Friday, September 18, 2015

Mass in the Tomb

Today my class and I had the blessing of being able to celebrate the Holy Mass in Jesus' tomb. It was a surreal experience that words cannot totally express.

Today my classmates and I also started our first day of classes. It was a good introduction into academic life...again! Im looking forward to the classes. I will update more on this topic at a later date. 

Sorry for the short post but I am tired and am going to bed. Good night! 

God bless,
Br. Adam

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Topographical Visit to the Mount of Olives

Shalom! Greetings from the Holy Land! Today we took a Topographical Visit to the Mount of Olives. We went to quite a few interesting and Biblically important sites. We started the day out at the Chapel of the Ascension. This is where Jesus ascended into Heaven 50 days after his Resurrection.
 Chapel of the Ascension
Place of the Ascension (inside Chapel) 

After some brief history from our guide we continued on our tour just down the road a little way to the Church of the Pater Noster (Our Father). This was a beautiful place. This is the spot where Jesus taught his Apostles to pray the Our Father. 
 Panoramic View 
 Our Father in Hebrew and Aramaic
Cave or Grotto

After visiting this beautiful Church we went to the place where Jesus wept for Jerusalem. This place was simple but very beautiful and very prayerful. It had a great view of the City of Jerusalem. 
                           Luke 19: 41 "As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it"
 View of Jerusalem
 View of Jerusalem
 View of Jerusalem
 Our group listening to Fr. Pol
View from inside the Chapel

After visiting here we went to the Church of Gethsemane. This is where Jesus was praying before he was betrayed by Judas and arrested. It was a beautiful church and a great place to pray. 

After visiting the Church of Gethsemane we went on to the place where Mary is thought to have been buried before her Assumption. All of these places were beautiful to learn about as well as to pray at. Be assured of more pictures on Facebook. 
 Outside of the Church 
 Descent into Church
Painting hanging in Church

Tomb of Mary

God bless, 
Br. Adam

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Day Seven

Today we had the official opening of our academic year. It started out with a Liturgy of the Word Service. Afterwards, we had refreshments outside of the Principal's office. Following the refreshments we went to Don Bosco Hall and had our official opening. The new students were introduced to the rest of the STS as well as the new faculty members. After the assembly we had to elect the student leader who will have the responsibility of communicating information to the rest of the students from the Principal and from the students to the Principal.

At the election, Br. Eduardo and myself were nominated by our peers. I was elected. It is a responsibility that I will take with some learning that must be done.

After lunch we had  our daily recreational period. We played football (soccer). It is a bit of a reminder that I am no longer in the United States because soccer is called football; they want me to teach them American Football. That will surely be interesting. Today at soccer I scored the first goal. I kicked it in on a rebounded shot. It was a good day. My team won 3-0

Tomorrow my year group will go to the Mount of Olives for a Topographical Visit.

Be assured of many pictures and plenty of prayers.

God bless,
Br. Adam

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Day Six: Community...Recreation...Movie

Good day!

Today was a day filled with activity! I woke up about 6am and got ready for the day. I went to Morning Prayer, Mass and Meditation at 7am and breakfast afterwards. After breakfast I went to the registrar's office to get my books for the semester. This is going to be a busy semester!

This semester I am taking classes in Hermeneutics, Biblical Archeology- History and Geography, The Synoptic Gosepls, Biblical Greek, Fundamental Theology, Introduction to Liturgy, Church History, Methodology, Italian and Topographical Visits (This is a visit to the the Holy Sites in Jerusalem).  It will be a busy semester and it will be a challenge for me. Pray that I do well!

After lunch today I had the opportunity to play some basketball with the brothers. We had two teams playing and we subbed people in regularly. I cannot shoot a basketball to save my life! I can play some defense.
After dinner we had the opportunity to watch a movie. We watched "Red Dawn". Some seemed to like it some others did not. Such is the case with taste; some like some things while some others do not care for it. 

Tomorrow we open our academic year. We will gather at about 9am for a Liturgy of the Word service and then have an assembly to welcome us new students and the new Faculty. I look forward to tomorrow and the rest of the year. 

Until tomorrow,
Br. Adam

Monday, September 14, 2015

Day 5: Registration for classes

Today was another low key day. I registered for classes today and officially was enrolled in the Salesian Pontifical University- Jerusalem Campus. The main Campus of the UPS (Universita Pontificia Salesiana) is in Rome. Right now I am registered to take 11 classes this semester. I know it sounds like a lot but this is part of the European System.

I look forward to my classes. I am joined by 13 others. Tomorrow I will finish getting ready for my classes. I will get my clothes ready. Dress for class is "formal" as I was told today. I will also get my books tomorrow.

In the afternoon I will take some time to pray. Not an exciting day. But it was a productive day.

Have a blessed day,
Br. Adam

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Day Four: Walk around town.

Today was a low key day. Which is good, because I needed a slower day. It was good to get out and see some of the City. I walked with Fr. Eric and Br. Eddie. We walked to West Jerusalem. Fr. Eric spoke to us about the history of East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem which I will not try to repeat here.

Tomorrow is Enrollment Day. Tomorrow I will officially become a Student of the Salesian Pontifical University. I am excited and nervous because this means that school classes are not far away. I look forward to being back in the classroom on the student side of the desk.

I think that after teaching for two years it has helped me to see things from the teacher's point of view. I hope to take what I learned as a teacher and help apply it to myself to be a good student. Who says an old dog can't learn new tricks?

