual strength. In confession I discovered how important it is that the penitent also should pray for his confessor, something I always tried to instill in my parishioners.
Finally, in January 2013, I was asked to come to Rome to complete my studies at the University of the Holy Cross. The request was a big surprise for me, but I must admit that it has being a unique experience. I see that now, after pastoral experience, studies attract me more than before, and I arrived to the conclusion that my own parishioners were the ones that gave me a renewed hunger for study. Now, whenever I am at my desk after many hours of intense intellectual study I continue examining how I would respond to my parishioners if they ask me about this or that, how could I explain these mysteries, explained here in such great depth, to the most simple and humble person in my parish... One of the greatest gifts I have received in my still few months living in Rome has been concelebrating with the Holy Father at Christmas Mass: all my parishioners were spiritually present as well as all of you who make this possible, with prayer and financial support to the University of the Holy Cross, so that I may continue in my formation in Rome, and strive to become a holy priest.
On Thursday January 16th the School of Canon Law celebrated its academic feast in honor of its Patron Saint Raymond of Penafort.
After Holy Mass in the Basilica of Saint Apollinaris, Prof. Piero Antonio Bonnet, the Sole Judge of the Vatican City (a specific position in the Vatican legal system and not implying that Vatican City has in fact only one judge), held a conference on “error regarding the essential properties of marriage”. Students and faculty both shared in the festivities.
The Center for Priestly Formation, has scheduled the 3rd week of study for seminarian formation staff from February 3rd to the 7th. They will be dealing with the theme, “human formation for candidates of the priesthood”.
The week of study is organized with morning talks offered by seasoned speakers with demonstrated competencies in their respective fields and active member participation in the afternoon workshops.
In the organizer’s own words, “the workshops are intended to stimulate reflection on practical problems that are raised by the issues of present day realities. The diversity of participants, from various cultural and ecclesial backgrounds, will undoubtedly provide an occasion for mutual enrichment through the sharing of personal experience”.
I’m Hezron Jhud C. Cartagena, a Filipino from the island of Cebu. I’m 23-years old, and currently am a third-year student of theology in the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. And I would like to share with you my Christmas experience here in Rome two years ago.
First of all, this experience, even before I call it my “Roman Christmas,” is first and foremost my “first Christmas without my family.” It may not mean much to other people, but to me this fact is very significant. I live in a family of five: my father, mother, and two elder sisters. For as long as I can remember, we have always spent Christmas together as a family. Thus, this particular experience is a kind of a milestone for me.
To start off, I remember that the days that led to Christmas during my first year here were quite sober. Not that Rome is sober, but because Christmas in the Philippines were so special for me.
In the Philippines we usually begin our Christmas a bit early. This means that during September, it’s not strange to see some people shopping for Christmas decorations in malls, who in turn maybe are already draped in Christmas colors, and play Christmas carols to add to the festive spirit. Also, we end the Christmas season a bit late. Particularly where I come from, we celebrate the Feast of the Santo Niño (the Holy Child) every third Sunday of January, the feast that marks the end of Christmas, and the day where we usually stash back inside the boxes the Christmas decorations to hibernate for next September.
I said before that my first Christmas in Rome seemed quite sober because immediately the day after the classes ended for vacations, the seminary started to empty out like crazy. The second-year and third-year seminarians were going to their respective pastoral assignments. The Europeans usually go home to serve in their dioceses. On the other hand, we who live on the other side of the globe don’t go home. Our formators assign us to different parishes or homes for the elderly throughout Italy, and there we spend our vacations.
I remember it was freezing cold outside while we walked towards St. Peter’s Basilica on Christmas Eve. Christmas at St. Peter’s –doesn’t sound so bad right? There was of course the excitement, the joy of being able to attend the Christmas Eve Mass celebrated by none other than the Pope himself. But there was still something lacking. When we arrived in St. Peter’s square, we saw a long line that winded in countless circles. From that sight, I didn’t expect to find a good seat inside the Basilica (I was thinking of hearing the Mass in a peaceful spot behind one of those giant pilasters that carry the dome). In fact, some of the seminarians feared that the guards would close the doors soon, and we wouldn’t make it inside.
In the end, we made it inside. And though we didn’t find seats, we did find ourselves standing relatively near Bernini’s Baldacchino. The opening hymn started, and they ushered the Pope towards the altar. We could see him quite clearly. I was overwhelmed by everything that was happening! At the end, the Holy Spirit has led me to believe the fact that I couldn’t possibly be in a better place than where I was during that moment. True, my family was far away, but don’t we all celebrate the very same feast, for the very same reason? That Christmas, I understood that statement in a new light. I saw that I was physically far from my family, from my parents and sisters – but at the same time, I was also with the other members of my family.
A lot of other things happened after that. We had a small party in the Collegio, and during the following days we visited the churches in Rome to see the different Nativity scenes displayed. And who could forget our wonderful trip to Tuscany. I fell in love with Siena, waited for somebody to throw an apple from the tower of Pisa, and followed the footsteps of Dante in Florence. I could still picture out the dreamy image of the town of San Gimignano one afternoon as seen from afar, nesting inside its walls with its medieval towers protruding like coconut trees in a lone tropical island, surrounded by seas of vineyards. But then, all these things were only complementary. I already had my experience of Jesus, and that was all that mattered.
I wish you all a wonderful 2014! May you also have a special and personal experience with Jesus!
On Tuesday December 10th the Institute of Liturgy of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross organized a day seminar for the 50th anniversary of the Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Conciliar Constitution on Sacred Liturgy.
The speakers were Rev. Prof. Franco Magnini, Director of the Office of Liturgy of CEI; Rev. Prof. Juan Rego, from Santa Croce, and Mgrs. Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, Undersecretary for the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.
It was presided by Prof. Antonio Miralles, Director of the Institute of Liturgy.
In several languages the term human flourishing is emerging as a synonym for consistent personal growth. This is why the annual conference dedicated to Personal Flourishing in Organizations run by MCE (Markets Culture and Ethics), taking place on the 24th and 25th of February, aims to serve as an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between a necessary institutional framework, business ethics, and personal development.
The conference’s framework will propose important insights from narrative philosophy, that is, a plan of thought which allows one to adopt great ideas about personal perfection. The reflections on coaching will put anthropological questions on the table that have not been totally explored in philosophy.
I am Fr. Miguel Angel Vera Chica from the Archdiocese of Portoviejo in Ecuador. I am the last of 6 siblings in my family: 4 older sisters and 2 of us males. I lived in my beloved town of Carmen through high school and one semester of Economics at the university. At 20 years of age I decided to enter the seminary after a long journey of experience in youth groups as a catechist and coordinator.
The seminary experience was beautiful. At first I saw the Priestly Ordination as something big and hard to reach, but God and the Virgin, to whom I always pray, helped me to continue the path. After being ordained by my Bishop Monsignor Lorenzo Voltolini, I was sent to a parish along with two missionary couples who came from Italy. It was hard but above all an enriching experience made of many moments that marked my life by helping so many people that, without them knowing it, was more help to me.
My archdiocese is extensive and we lack priests. Right now there are 4 parishes without them. But I must say that, despite the difficulties, it is very dynamic and alive. The formation of mission teams, guides, catechists and youth groups in the various communities and parishes helps tremendously to keep the faith of the faithful going strong.
Coming originally from a very humble place and always living off the fields – I mean, between bananas and cattle – the bishop decided to send me to a parish of fishermen to live right at sea level! But that's where I managed to “fish” the greatest experiences of my life as both a person and pastor. One of them, for example, was the 15 unforgettable days I spent fishing in the sea with my parishioners. How wonderful it was to contemplate God’s greatness and wonder in creation, gazing into the sky from the little boat in the middle of the immense sea.
