smile for the photographer!
1. Fr. Hyacinth Ennis of South Africa
2. Fr. John Hooper of England
3. Bro. Joe Rogenski of St. Louis Missouri, U.S.A.
4. Fr. Bonaventura Lin of Taiwan
5. Fr. Efren Jimenez of the Philippines
6. Fr. Efren Ojada of the Philippines
7. Fr. Callistus Welch of Washington
8. Fr. Edouard Otis of Canada
9. Fr. Paul Smith of Australia
10. Fr. Lucien Armstrong of new Zealand
11. Fr. Pat mcSweeney, of Ireland
Greeting to the Commissaries of the Holy Land
by Fr. G. Claudio Bottini, Dean of the Faculty
Dear Brothers Commissaries:
Thank you very much for coming here to the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. To some of you, like Brother Callistus, whom we know for the many years, may I extend the greeting, ben tornato. Your presence with us at the Flagellation monastery today gives me the opportunity to show our gratitude to you for your services to the Custody of the Holy Land, and, directly or indirectly, also to our Faculty.
The Studium Biblicum is inseparable from the Custody of the Holy Land, because it is the Custody that planned it, founded it and sustained it for the past 80 years. The leaflet in your hands describes briefly what the Studium Biblicum is.
Since September 2001 it has been recognized as a Faculty of Biblical Sciences and Archaeology by a decree of the Holy See. This recognition, as you know, has placed our institute academically on equal footing with the other two catholic biblical institutes, the École Biblique of the Dominicans and the Pontifical Biblical Institute of the Jesuits.
Msgr. Giuseppe Pittau, Secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the catholic education, who came to Jerusalem for the inauguration of the Faculty, said that the recognition granted to the Studium Biblicum is an expression of gratitude to the Custody of the Holy Land for its centuries-long faithful service in the Holy Land. At the same time it is an expression of trust placed on the Franciscan Order and on the Custody by the Holy See and the whole catholic Church.
May I provide you with some further information. There are 15 members on the teaching staff of the Faculty, some very young while some others towards the close of their teaching carrier. We come from 13 Provinces of the Order the Custody of the Holy Land, Italy, France, Germany and Kroatia . This year we also have a visiting professor from the United States, Father Leslie Hoppe, who already came more than once in the past years. Besides teaching here at the Studium Biblicum, almost all of us also teach courses in Bible and Archaeology at Studium Theologicum Jerosolymitanum, the Seminary of the Custody of the Holy Land.
There are 58 students registered for this academic year nine of them are women coming from 18 countries, belonging to 11 religious orders or congregations and to 17 dioceses in different continents. 15, Franciscans as well as non- Franciscans, reside with us at the Flagellation monastery benefitting from the allowance, missa pro mensa. We are in short a mini-University, yet representing the universality of the Church and the international character of the Custody of the Holy Land.
If the political situation of the Holy Land settles down, we believe that even more students would benefit from our academic institute. Divine providence has protected us up to the present and we hope for the best in future.
As you know, our service is not limited to teaching and formation. We continue scientific research in the field of biblical languages, history, biblical exegesis and archaeological excavations. You will be pleased to know that we try to circulate results of research done at the Studium Biblicum by publishing books in English or translating previously published works. I am pleased to announce to you among the latest publications the second volume of the excavations in Nazareth, and the three volumes on the ancient Christian villages of the Holy Land. Both realizations were possible thanks to the collaboration with Father Raphael Bonanno of the Holy Name Province and of Father Paul Rotondi of the Immaculate Conception Province.
Since 1996 Mister Michael Olteanu of California has made his Christusrex server available for our website.
We maintain excellent relations of scientific collaboration with many Israeli and Palestinian professors and archaeologists.
May I ask you, the Commissaries of the Holy Land, to make known our services among the activities of the Custody of the Holy Land to the Church and the to Christians of the whole world. Please encourage young friars to come for studies in Jerusalem. Studying the Bible in the Holy Land may involve sacrifice, but it will be a unique and rich experience from may points of view.
I am grateful to you for all that you have done and will do for the Holy Land, according to the grace and responsibility we Franciscans share in the Church and the world at large.
As a token of gratitude we have placed at your disposal an illustrative brochure on the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum and some postcards.
I call now on the Librarian of the Studium Biblicum, Father Alviero Niccacci. He will lead a tour of our Library and show you to the classroom for the lectures of Father Michele Piccirillo and Father Frédéric Manns.
Thank you and have a nice stay with us.
Jerusalem SBF, January 28, 2003.