Until tomorrow,
Br. Adam

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Day Three

Today was an exciting day! We started the day with Morning Prayer at 7, Mass at 7.15, and Mediation at 7.45. After Mass we had breakfast. After breakfast we had the second part of our Community Assembly to plan for the year. It was quite a good meeting and there was good participation from all the confere.

In the afternoon after lunch the first year students, my self included, went to the Holy Sepulcher with the Missionaries of Africa and the Brothers of Sion for a bit of a historical tour. These outings are called Topographical Visits. They will be held every week. Next week we are going to go to the Mount of Olives.

The Holy Sepulcher was beautiful! We went during the evening this time. There was much more activity than what I had experienced there on Thursday morning. When we arrived we went up to Calvary. As we entered the bells rang and the Greek Orthodox were about to start their Vespers. It sounded beautiful. I did not see it, but I heard it well.

After that we toured the Church more but this time we were with a historian who gave us more information that my mind was ready for. It was more of a class than a prayer opportunity; although I did manage to go to confession.

Later in the evening, after returning home, I was invited out by one of the second year students along with the others in my class. We walked around the City. We were shown where the "young crowd" hangs out. We walked along the Old City of Jerusalem. The Walls were beautiful at night.

While walking along and overlooking the street below I spied a camel. I was not expecting this at night. It was very cool to see. Not the best photo but it was the best I could manage at 200 yards. 
Until tomorrow, 
Br. Adam 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Day Two...Introduction and Planning

This morning at 09.00 The new students of the Studium Theologicum Salesianum were introduced to the academic setting of the STS. The morning was led by Fr. Biju Michael, SDB, STS President. Fr. Biju introduced the Rector of the STS, Fr. Andrew Wong, SDB.
The students were then introduced to Sr. Mary Colman, FSE, STS Registrar who explained to the students what documents were needed to formally enroll in the STS.  Soon after Sr. Mary’s introduction the students were then introduced to Fr. Lionel Goh, OFM.
 Fr. Lionel spoke about what a privilege it is to live in and study Theology in the Holy Land.  Fr. Lionel explained, briefly, the history of the Holy Land. He took the students on a lectured history tour and included the many exiles of the Jewish people, the many fallings of the City of Jerusalem, and the great history of this wonderful City.
During a brief break with coffee, tea and snacks, the students posed for pictures individually ad as a class. After the break the students returned for one more session with Fr. Biju Michael, SDB, STS President.
Fr. Biju spoke to the students about the system of education that governs the Studium Theologicum Salesianum. It is run through a European style of Education. Fr. Biju explained the importance of building good study habits. These good habit will follow the students as they progress in their studies but also in their ministry. He encouraged the students to form study groups and to study and do homework in the library so as to encourage one another. 

Before dismissal the students were told of the schedule for the coming week. Tomorrow the students will visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the afternoon.  On Monday the new students will be formally enrolled in the University and select their classes.
In the Evening the Salesian Students and Faculty had the opportunity to come together to go over the Community Plan and make suggestions and remarks. Tomorrow they will gather again and go over the suggestions in a large group since they made their suggestions in the small group. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Day One

Less than 24 hours in Jerusalem and I encountered my first mistake...I slept in. I need to get an alarm clock. I made it to Mass for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I will do better.

After breakfast Br. Dieunel offered to take me and one of my other confrere to the Holy Sepulchre. It was beautiful

It was a beautiful visit to the place where Jesus died and was entombed. I felt so surreal when visiting there this morning. Upon first entering the Church there is the stone of anointment. This is where Jesus' body was prepared to be entombed. 
I followed the lead of Br. Dieunel and knelt down and kissed the stone. After visiting there we proceeded up a steep stair case to Golgotha. This is where Jesus was Crucified. This was a most moving place to pray. While waiting in line to pray I had one thought: Jesus is Lord. It popped into my mind because of C.S. Lewis' line of, "Jesus is either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord." When I knelt down to pray I was overcome with emotion. I look forward to going back to prayer here....often. 

After visiting and praying at Golgotha we went back down stairs to the Tomb. It is very small but very beautiful. 
I could not get pictures inside because I was praying and there was a line. But next time I will get some photos to share. 

As I walked to and from the Monastery I came across a bit of home. The American Consulate of Jerusalem is less than a 5 minute walk from our Monastery. 

And lastly, here is the front of the building of where I am living for the next four years. 

Until next time be assured of my prayers. Please pray for me and all of my brothers here. 

God bless,
Br. Adam

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Arrival in Jerusalem

This morning at about 10:15 local time I arrived in Tel-Aviv, Israel. I had a good flight. It was a 10 hour direct flight from Newark, NJ. I got some sleep in while on the plane, about five hours. I woke up somewhere over Northern Italy. I could tell because of the in flight map. I realized that when I had awoken I was not nervous nor was I at all anxious. I was at peace and ready for what was to come. Getting psyched for the trip to Israel proved to be more taxing on my nerves than actually making the trip.

When I landed I went through Immigration and Customs relatively easily. I gathered my bags and went out of the secured area. I then met Fr. Andrew Wong, SDB and another confrere from Vietnam. After we all gathered we went to Jerusalem, about a 40 minute car ride.

After receiving a warm welcome it became clear that I had a daunting task; unpacking. I unpacked my bags and set up my desk. It was then that i realized I needed to take a nap. It was now about 5pm local time.

After my nap I went to Evening Prayer in our Chapel at 7pm. After prayers we had dinner and then a little light recreation. After that I prayed my rosary and now I am going to bed.

Tomorrow I believe I will be touring a little bit of Jerusalem. I will post pictures soon. We are also in the midst of a sand storm.

Pray for me, I will be praying for you.

God bless,
Br. Adam