After this unforgettable experience as a priest and fisherman, I came to Rome to study Church communications. I confess it was not easy. It was a monumental change because I didn’t know the culture, the language, and after living in a small town at the shore of the sea, I now found myself in the most famous city in history, where long ago another fisherman was sent to cast his nets into the vast sea of a culture totally contrary to his purpose for being there, a culture that he didn’t know.
The studies at the University of the Holy Cross were difficult at the beginning. But I was able to carry them out with the help of my professors and peers. Now I can freely say that I am very happy putting on this priestly life with responsibility and casting out into the deep of academic life, weaving the nets that will enable me to better fish in the mission that the Lord will entrust to me.
On Monday November 25th, the liturgical memorial of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the School of Philosophy celebrated the academic feast in honor of her Patronage. After Mass, Prof. Massimo Marassi, a teacher of Moral Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy Department at the Catholic University of Sacro Cuore in Milan, held the keynote address on the theme: “The Method of Metaphysics”.
"I love that the University is giving me a solid philosophical formation from excellent professors."
School of Philosophy
The Holy Cross University, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, hosted a day seminar for reflection on Friday December 13th regarding “The service of Charity: Co-responsibility and Organization”, deepening the motu proprio of Benedict XVI Intima Ecclesiae Natura. Cardinal Robert Sarah President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts presided over the sessions.
I am Fr. Rigoberto Fermin Nah Chí. I am 34 years old and I’m studying for my licenciate degree in philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. I am originally from the Archdiocese of Yucatan, in Mexico. I was ordained priest on the feast of St. Francis de Sales on January 24th, 2011 along with another companion. I belong to the parish of St. Peter the Apostle in the Yaxcabá community in the state of Yucatan and I’m the youngest of four children .
During the first months of my priestly ministry I served as vicar in the parish Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Conkal, Yucatan, just a few minutes away from Merida, the capital city. But at the beginning of March, after some weeks working in the parish, the rector of the diocesan seminary told me that a possibility had opened to study and receive a specialization in the Eternal City. He asked me if I wanted the opportunity because they had already thought that this was going to be my new assignment for the next school year, which coincides with the calendar of the Archdiocese. I confess it was a very stunning proposal that puzzled me much, because I was just learning and getting involved in the reality of my new parish, I was "learning" to be a priest, a pastor. But I did not deliberate too long and gave my affirmative answer.
Faced with this project awaiting me in the not too distant for the future, I had to double my commitment to immerse myself – in the few months I had – to learn the dynamics of the parish. In my brief pastoral experience, one of the things that struck me was seeing so many young people in the sports fields, but only few of them during Sunday Mass. There was no youth ministry in the parish, not even a parish building that could take care of the evangelization of these young people. I clearly understood what God was asking me: to watch over these boys and girls and bring them closer to Christ and to construct a parish building, a space where they could feel part of the Church, and a place where they would be taken care of.
So with the helo of God, I started giving my first steps in the mission, knowing and identifying those young leaders, inviting and forming with them the main team of youth ministry.
After finishing my period of time as Vicar I came to Rome with great enthusiasm to study at the Santa Croce. It's been a year and a half since I started my new experience as a student priest. During this time, I have understood more deeply, that the priestly ministry is not just about exercising the pastoral ministry, but rather carrying out with joy the mission given to us by the Bishop. Today I can say with great confidence that I am a happy student priest that consciously strive to live the accademic demands of the University.
From October 24th to the 26th, the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation and the Rectors Conference of the Pontifical Universities in Rome hosted the Symposium entitled "The Gospels: History and Christology. The Research of Joseph Ratzinger." The event, held at the Lateran University, brought together many researchers and professors from various Universities, including rev. Bernardo Estrada, professor of Sacred Scripture in the School of Theology.
Msgr. Luis Romera, rector of our university and vice president of the Symposium Organizing Committee, describes Ratzinger’s work as "an inquiry of the Gospels, using historical rigor and intellectual acuity, that enables us to draw nearer to Christ and authentically encounter him, so that through his person, his life, his word, we may be brought into this existence.”
Day one of the seminar explored the historical information about Jesus found in the gospels. Day two was an exploration into the figure of Jesus from the theological perspective as revealed in the Gospels and other various New Testament texts. And the third and final day was an exploration into “Jesus of Nazareth” as developed by Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI.
"Santa Croce is a challenging, Catholic-focused, and dynamically orthodox community of students and professors. I feel grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to learn and grow in this environment."
Zygmunt Mazanowski, T.O.R.
School of Theology
The School of Canon Law of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, in collaboration with the Italian University "Roma Tre" and the support of the president of Italy, will host a day seminar on Thursday, November 21st entitled: "Human rights, hope and delusion."
The day seminar will explore the mechanisms and content of some major changes that have taken place in the field of human rights over the past two decades.
Cardinal Archbishop of Florence, Giuseppe Betori will preside over the event in the morning and Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), will preside in the afternoon. Professor José Tomás Martín de Agar from the Holy Cross will also be a leading participant.
I am Fr. Aloshious Sathianesan and I am from the diocese of Neyyattinkara, in the state of Kerala, India. I’m the oldest of three children in my family. Today it is just my father and my siblings - both already married. My mother died of cancer in April 1997.
I can say that I was born into a practicing Catholic family. Besides Sunday Mass and catechism, we used to pray daily together as a family and once a week we gathered in prayer groups in small communities of the parish. My father was an active member in Church activities. Since childhood, all this served a lot for discovering my vocation. At age 15 I decided to join the minor seminary, where I lived six years. After completing my basic education I was sent to the regional major seminary to study philosophy. Afterwards I did a year of apostolic internship in one of our parishes where I helped giving catechism and taking care of practical issues. It was a very enriching year.
After the internship my bishop offered me the opportunity to go to Rome to the Ecclesiastical College Sedes Sapientiae and to study theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. I cannot forget the spiritual formation and the attention I received from Sedes Sapientiae, but mostly, the theological formation I got studying at the Holy Cross. At the end of my three-year bachelors of theology, I was ordained a priest on September 18th, 2006. By permission of my bishop and wih the scholarship that I was awarded by the University, through the support of the CARF Foundation (Centro Académico Romano Fundación) I did my licentiate degree in dogmatic theology ending in 2008.
That same year I started my PhD studies, but circumstances led me to serve for four years in a diocese in northern Italy. However, during my free time I took time to further advance the doctoral thesis. In 2012 I came back to Rome to finish with the hopes of defending it by next year.
Normally some bishops see it as a waste of time when a priest performs doctoral studies while having so many parish needs. But in the context which I come from, it is very necessary because you need priests who are well trained in order to later serve as formator of formators, I mean, those who will prepare future priests so as to reach and help more people.
A pastor is important in any parish, but a formator of pastors is much more important because it will surely multiply the apostolic work of the diocese. I think this is one of the things I've learned at the Holy Cross during the almost 8 years that I have received not just economic support and academic training, but also and above all spiritual formation. Being in Rome, more than just a privilege, is a responsibility that prepares you to be just that: a pastor of pastors.
The inauguration of the 2013/2014 academic year took place Monday, October 7th with the Prelate of Opus Dei and University Chancellor, Bishop Javier Echevarría presiding.
The votive Mass of the Holy Spirit started at 9:30 in the Basilica of Saint Apollinaire.
It was followed by the inaugural lecture at 11:00 in the John Paul II conference hall entitled: Counsel of The Jurist, delivered by reverend Eduardo Baura, professor of Canon Law.
