I now acknowledge our 37 students graduating today. This is a very special day for each one of you, for your families, your friends and for all of us who have been part of your life and, in particular, have been part of your academic progress to this point.
This year it is a great pleasure for me to witness three of our Anglican priest-brothers graduating: Br Oswald Dumbari, Provincial Minister, Order of St Francis, graduating with the Diploma in Religious Studies and Fr George Kasme and Fr Luscomb Bera, graduating with the Advanced Diploma of Religious Studies. Congratulations to the three of you.
Also I would like to single out for special mention another one of our graduating students, Mr Alfred Kaiabe. Alfred, a practising lawyer, is graduating today with the Diploma in Religious Studies. He began his studies in 2003. But his many commitments over the years have meant that his academic journey has been a slow and deliberate one. Congratulations, Alfred, both for persevering with your studies over those many years and for meriting the Diploma in Religious Studies.
To all our graduating students, may the diplomas and degrees you receive today be a reminder of your preparedness to contribute to both the life of the Church and the wider community in the coming years.
Today brings to a close our Golden Jubilee year of HSS-CTI. Holy Spirit Seminary celebrated over the long weekend from Friday 23rd August till Sunday the 25th August. The late Bishop Tony Burgess joined us on this occasion while knowing that he had only a short time to live. He passed away just two months later on the morning of October 23rd. Also, sadly, we recall the death of Bishop Patrick Taval MSC, a graduate of this institute and a member of its Governing Council when he passed away in April, a few weeks after the CBC General Assembly. We remembered them both in our Liturgy this morning.
CTI’s own day given to the Golden Jubilee celebrations was Friday 26th June, CTI Day. There were many highlights of that day, if I could name two: the dialogue, after the community meal, with the students and Archbishop Ribat, Bishops Rochus Tatamia, John Doaninowel and Bernard Una-bali. The other highlight for me, was the Singkai lecture delivered by Fr Jurgen Ommerborn SVD, entitled, “the Early Academic Development of the Holy Spirit Seminary – the Roots of CTI”.
Another important event that I want to highlight this year was the Seminar “Social Networks: Portals of Truth And Faith; New Spaces For Evangelization” organzed by Fr Giorgio Licini PIME, secretary to the Catholic Bishops Conference for Social Communications. We plan to have a further seminar on social communications in 2014.
You may have noticed scaffolding around the building opposite the CTI Library. In this Jubilee Year our staff residence, Vangeke House, is in the process of undergoing renovations. I want to publicly thank two funding agencies for their support of this work: Missio Munich and Church in Need, Konigstein.
This year we farewell Sr Elizabeth Dowling RSM. Sr Elizabeth has only been with us for a term, but we are most thankful for her contribution to campus life. We wish you well, Sr Elizabeth, in your future academic work at the Australian Catholic University, Ballarat Campus.
Brian Gleeson CP left us in early October after a demanding five-week lecturing schedule. We are also most grateful for his significant contribution this year to CTI.
We also farewell, for a one year sabbatical, Fr Fredy Jehadin SVD. Thank you Fr Fredy for your contribution to CTI over the past few year. We wish you well during your period of renewal in Melbourne, Australia and we hope to see you back at CTI in 2015.
Though they are not lecturers at CTI, we farewell Fr Peter Miria, Vice-Rector of HSS and Fr Arthur Boland OFM. Fr Peter has been with us these last three years. Fr Arthur is returning to Australia after spending forty eight years in PNG.
Finally, we farewell Fr Peter Artiken, Rector of Holy Spirit Seminary. Fr Peter has been associated with Holy Spirit Seminary, first as Vice-Rector, then as Rector, for the last thirteen years. Thank you Fr Peter for your support over the past six years. On behalf of the CTI community I wish you well in your future ministry.
I would like to thank the following for their contributions to CTI this year: the Governing Council, the Rectors Board, the Faculty Board, the Academic Dean, Fr Zenon Szablowinski, Elias Zambra, SRC President and the rest of the outgoing SRC executive. Finally I would like to thank the ancillary staff for its contribution to the daily life of CTI.
I now wish everyone a fruitful end of year break and a peaceful Christmas. Thank you very much for your attention this morning.
Fr David Willis OP
Catholic Theological Institute
16 November, 2013