Friday, August 7, 2009


(D. Maria Gerald sdb)

The inauguration of the Academic year 2009-2010 of Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong on 6 August 2009 commenced with the Eucharist at 8:30 am which was presided over by Most Rev. Dominic Jala sdb, Archbishop of Shillong. Among the concelebrants were Rev. Fr. Francesco Cereda, Salesian General Councillor for Formation, and the Salesian provincials of Guwahati, Kolkata, New Delhi and Dimapur. In his sermon, Archbishop Jala invited the students to an experience of God drawing a parallel to the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. He exhorted one and all - staff and students -to an experience of the transfigured Lord which would result in proclaimingHim to others. The mass was followed by a break for refreshments. By 10:15 am. all had taken their seats in the College Auditorium for the commencement of the Inaugural Function.

Among the highlights of this annual academic event was the keynote address delivered by Fr. Cereda entitled: "To Do and Study Theology after the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God". The ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held at Rome from October 6-26, 2008 examined the theme of "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church". It underscored the division that had crept in between exegesis and theology. Fr. Cereda indicated ways in which this could be remedied using the insights of Dei Verbum, establishing a new rapport between exegesis and theology, and through the practice of Lectio Divina. The presentation of the Academic Report took the audience down memory lane recalling salient events of the year gone by, while presenting the new avenues opening up in the year ahead. Each of the provincials present also had a chance to share their views on the college and indicate ways in which all could use the new year and its possibilities to grow in their faith and knowledge. The release of three books (two in English and one in Khasi) that have been authored by professors of the college was done by Archbishop Jala. The two in English are entitled: Salvatorians among the Khasis by Dr. Aloysius Hemrom sdb and Contextual Theology by Dr. Barnes Mawrie sdb.

The Academic Function was followed by time for the students to get acquainted with the program of the new semester and to elect their representatives. This year the college has about 130 students in the various programs it offers. They hail from different parts of India as well as from Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The faculty has 22 professors (of whom 12 are in residence) on the permanent teaching staff, with another 27 visiting professors. The year ahead holds great promise for growth in knowledge and holiness, two pillars of Christian life and ministry.

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