"I came to Rome to study because I want to learn more about the Catholic Church and to participate in the Church's life and events. Living in the center of the Catholic Church and studying at Santa Croce means I get to be at a great place, where I am sure to receive a quality Catholic education."
The School of Theology will host the lecture series “St. Josemaría and Theological Thought" from November 14th to the 16th.
The organizers write, "the breadth and originality of St. Josemaría’s teachings –recognized by many as a precursor of the Second Vatican Council, with regards to the universal call to holiness and sanctification by means of temporal, secular, and civil activities of Christians – is deserving of the scholar’s attention, and more especially of those who are aware of the gained enrichment to theological research through the teachings of the saints".
"This conference will serve as an excellent occasion for reflecting upon this argument, beginning from a concrete corpus of spiritual doctrine that seems particularly suitable to this purpose".
"Where I come from people call me 'God’s miracle,' but I prefer to think that I'm 'God’s beloved.' Proof of this is that I was able to concelebrate Mass with Pope Francis." These are the words with fatigue, Father Horacio Nelson Zúñiga de la Parra, a brave Colombian priest, uses to speak about the experience he had four years ago when he was at the brink of death at the hands of drug traffickers in a Venezuelan drug ring. About a month ago he concelebrated in the chapel of Santa Marta at the Vatican.
The occasion for meeting the Holy Father was his 45th birthday. His mother wanted to offer him as a birthday gift. "We wrote the Pope last month," said his mother, Mrs. Cira. "We shared Horacio’s story and asked him for only a minute to greet and give him a blessing. Certainly we did not expect such a great grace."
On September 14th, Fr. Horacio not only concelebrated at the same altar with the Pope, but also experienced his closeness, his acknowledgment, and his love. Fr. Horacio represents the courage of a Church that comes out of itself to go where its presence is most urgently needed where always men suffer and must be saved, even by giving one's own life.
The story of this Colombian priest is one of ordinary violence. But it is also, and above all, a story of love. It starts almost twenty years ago when the young priest, born in Cartagena, Colombia, was sent to do his pastoral ministry in Venezuela, the Diocese of La Guaira, after having completed his studies at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
In this area, most of the youth live on the streets, and are the favorite "material" for drug traffickers who recruit them as drug dealers.
Father Horacio had an appealing charisma. His apostolic zeal lead him to gather, in a short amount of time, a numerous group of young people, pulling them out from the hands of traffickers. He also began a real sensibility campaign that created awareness of this disease that is infecting the youth of Venezuelan society.
The situation got worse in 2009 however, when the traffickers decided that this young priest had to be removed since he had begun to cause trouble. The attack took place in broad daylight, at the exit of a mall in La Guaira. Fr. Horacio was beaten with baseball bats. For hours he lay on the ground and no one dared to help him. Finally, someone came and took him to the hospital. After forty days in a coma, he woke finally unexpectedly. His first thought went toward the youth: "They wanted to tear me away from them, but they did not succeed, and never will." These are his words, as his mother recalls.
Fr. Horacio no longer feels his left side, and half of his body is paralyzed. He went to Rome for a period of time to receive proper care, and now manages to walk again with the help of a walking stick. He cannot wait however, to return to La Guaira with his youth. There he founded and directs a diocesan school. "I live in fear, said his mother, "because Horacio doesn’t give up, he is not afraid and continues caring for the young, certainly, within the limits of his physical condition. Even though He is determined".
After meeting the Pope,, Horacio goes back to Venezuela with a more vigorous spirit. "I feel stronger, he says, because Pope Francis has comforted me and has given a new meaning to the little bit of blood I have offered for Christ." He is like many other priests who have spilled their blood in Venezuela in recent years, priests who have paid with their lives the price of redemption for their youth.
This story was published in L' Osservatore Romano on September 15th in the Italian daily edition. Fr. Horacio Nelson Zúñiga de la Parra, is a former student of our University where he earned his Licentiate degree in philosophy in 2004.
Thank you Fr. Horacio for your witness of self-giving and love for Christ and the Church!
The Fifth Annual Course of Matrimonial Law and Canonical Procedure was hosted by the School of Canon Law from September 16th to the 20th for the staff of ecclesiastical tribunals around the globe.
The aim of the fifth installment of the course was to present ecclesiastical forum leaders throughout the world with the developing normative principles, doctrines, and jurisprudence that have come to light in recent years surrounding the process of the declaration of matrimonial nullity as well as other issues pertaining to areas of tribunal concern.
The conference aimed to synthesize theory with praxis, tackling often very difficult issues that commonly arise in ecclesiastical tribunals by hosting seminars and opening discussion and analysis of many actual case studies. Over 240 participants from all over the world benefited from the successful exchange.
"The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross has offered me a great opportunity to develop myself for the future and to prepare for the New Evangelization. My studies have shown me the path that the Church must take in these times, in order to establish a real and effective relationship with the modern world."
Adrian Ríos Bailón
School of Communications
The Higher Institute of Religious Studies of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, will host a refresher course on October 4th and 5th specially designed for alumni, religious instructors and catechists, as well as anyone wishing to deepen one’s own knowledge and further one’s personal formation. The course is divided into three sections: the first is devoted to the historical context of the Bible, the second focuses on the prophetic aspects of the Old Testament, and the last is a brief survey of the sense of vocation as presented in the New Testament.
I am Ernesto Yamaguchi Okuyama, a Peruvian engineer of Japanese descent, I was ordained priest by the Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarria on May 4th, 2013 in Rome.
One might ask why an engineer is dressing as priest? I can just say that my vocation has been a long process of maturity which on the one hand has come by the gentle grace of God, and on the other my free response to that grace through the concrete circumstances of my life.
First, I have to say that I owe a lot to my parents from whom I learned the beginnings of my Christian life. Their example and active witness in the young community of our parish Church San Francisco de Borja in Lima fueled my authentic enthusiasm and love for both the Church and a true Christian identity.
Years later during my college studies I was afforded the opportunity to attend the activities of the Prelature of Opus Dei, deepening my spiritual understanding of doctrine and discovering the great humanity contained within the Faith. During this time I realized that my life had a lot to do with God. And so I began praying more personally, frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and receiving the Eucharist more often, in order to attain a spiritual life proper of a young man moving into adulthood. During those years I made the decision to join Opus Dei.
During my senior year I started working, first in systems area, then in finance and administration. Through these experiences and dealing with friends and acquaintances I began to feel the typical great aspirations of man and his thirst to find fulfilling happiness that ultimately finds itself in the desire for God. So the budding notion grew inside my mind: to become a priest to work in a more committed and direct way for the work of the New Evangelization that Blessed John Paul II called for the whole Church.
During my years of formation and now as a newly ordained priest, I discovered in the gift of priesthood the great love of God for humanity, because through the priesthood, Jesus still walks alongside his people, illuminating their minds and hearts through the preaching of his priests, giving us his mercy through confession and always strengthening us by the Eucharist through his priests.
The history of the Japanese community in Peru is certainly an inspiring one. The evangelization took place because of the patient and friendly work of the Franciscan friars along with the Sisters of Charity whose maternal roles cared for the sick during early years of immigration. Because of this and being of Japanese descent I am equipped to live out qualities like commitment, hard work, and filial piety that I will put into practice during my priestly ministry.
My message to Peruvian Catholics is to base everything in faith. I really believe that the teachings of Christ and the means he left us through his Church are the way to become truly happy and live a good life. As St. Josemaría would say: "only he who knows how to be happy on earth will be happy in heaven ".
