On 28 March 2018, St. Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate (SJJS) of the Vietnam Jesuit Province in Ho Chi Minh City celebrated its first Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (SBT) graduation after being affiliated with Loyola School of Theology, an ecclesiastical faculty run by Jesuits of the Philippines province.
Also present during the celebration were Fr. Vincent Pham Van Mam, SJ, provincial of the Vietnam Jesuit Province, Fr. Joseph Pham Tuan Nghia, SJ, rector of SJJS, Fr. Enrico Eusebio SJ, Chair of the Commission on Affiliation of LST, Jesuits, superiors of non-Jesuit students, families and friends of the newly graduates.
The graduation was preceded by a thanksgiving mass presided by the Rector of SJJS. In his homily on Lk 17:11-19, Fr Paul Nguyen Thai Son, SJ, prefect of theological studies emphasized on the encounters: encounters between the Mercy and sinners, grace and belief, wisdom and blindness. He remarked that the intellectual formation must lead students to the encounter between minds and hearts. And from this starting point, their lives will become encounters of the disciples of Jesus with the wounded, the poor and those who are in need in the world.
Fr Joseph Pham Tuan Nghia, SJ grants STB degree to a newly graduate
The graduation ceremonies followed with the granting of STB degree to eight 4-year theologians and certificate for twenty-two 2-year philosophers. Due to the affiliation between SJJS and LST with the approval of the Congregation for Catholic Education, LST has been granted the power to confer the SBT degree to students of SJJS.
At the beginning of the ceremonies, on behalf of LST, Fr Enrico Eusebio, SJ, sent the best regards and congratulations to SJJS and its graduates. After recalling the history of LST in process of becoming an ecclesiastical faculty through affiliating with Fujen Catholic University in Taiwan, Fr Eusebio hoped that “it will not be long before SJJS itself will become an ecclesiastical faculty.” He also noted that the affiliation between SJJS and LST is “to favor the inter-Provincial and universal collaboration and exchange among Jesuit Provinces … and to better prepare Jesuits who are both deeply rooted in the local cultural context and available for universal missions of the Society”
The newly-graduated philosophers
In his address, Fr Joseph Pham Tuan Nghia, SJ, Rector of SJJS noted that this event is a milestone of SJJS. He also expressed his sincere gratitude to Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, SJ, and Fr. Aturo Sosa, SJ, former and current Generals of the Society of Jesus; Fr. Daniel Huang, SJ, Regional Assistant for Asia Pacific; LST Faculty and Staff, Fr. Joseph Pham Thanh Liem, SJ, former Provincial and those who were involved in the process of the affiliation between two institutions. Fr. Nghia emphasized that: “This close collaboration and friendship between St. Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate and Loyola School of Theology make us even more effective instruments of God in carrying out our mission of forming men and women in theology and pastoral ministry in order that they themselves may serve generously in any frontier they might be called to serve by Jesus Our Lord.” He also hoped that from 5 to 10 years later SJJS would be instituted as an ecclesiastical faculty by the Holy See.
The newly-graduated theologians
SJJS is a formation institution of the Vietnam Province of the Society of Jesus, in which philosophy and theology programs are offered for both Jesuits and non-Jesuits. With 27 Vietnamese professors (17 Jesuits and 10 non-Jesuits) and innumerable foreign professors in various fields, through its inculturated courses, programs and institutional and human resources, SJJS aims to educate its students in the faith, sustain personal theological growth, and assist in the effective empowerment of all who desire to serve the people of God by ministries in and of the Church. From this academic year, after the affiliation between SJJS and LST with the approval of the Congregation for Catholic Education, SJJS will organize admission to the STB for Jesuit scholastics, the religious of other congregations and lay people.
On behalf of SJJS, Fr. Paul Nguyen Thai Son, SJ gives a bouquet of flowers to thank Fr. Enrico Eusebio, SJ, the presentative of LST, Manila for his support to SJJS
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St. Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate
Address: 19 Street 5, Quarter 2, Linh Trung Ward, Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Vincent Tran Van Dinh, SJ