Pedro Daniel Oliveira
To signal the opening of the new academic year of 2017-18, the professors and students of the University of Saint Joseph’s Faculty of Religious Studies gathered on September 18 for their annual convocation held at the auditorium of Saint Joseph’s Seminary. Bishop of Macau Msgr Stephen Lee Bun-sang attended the gathering.
A total of 52 students are enrolled, which is a big increase from last year’s 38. They come from eleven countries or territories, such as Myanmar, Vietnam, East Timor, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Portugal, Columbia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Macau.
In the welcome address of the Dean, Dr Arnold Monera emphasized the presence of the Faculty of Religious Studies as the hallowed ground of Saint Joseph’s Seminary a continuation of a long tradition of forming missionaries and priests for China and around the Asian Region, which began in 1728 (with the establishment of the Seminary).
After ten years of its existence, the Faculty of Religious Studies has steadily grown, and its alumni are now actively ministering in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Macau, while several others are currently pursuing further studies in Theology in Rome, Louvain, and Manila.
“The uniqueness of the Faculty lies in its being multi-cultural and multi-linguistic,” Dean Monera said, adding, “The richness of every culture and tradition the students bring to the Faculty make the universality of the Church.”
He noted that in many universities around the world there is a rediscovery of the relevance of studying religion. “Religion pervades human society. It’s a central force in human history, for both good or for evil. It plays a significant role in global affairs, political views, and cultural practices. A lack of understanding of religion has caused a great human suffering,” he mentioned, “thus urged the students to love and value their studies.”
On the occasion, Msgr Stephen Lee has promised more support for the Faculty of Religious Studies. Students can expect some transformations in the physical make-up of the Seminary Campus, like the student lounge, the prayer room and chapel, and tutorial rooms.