Coming from twelve countries of four continents (Germany, Kenya, Great Britain, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, El Salvador, Venezuela, Peru, Japan, the Philippines, Nigeria) 31 deacons were ordained priests on Saturday, May 4th by the Prelate of Opus Dei in the Basilica of San Eugenio in Rome.
Among the deacons was Keisuke Hazama, 39 years old, from Japan and a chemistry professor who discovered the faith at 21 and was baptized in 1994 by Blessed John Paul II himself.
"Santa Croce is a marvelous environment where professors and students form a real community. Our studies offer a powerful formation that transmits an ever-stronger faithfulness to the Pope, the Holy See, as well as to our own diocese and parish. Furthermore, the experience of the Universal Church we find here is very pertinent for intellectual and spiritual growth."
Licentiate Student of Communications
On June 8th the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross will host its first charity event, “Under the Roman sky.” Proceeds from this fundraising event will go towards the formation of future priests by providing scholarships for those seminarians coming from economically disadvantaged areas. The event will begin with a classical concert held in the Basilica of St. Apollinare in Historic Rome. Immediately following the concert will be an exclusive gala dinner located on the breathtaking terrace of the University where, under the night sky, one of the very best views of the Eternal City can be appreciated. It promises to be an exceptional evening of music, dining, and relaxation. Some of the seminarians will also share also their experiences of living in Rome and the tremendous value found in supporting the priesthood.
My name is Jose Elías Calderon, I’m a priest of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras. I was ordained on December 27th 2003. I came to Rome to specialize in the area of Social Communication Sciences in order to better serve my diocese.
I arrived during the summer of 2006 and immediately began my studies at the School of Communication of the Salesian Pontifical University, in which I did my first professional training cycle. It was a great experience because I was able to acquire the theoretical knowledge in addition to scientific techniques in the art of photography, radio, television and internet. The Salesian perspective helped me to discover the great potential of creativity that the media entails and the need for us priest to communicate and interact with the media culture.
In 2009 I finished my studies at the Salesian University, the same year I started participating the courses for priests offered by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. This experience reinforced my conviction that priests of today must be even better trained in the field of communication, And the Holy Cross responds to this challenge, training future leaders of communication for the dioceses and church institutions.
I can say that I have been very pleased, because during the last few years of my specialization, the Holy Cross provided me with excellent training for me to effectively perform my duties as head of a press office, director of a media outlet and ultimately, for any assignment - in a professional capacity - in the field of social communication.
I’m well aware of the difficulty faced in transmitting the gospel message of which the Church is the responsible guardian. In order for this message to be announced throughout the world, however, the Church must be deeply rooted in - and fearless of – the communication dynamics of authentic media. Redemptoris Missio states, “Involvement in mass media, however, is not meant merely to strengthen the preaching of the Gospel. There is a deeper reality involved here: since the very evangelization of modern culture depends to a great extent on the influence of the media.” (RM 37)
At this moment I’m starting a project for my diocese that seeks to guide and encourage the "ministry of pastors in and through new technologies" according to our times, without abandoning communication through radio which still remains a more effective means of communication because of the obstacles priests face in reaching their communities because of roads conditions, especially during winter, or the fact that there are not enough priests to attend to all the needs of the people. This is why I grow increasingly convinced that this continues to be the major challenge that currently faces my diocese.
The Fraternity of St. Charles, in cooperation with the University of the Holy Cross, presented the exhibition. "Nobody creates if he has not been created. Discovering Fatherhood in Homer, Dante, and Tolkien." The exhibition was held from April 22 to 24 and the opening speech was presented by the Rector, Msgr. Luis Romera.
The Fraternity of St. Charles was founded in 1985 by Monsignor Massimo Camisasca and was recognized as a Society of Apostolic Life in 1999 by Pope John Paul II.
"I am always reminded of the sacrifices made by the benefactors who sustain my formation. This thought helps me be more responsible as a seminarian and as a man."
School of Philosophy
"In exercising their office of sanctification, bishops should be mindful that they have been taken from among men and appointed as their representative before God in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins." (Christus Dominus, n. 15). On May 6th, 2013, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross will host the presentation of the compendium of the conciliar Decree Christus Dominus concerning the pastoral office of the bishop in the Church.
Along with other speakers are Msgr. Luis Romera, rector of our University, Johannes Grohe, professor of Church History and Philip Goyret, theology teacher and vice rector of the Holy Cross. We will be honored as well by the presence of the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, H.E. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S.
Many have perhaps heard or read about the famous life of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in her "Story of a Soul." How many of us have been amazed by how God instilled the desire to save souls in her heart at such a young age through a life of sacrifice and prayer while being locked and closed within the walls of a convent. An act so "unnoticed" that she is now universally known as the patron Saint of missions. I so admire her witness! But, I even more admire the Saint Thereses of our time, those who are locked, closed within - not necessarily in a convent - but who have been touched by God in another special way and have been inspired with that same desire of Saint Therese.
Ersilia Ronchetti, an 85 year old woman, married, with a son, was taken by an illness at 77 that left her bed-ridden for life. During her youth and continuing into adulthood she worked tirelessly for the Church, teaching catechesis, helping with the Masses, and most especially through prayer and support of the priesthood to which she always felt a deep sense of love and appreciation.
Her greatest desire was to show her catechumens the grandeur of the priestly vocation by bringing them to the seminary once or twice a year, a tradition she began in her parish that continues to this day. Years later Ersilia met a religious congregation to which she gave of herself entirely by adopting a seminarian and accompanying him all the way to the altar through prayer, sacrifice and financial support.
Her husband Mario Ronchetti, a man of 90, despite all the sacrifices he has also born, always has a smile on his face, confident - though not without tears - that God is even closer to them in their suffering. He knows that while his wife experiences a constant suffering that keeps her from sleeping days-on-end, God is using this for the good of others, and above all - to paraphrase his wife: for the good of her "children who have been led into the priesthood." And what fertility indeed! They have now walked alongside 12 priests with great effort and sacrifice. I justifiably say “great effort” because of their very modest social and economic background.
She has been confined to bed for eight years, and has offered eight vocations to Christ in that time. Her love and faith for those who represent Christ on earth led her to transform and move others from the parish to do the same, creating a chain of prayer and support for vocations, all without ever leaving home or using the internet...!
The last time I visited her, after praying the rosary with her, I asked her what her greatest satisfaction was in the midst of her suffering and she said: "my satisfaction, that which gives me most joy, is when one of my children that becomes a priest visits me and gives me what I love the most: the Eucharist."
What satisfaction indeed! The fact that she can ease the cross of so many young souls through the cross of her confinement – young souls called by God to give their lives to Christ – and her witness to others to help the priesthood. She embodies a faith that moves without moving!
On Wednesday, April 10th the School of Philosophy of the University of the Holy Cross held a day seminar regarding "metaphysical and anthropological thought in contemporary philosophy." Among the topics discussed were the following: subjectivity, ethics on relation, the truth as a transcendental property and the meaning of freedom in contemporary philosophy. Prof. Juan José Sanguineti and the Rector, Msgr. Luis Romera were among the speakers present from various Italian universities.
"I'm happy to be here, studying at Santa Croce in Rome. It's been a great opportunity to meet people and see the world. And to know Rome, the center of Christendom, and not just theology, but to also have a real experience of faith."
Carmen Esteban Monasterio
School of Theology
The Holy Cross is once again hosting the research center for ethics and economics (Market, Culture & Ethics) in their weekend of Management by Ethics on the 19th & 20th of April. Themes will address the challenges faced in enterprise and the family in society.
Management by Ethics is an initiative that dialogues with leading Italian firms to merge experience from the business world with the highest ethical and anthropological standards. Keynote speakers will include: Paola Binetti, member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies; Professors Martin Schlag and Juan Andres Mercado, both teachers at Santa Croce and executives of the MCE research center, and Msgr. Luis Romera, Rector of the Holy Cross. Cardinal Julian Herranz, former President of the Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia, will offer the concluding address.
A dense glow of crackling flames rose into the sky, while the air became heavier and impossible to breathe. As the fire burned, the miserable place was soon destroyed. Everything was reduced to ash and only memories of a life and tradition remain: furniture, worn pages of a burned bible, and a charred, humble image of Christ before which the Catholic community used to gather every evening for liturgical celebrations. While it happened, the people gathered together, terrified to see their efforts and sacrifices from many years collapse.
This is the way that Aloysius Angga Windianto, a seminarian from the International College Sedes Sapientiae and a 2nd year philosophy student at the University of the Holy Cross, described his experience of Christian persecution firsthand. "There were in fact 4 churches that I remember seeing burned during my childhood, an experience that I will never forget."
Aloysius is now 24 years old, originally from Indonesia and the only seminarian of his diocese who came to Rome in 2011 to begin his studies in Philosophy. He is the youngest of four brothers, and due to his father’s job as a practicing painter, he constantly moved from one city to the next. This allowed him to grow more deeply in his faith and to meet people from other religions, living in areas where Christians are the minority. "I remember that as a teen I was the only Christian in my classroom, and everyone knew it... But I also remember that my mother at night used to read us passages from the Bible and in this way we learned about the faith." 88% of Indonesia's population is Muslim. Together they live with Protestants, Buddhists, Hindus and Confucianists, as well as Catholics who make up 1.5% of society. In this context, it is truly heroic to witness the Faith.
At the age of 14, Aloysius made his first communion, and at 17 he decided to enter the seminary. It was tough to break the news to his parents, so he kept it a secret until the day before his admission. Of the 22 young men who entered from the Diocese of Srabaya that year, only 8 from his generation remain. In total, the Diocese of Surabaya houses about 100 juniors and seniors students.
When asked if it was a difficult decision, he answered saying that God sent him real proof: "During my 4th year of seminary I had an accident that almost left me completely blind... I asked the Lord that if he wanted me to be his priest, he had to restore my sight. It happened. Not only did I miraculously keep my sight, but God has even allowed me to 'see' Rome...."
"Rome for me is both a grace and a great responsibility," he says, "a responsibility because being the only seminarian from Indonesia in the Eternal City, I have the great task of filling myself with the 'Sensus Ecclesiae.' This way, I may later become like 'yeast in the dough,' slowly 'fermenting' my brother priests and future parishioners in Indonesia with the same spirit I am receiving."
Msgr. Keith Newton and Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson toured the Holy Cross together on Monday February 25th. Msgr. Newton is a former Bishop of the Church of England and was received into full communion with the Church in 2011 and is now an English Prelate and serves as the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (United Kingdom). Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson is the former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande until he entered into full communion with the Church in 2007 and was named the first Ordinary of the newly created Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (United States) in 2012.
Departmental faculty guided them through the University and opened the door to future possible collaboration and education.
"Santa Croce is a great home where I have grown in the knowledge and love of God. Eternity is not enough to thank our Lord for all of the natural and spiritual blessings I have received here."
Joel Jacome Miranda
Third-Year Baccalaureate Student, School of Theology
From the 22nd to the 23rd of April, the School of Church Communications of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross will host its 6th Poetics, Communication & Culture conference entitled: “The image of fatherhood in television” a critically important theme in a historical time when television series have increased social impact and a capacity to shape our way of thinking. The episodic narrative form, common in early popular literature, offers many creative opportunities in a context conditioned by marketing and audience demands.
The congress aims to study the figure of the father in television series. This figure will be the window through which we’ll approach the issue of judging how the family is represented, a topic general in nature to lend itself to open discussion. The conference is directed towards both an academic audience and television lovers, as well as those involved in creative series to offer a unique opportunity for reflection on their own professional work. The conference will host prestigious keynote speakers from various Universities and television centers such as Paolo Braga, from the Catholic University of Milan, Alberto Fijo, from the film magazine "Fila Siete", and Costanza Miriano from RAI TV, and Tg3.
My name is José Eric Moguel Farrera, a deacon for the Archdiocese of Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Mexico. My home is Cintalapade Figueroa, a small farming town with 30,000 people and a great devotion to the Virgin Mary.
As a child I was far from God and gave little importance to the Church. When I was 14 however, I experienced the living presence of Christ in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. From that moment on, I fell in love with Him and decided to become a priest.
After graduating from high school in 2002, I entered the diocesan seminary, and was ordained a Deacon last year on February 12th. Just a few months later, the bishop sent me to study Church Communications at the University of the Holy Cross. Now I find myself in the Eternal City, living the historic moments of Benedict XVI's resignation and the Election of Pope Francis with all the Catholic faithful of the world.
When our Pope Emeritus left the Vatican, a strange feeling filled the air in Rome. Something--or someone--was needed. Nevertheless, I was always certain of what Benedict XVI constantly repeated: "it is God who guides the Church." This is the perspective with which I lived the events that followed.
The night of the fumata bianca, almost the whole city gathered at the Vatican. All eyes were fixed on the Sistene Chapel chimney when suddenly, white smoke started coming out. Cheers and applause were heard everywhere when Cardinal Tauran pronounced the traditional Habemus Papam.
My participation as deacon assistant at the first Mass of Pope Francis was a wonderful experience, a gift from God that I will never forget. About a month before the resignation of Benedict XVI, the rector of my residence suggested that I formally request to serve in one of the Holy Father's liturgical celebrations. Just as I sent the request, the period of vacancy began. My answer arrived shortly after, and it said: "your request will be taken into account. In one of the following days, you will be able to participate in a celebration with the Holy Father." That time came the same day that the Pope was elected. I could'nt believe it!
The experience of praying for the whole world together with Pope Francis during his first Mass was extraordinary. I felt very nervous and at one point I even thought I was dreaming: the Sistine Chapel's beauty, the choir's liturgical chants, the Cardinal's presence, and my simple person on the right side of the Vicar of Christ. I see now that it has been a great grace of God not just for me, but also for my people and for my diocese.
Pope Francis has arrived at a time when the Church needs to feel his love as a Pastor. He is a father who is able to touch men's hearts, showing by word and example the way that leads to Jesus--the way of poverty, simplicity and openness of heart.
During the final days of February a group of families from the Slovenian parish of Jarše, native diocese of Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, visited the University of the Holy Cross along with their pastor, Father Andrej Jemec and Fr. Matej Pavlic, the cardinal's personal secretary and a student of Canon Law at our University.
The visit was the result of an initiative of the parish priest to organize a pilgrimage with larger families that could not incur the costs involved with travelling in large tour groups, yet desiring all the same to visit the city of the See of Peter. Father Andrej, with the help of Father Pavlic, worked to offer these families an unforgettable, rich cultural experience in the ancient city of Saint’s Peter and Paul, bringing the Faith alive to their children.
During the pilgrimage the families visited the most relevant places of the Eternal City, participated in Mass at the Vatican with Cardinal Rodé and received a tour of the University facilities including the rooftop terrace, where the most important buildings of the city can be appreciated from a rather unique view, including St. Peter’s Basilica. An unexpected pilgrimage highlight was when they were in the piazza San Pietro with Pope Emeritus Benedict's departure to Castelgandolfo on February 28th. It was an unexpected pleasure having these families visit our University and we hope to have them back.
"These have been a wonderful two years. The classes are smaller so you get to know your professors and classmates much better. You can tell the professors really want you to succeed. They go out of their way to be there for you, to answer questions. I appreciate the prayerful environment and the priestly examples of my professors."
Fr. Cory Stanley
Faith, Evangelization and Canon Law
«To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed, and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year». (Motu proprio Porta fidei n. 9). In this environment, the School of Canon Law of the University of the Holy Cross, from the 11th to the 12th of April, will host its seventeenth annual convention entitled: Faith, Evangelization and Canon Law.
The convention aims to deepen the relationship between Faith and Canon Law, to counter the reduction of Canon Law to mere mechanisms, and to address the watering down of Canon Law given its close relationship to both faith and theology. It also seeks to demonstrate that the tradition of Canon Law presents the inseparability of the goodness of faith and the need for justice within the Church.
The convention also seeks to highlight some issues such as: the fundamental question regarding the relationship between faith and reason in Canon Law; legal problems that concern the Munus Docendi Ecclesiae; rights and duties of the laity in the work of evangelization; recognition and civil protection of Christian identity of both people and institutions inspired by faith; the relevance of faith in the Church’s organization, concretely the rights of the missionary and the tools for defending the moral and doctrinal identity.
On February 1st & 2nd of 2013 the University of the Holy Cross hosted the second annual seminar for French entrepreneurs entitled: "Leadership des saints, sainteté des leaders". Organized by "The Thomas More Leadership Institute" of Paris.
About 25 people attended the event including CEOs, consultants, and senior officials of the French government for training and education to positively impact society. The University Rector Msgr. Luis Romera held the inaugural welcoming followed by seminars and workshops on topics like the virtues of leadership, the union between holiness and leadership, the figure of Saint Thomas More as an example for today’s world, and professional vocations, etc.
Attendees met with Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on the opening day. During the Q & A session he encouraged them to keep working for the
formation of authentic Christian leaders according to the social doctrine of the Church. During the lunch the cardinal conveyed his acknowledgment and support to further integrate more francophone society
leaders. Afterwards they visited the Necropolis of the Vatican Basilica to pray at the tomb of St. Peter. Saturday morning started with some of the most intriguing places of Rome like the majestic domes of the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Andrew the apostle, the facade of St. Agnes in Agone, Palazzo Madama, the Quirinale presidential palace, and others. The University also has a particularly beautiful view of Rome and St. Peter’s from its terrace, a view that was shared with the seminar attendees in the afternoon. The day ended with a special dinner with Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, who urged them to follow problems of the Church very closely and know how to counter them quickly.
The following day, the activities began with the Holy Mass celebrated by Msgr. Guillaume Derville, professor of dogmatic theology at our University, who recently has published a book on the Eucharistic
celebration. To end on a high note, the participants visited the International Ecclesiastical College Sedes Sapientiae where, in addition to the final workshops, were able to speak and share time with several of the seminarians who currently benefit from the scholarships granted by the French foundation (DPTN www.dptn.org). The seminarians took the opportunity to acknowledge the effort and commitment to
support the future leaders of the Universal Church in every sense.
The Thomas More Leadership Institute is an institution committed to the personal development of leaders through education, training and coaching in business, social and Christian life.
Students from the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Journalism were hosted by the School of Communications from the 16th to 20th of January, for the Roman stay of their "Europe Tour 2013." In addition to the University, they visited the Vatican Radio, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Vatican Museums.
The Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia, is the oldest formal journalism school in the world. Founded in 1908 by Walter Williams, famous for introducing his “Missouri
Method” in the world of Communications, through which students learn journalism in both the classroom and real-world multimedia outlets.
“I came to Santa Croce because I was told by many renowned American canonists that it is important to study in Rome to have full access to the law, and that in Rome, Santa Croce is currently one of the most active and most accomplished in their contributions to the field of Canon Law as a science. And I must say it is very true. In fact, after 5 years at Santa Croce I now say the same thing to others, but from personal experience.”
Licentiate Student of Canon Law
From March to May, the School of Communications of the University of the Holy Cross together with ICOM (Association for the Promotion of Institutional Communication) & AIGAV (Association of Journalists
Accredited to the Vatican), will be organizing the fifth Specialization Course in Religious Reporting for Journalists dealing with Current Journalistic Questions concerning the Catholic Church. The course has been designed to respond to the interests of journalists who investigate religious topics and desire better tools to deepen their understanding of some of the aspects of Church life. This edition will address the current issues related to the organization of the Curia, the subject of euthanasia, management of property within the Church and the status questionis on pedophilia. Collaborators in this course are professors from various Roman universities, agents of social media, and celebrities of the Church like: Dr. Salvatore Mazza, president of AIGAV and journalist for the "Avvenire", Rev. Davide Cito, University of the Holy Cross professor and consultant for the Congregation for the Clergy; Msgr. Salvatore R. Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
The committee also organizes cultural visits to the Pontifical Villa at Castel Gandolfo, the palace of the Roman Rota and to the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in order to experience the historical, legal and doctrinal existence of the Holy See first hand.
I am Fr. Joseph Tan, currently in my first year of the Bachelor’s Degree at the School of Church Communications. I’m 47 years old and have been a priest for 21 years. For the majority of my priestly life I have served as a professor in the Seminary of the Archdiocese of Cebu in the Philippines.
My exposure to the world of social communications will equip me with the skills necessary to introduce the importance and reality of institutional communications to the future clergy of my home archdiocese. I’m cognizant of the fact that the Church cannot ignore this important tool for transmitting the Gospel in this day and age.
I have come to understand the importance of and need for seminarians to be introduced to this reality as early as possible. What I am learning from my studies will passed on to so many other students that will be at the frontlines, serving the Church on the battlefield of mass media.
I can say that I have learned far more than the mere skills of handling media technology, or the creation of a communications programs for the local Church. I have also learned how public opinion works in relation to the Church and that social communication projects a certain kind of spiritual path that calls all God’s faithful to live the reality of Christ day by day, so that every Catholic becomes a living Gospel and a "medium" for those around the world.
"Having already studied Architecture in Kenya, coming to Europe to study Theology was somewhat of a paradigm shift. But the university experience here is like no other. The people come from such varied backgrounds, and yet we are all united in one purpose. There is something special that binds us together other than just hitting the books."
Licentiate student, Theology
From February 21st to May 2nd, 2013, the Center for Priestly Formation is organizing the second edition of their Ars Celebrandi course, which this year will concentrate on the Prerequisites for Fruitful Participation in the Eucharistic Celebration.
The organizers write, "With a predominantly practical approach, this course emphasizes the connection between theological truths and the reality being celebrated. First we will recall the important elements of the Ars Celebrandi. Then we will focus more specifically on aspects of the Eucharistic Celebration's structure, while maintaining an ongoing faithfulness to the goals of the Second Vatican Council in continuity with the Church's tradition."
We would like to present the testimony of one of the organizers of the "Amis de l'Université de la Sainte Croix" in Canada that year after year raise scholarships for the formation of priests and seminarians in Rome.
On August 19th this year, about 150 people gathered in our grand "champêtre Fête" at the Manoir de Beaujeu, along the St. Lawrence River near Montreal, Canada. The event began with a solemn Mass presided by Bishop Noël Simard from the Diocese of Valleyfield. Then we held a Q & A session with Rev. Thierry Sol, a professor of the University of the Holy Cross in Rome, and we showed them a video of the wonderful work that the university does throughout the world.
Afterwards we held several small training workshops covering doctrine and the day ended with a gala dinner served by the students of the hotel school associated with the Mansion.
With much pride and effort, I can say that we raised over $30,000 that was then sent to the University to aid several students in their studies. We have also received some donations throughout the year from people who could not attend the event.
We currently have over 400 total friends in our database. Next year our goal is to reach 200 actually present guests and raise even more scholarships for the University. We would like to do more, but for now the "Fête champêtre" has proved to be a very practical and effective fundraising method in Canada.
The "Fête champêtre" is an initiative that began in 1994 at the request of Venerable Álvaro del Portillo to encourage a group of families to help support the University of the Holy Cross. They are: Mr. and Mrs. Jean-Claude Bleau, Dr. Roger and Kaiko Miller and the Bouthillier family. We extend a heartfelt thanks to you all as well as all others who have made this event possible!
On December 6th, 2012 in the University Reading Room, there was a ceremony honoring the gift of the IV edition of the Complete Works of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). The volumes were edited by N.J. Cappelørn and published by the Søren Kierkegaard Forskningscenteret of the University of Copenhagen.
The work comprises 55 volumes (28 texts and 27 apparatus critici) in the original language. They were donated to the Library by the Danish couple Kirsten Bjarup & Kjeld Søndergaard, friends and benefactors of the University who attended the event.
After St. Josemaria Escrivá and Blessed John Paul II, Kierkegaard is one of the most represented authors in the University Library with over 300 documents. He also holds quite a presence in many of Cornelio Fabro’s works, a philosopher born in Udine. Cornelio Fabro was a translator, editor, and commentator on the works of Kierkegaard and held a deep understanding of his metaphysical existentialism.
“There is a joy for learning and a joy for living a Christian life that comes to the students through the professors. This has given me zeal to bring these teachings to the world and reminds me that faith is a treasure, meant to be shared to all nations”.
Fr. Riley Williams
Licentiate of Moral Theology Student
The School of Philosophy at the University of the Holy Cross together with the Logotherapy and Existential Analysis Franklian Association of Rome will be hosting a day seminar entitled Relations and bonds of human existence in the teachings of Viktor E. Frankl on February 26th, 2013. It will be open to both the public and students of philosophy from the various Pontifical Universities.
Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as being the famous founder of Logotherapy. He was a survivor of several Nazi concentration camps from 1942 to 1945, including Auschwitz and Dachau, giving him the foundation for writing his famous work, Man's Search for Meaning.
Dear reader, first of all I’d like to take this opportunity to relate a bit of my story and how I received my vocation and to thank you for the prayers and economic support you give to allow us to pursue our studies in Rome. I want you to know that your acts of generosity do not go unnoticed in my community. My name is Johannes Häuselmann, I am 25 years old and the oldest of three children. I am currently enrolled in my second year of philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and a member of the clerical association of the "Work of Jesus the High Priest."
I'm from Switzerland and have lived most of my life in Zurich. After studying economics I found a good job at a bank. As a child my parents instilled the Catholic faith in me, but the environment in which I found myself caused me to gradually lose my faith the bigger my wallet grew. I felt more and more emptiness in my heart, distance from God, and all that I wanted was to have fun and spend weekends going from party to party with my friends. During those years the last thing I imagined was to become a priest!
But God has his ways and he brought about an event in my life that made me turn around full-circle; my mother was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 41 and died. I started to really search for the true meaning of life. When she died, my grandparents looked out for me. Their testimony, along with the intercession of my mother in heaven, opened my heart to the Lord once again. I then remember my grandparents convinced me to go on a retreat with the community I am now a part of. I stayed connected to this community and after four years I finally decided to give my life to Christ and follow Him as a priest.
After two years of spiritual formation I came to Rome to begin my studies in philosophy. This is my second year at the Holy Cross and I can say that classes and formation are generally very interesting. You can see and feel the true Catholicity of the Church in classes with students from all over the world!
It's great to harmoniously unite intellectual and spiritual life. Every morning we have the opportunity to visit the University chapel to be with the Lord before classes. On Thursdays there is Adoration and the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for the whole morning and ends with a benediction and Holy Mass at noon. I am convinced that the formation I am receiving at this University will help me a lot to better carry out my pastoral service in one of our mission territories, whether it be Europe, Uruguay, Russia, or Kazakhstan.
The Congregation for the Clergy erected the clerical association of the “Work of Jesus the High Priest” in 2008. Our spirituality is to daily live out John Paul II’s saying, "Totus Tuus" by consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and through Eucharistic adoration.
On October 5th, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross hosted a conference dealing with the Social Message of St. Josemaria promoted by "Harambee", a charitable organization founded on October 6th, 2002 in conjunction with the canonization of the founder of Opus Dei.
Bishop Javier Echevarría, Prelate of Opus Dei, recounted the 10th anniversary of the canonization of Saint Josemaría. He thanked God for this exemplary shepherd whose heroic work, through both human and spiritual gifts, was able to influence thousands of people around the globe to ignite a desire to help people in countries suffering great economic difficulty.
In the first half of the conference, various figureheads of the African continent participated, including Bishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Head of Procedure for the Department State. Leaders heading up different projects in Sudan, Madagascar, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon were also present.
In the afternoon, those handling promotion in Europe and America on behalf of Harambee in Africa participated by sharing their stories of generosity and presented the many people that make this work possible.
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Harambee, Ezinne Ukagwu was presented an award for her work running the Iroto rural developmental center where they have already trained about 50,000 women since 2002.
“I was already a priest when Blessed John Paul II became very important in my life. It was almost like a dream come true for me to come to Rome and visit his tomb. There are literally thousands of people that still come from all over the world to visit his tomb and seek grace through his intercession.”
Fr. Przemek Sliwinski
School of Communications
On February 21st, 2013, professor of Penal Law Claudio Papale from the Faculty of Canon Law at Urbaniana University will hold a seminar entitled: Phases of the "Iter criminis," requisites for improvement of the current process (Canon 1328 CIC).
Claudio Papale is an assistant to the disciplinary section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In 2006, he published his book, The Right to Life and the Magisterium of John Paul II. In 2007, he published Canonical Penal Procedure.
For the second consecutive year, the Center for Priestly Formation (CFS) organized a refresher course for priests: the ministry of confession. The course was followed by seminars, Ars praedicandi, from February to April that offered participants tools to better prepare their homilies.
The same CFS organized the second week of study in February for seminarian educators dealing with the topic: the ministry of seminary management in which emerged the importance of the role of educators in training future priests.
The Markets, Culture and Ethics project (MCE), held the second series of seminars on the history of economic thought, tackling issues of significant relevance in today's world. In collaboration with the Elis Consortium, MCE also organized the convention: The creation of shared values: a sustainable economy.
At the invitation of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the University received a group of experts of the European Higher Education Area in a Global Context, in the effort to validate the "Bologna Process" and the mutual recognition of study offered by European academic institutions. The study conference was also held for the representatives of the pontifical universities, with the purpose of examining the possibilities and procedures involved in the recognition of international qualifications.
The Faculty of Canon Law made an agreement with the Institut de Formation Théologique of Montreal for the formation of canonists.
The university Rector announced the creation of the Chair of St. Josemaría Escrivá for the School of Spiritual Theology in accordance with the request proposal from the Department of Theology.
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, a delegation of Rectors from various universities and Pontifical Roman Athenaeums, led by Monsignor Luis Romera - Rector of our University - were received at the Quirinale Palace by President Giorgio Napolitano.
A group of journalism students from the University of Columbia, New York visited the Faculty of Communication of the Holy Cross in Rome for a series of meetings on the subject: Covering Religion in Rome.
The works of art of Romano Cosci entitled, walking with Christ, dedicated to St. Josemaría for the 110th anniversary of his birth were inaugurated in the presence of Chancellor Monsignor Javier Echevárria.
Kathryn Plazek was the fourth winner of the annual literary contest organized by the Student Affair’s Office concerning the topic: "The World Youth Day experience in Madrid".
In celebration of Christmas and the New Year, students in the School of Communications from a variety of nationalities have made a video to show their friends and benefactors around the world the joy of Christmas. We are happy to share it with you here and wish you a successful and fruitful New Year full of God’s grace!
“Santa Croce offers high-quality formation, creating professionals who are truly capable of serving the Church. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to study here and to learn how to help the Church move forward in a field that is so crucial for the modern world."
2nd Year License of Social Communications
On Thursday, January 10th, the School of Philosophy will host a day seminar in honor of Robert Spaemann, for the publication of the Italian version of his book Natürliche Ziele: Fini naturali. Storia e riscoperta del pensiero teleologico (Ares Edition).Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Professor Sergio Belardinelli, Professor Leonardo Allodi, and Robert Spaemann himself will participate in the event.
We are Honoratus V. Kazibwe and Ndiwalana Lawrence, first-year seminarians in our second year of theology from the Archdiocese of Kampala in Uganda, East Africa.
Our memory from Christmas or, Ssekukulu as it is said in our mother tongue, is one of the biggest feasts of the year in our country. Traditionally after school, children clamber about the streets with their teachers carrying cypress branches through the neighborhood singing Christmas carols. Afterwards, each group practices its own Christmas play that is usually performed on Sunday of "Laetare" or during the afternoon of the 23rd.
The feast days usually begin at the close of classes and all energy is then focused towards the 24th, the holy night of Christ's coming to earth, characterized by joyful celebration. On Christmas Eve the streets are packed with children running from house to house asking for and filling their baskets with candies and food (sweet bananas, yams, cassava, vegetables, etc).
Everyone in the home shares whatever he has with his neighbors, bringing true Christmas spirit, and it inspires us to further give and share with others. As children we also went around looking for the best Christmas trees in town, especially those adorned with lights and newspaper ornaments and various other crafts made by our mothers and sisters.
Gifts are very simple and practical, mostly prepared by our own parents or grandparents. The most impressive gifts are the traditional dress of the Baganda people, the kanzu for men and the gomesi for women.
On Christmas morning, the children get up early to hear the traditional Christmas music of the legendary Philip Bongole Lutaaya (an Ugandan singer). On this day our mothers feed us the best meal of the year. By mid-morning all the village gathers at the Church dressed in their Sunday’s best for Mass.
No doubt we eat very well in Rome, but nothing compares with our abundant oluwombo, a homemade delicious food prepared just for this occasion. Christmas food is so abundant at this time that indigestion is not uncommon!
During the afternoon everyone moves to the meeting place to participate in the traditional Christmas dancing and singing. Special Christmas drinks like the Tonto, the Amalwa and the Mwenge bigere are also easily found and in no short supply. These days of festivity hold a strong sense of fraternity and charity. And singing and dancing are also strong yet essential elements of our African culture.
Finally we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your generosity on behalf of all the students of Santa Croce and wish you a happy and holy Christmas!
"Tubagaliza Ssekukulu ennungi!"
The Ninth Roman Encounter of Entrepreneurs
The ninth Roman encounter of Entrepreneurs was held at the Holy Cross and tackled issues dealing with the theme: “Seeking the truth” organized by the Roman Academic Center Foundation between the 16th and the 18th of November. The event was attended by over 80 people, in large part consisting of the families of our Spanish benefactors.
On this particular occasion attendees had the opportunity to visit some cultural and religious sites such as the Mamertine Prison where St Peter lived just before his martyrdom, the necropolis beneath St. Peter's Basilica and other fascinating places of the city. They visited and spent some time with the seminarians of the International College Sedes Sapientiae where more than 85 students from 40 different countries live. Finally they participated in the Angelus and benediction with the Pope.
Attendees said the lectures given by the professors possessed a noticeable tone of fraternity and openness. The University Rector Mgr. Luis Romera and María Álvarez de las Asturias, defender of the ecclesiastical tribunal tie of Madrid, were several of our keynote lectures.
Looking back several weeks after the gathering, a number of benefactors have sent letters of gratitude, thanking the university for the hospitality. The seminarians openly reciprocate this gratitude and do so above all with their assured prayers and diligent study, knowing that thanks to the direct efforts you make, they are able to continue their growth during this formative sojourn in the Eternal City.
¡La Santa Cruz me dio una gran bienvenida!
"Santa Croce has been so welcoming to me. Their teaching methodology is phenomenal and really helps me learn, despite the language barrier. Somehow, all of our spiritual lives are connected here, united through prayer."
Eddy Avelino Gerardo De La Cruz
Estudiante de 1º Bachillerato de Teología
Canon Law Academic Celebration
On January 9th 2013, the School of Canon Law will celebrate an academic feast in honor of St. Raymond of Penyafort, patron saint of canon lawyers. The event entitled, the ability to marry in the teaching of Benedict XVI, will begin with Holy Mass at 9:30am, followed by a speech given by H.E. Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Prefect of Economic Affairs for the Holy See.
N. 1 December
My name is Alvaro Tajadura, and I am a Spanish priest from the diocese of Burgos. I entered the seminary at 17, after having participated in the last meeting with Blessed John Paul II in Madrid, an event that completely changed my life.
I still remember the words that still remain in my heart to this day: “My dear young man, if you feel the call from God, saying follow me, do not silence it,” because I can assure you that “Christ and the Gospel are worth you life’s dedication.”
I was ordained a priest on July 3, 2009. Weeks later, under the direction of Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin, I returned to Rome to specialize in the area of Social Communication Sciences so we can provide better help for my diocese.
This is my third and final year in Rome, and I can say it has been truly an immense gift to live my early years of priesthood in the heart of the Church.
Being close to the Pope, feeling his universality, seeing how all priests and seminarians, despite our diversity of cultures, share the same faith and the same ideal next to the solid rock of Peter; this is what I received in these years here.
Studying at the University of the Holy Cross College and living in Tiberino have also been blessings from the Lord, not only because I have received a good education, but because my teachers were able to transmit to us their zeal and love for the Church and the Pope.
Living with the priests at the Tiberino College has also helped me understand other realities which the Church lives. I remember, for example, the testimony of one of my companions, a priest from China, which earlier this year was captured and imprisoned for exercising his ministry.
Stories such as these and many other experiences have made me see that being a priest is truly “worth it”.
On Monday, October 8th, at the Basilica of St. Apollinare, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz presided over the Holy Mass dedicated to the Holy Spirit, for the inauguration of the 2012/2013 Academic Year.
The formal academic year opened on Monday, November 5th, with the University Chancellor and Prelate of Opus Dei, H.E. Msgr. Javier Echevarría in attendance at the university’s inaugural lecture.
"We must all be protagonists with Christ as we hope for grace-filled events in the coming months," said Msgr. Ocáriz in his homily referring to the beginning of the Year of Faith initiated by Pope Benedict XVI. "The Lord and the Church expect a renewed commitment from us to revitalize the roots of our faith. Let us call upon the help of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent to us from the Father."
"Faith is absolutely necessary in the study of theology and the other ecclesiastical disciplines," added the University's Vice-Chancellor. "This study could not take place without full fidelity to Revelation, transmitted by Sacred Scripture and by the Church's living Tradition, interpreted by the Magisterium."
"The environment here is what I have always wanted. Many doors have opened that I previously knew nothing about. For example, I have the opportunity to learn English or any other language I might desire!" Baccalaureate Student of Theology