Antonianum Partners With Research University to Expand Franciscan Scholarship, Other News from Order

Maria Hayes Franciscan World


ROME — The Pontifical University Antonianum and the Sapienza University of Rome, a collegiate research university with the largest enrollments in Europe, have signed a cultural and scientific cooperation agreement that will result in joint research projects, courses, study days, and seminars related to the arts and sciences, and justice and peace topics.

“The Sapienza has given special attention to a collaborative relationship with the Pontifical University Antonianum, an important research contributor in the areas of philosophy, linguistics and theology,” said Prof. Eugenio Gaudio, rector of the Sapienza University, in an article published in the April issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s newsletter.

“Within the overall policy of agreements with which our university intends to strengthen its strategy of internationalization, the agreement with the Sapienza is a particularly important milestone,” added Sr. Mary Melone, SFA, rector of the Pontifical University Antonianum. “I am sure that collaboration in scientific research related to areas central to our university has the potential to be of great educational importance.”

This collaboration will result in two joint research projects focusing on biblical history and that of St. Francis and the Franciscan Order. One study will be concerned with non-material cultural contexts — memories, stories and traditions — and the other with material aspects: architecture, landscapes and exhibits. As well as archaeology and art history, a wide range of disciplines — textual criticism, biblical exegesis, philosophy, philology, linguistics and patristic theology — will be part of both research projects.

A group from the two universities will also be commissioned to study science and faith as seen from an anthropological perspective, and with a focus on bettering many aspects of the condition of the human person: material and spiritual, intellectual and ethical, cultural and social. Through this multidisciplinary approach, it is hoped that the potentially valuable synergies between the world of scientific research and that of the faith dimension — intellectually expressed by theology — can be brought to life. This science and faith research project will be deepened by including a justice, peace and integrity of creation perspective. Through contributions from a variety of academic departments — legal sciences, economics, philosophy and theology — the universities hope to develop and affirm an ethical and moral way to administer common goods in a way that will respect human dignity and guarantee justice and fairness for all.

In other news from the Franciscan Order, the friars of St. Maria Draperis Friary in Istanbul, Turkey, began Holy Week with a tragedy. On the evening of Palm Sunday, a bomb exploded 500 meters from the friary and left five civilians dead, with several others wounded.

“As might be expected, this tragic event created a climate of fear which affected those who might wish to participate in the ceremonies,” reported the May issue of Fraternitas. “The friars adapted to this extraordinary situation and worked with a small group to have an evening of prayer on Tuesday of Holy Week.”

Holy Week continued with a lunch with Syrian refugee children and evening Mass with the Dominican friars on Thursday. On Good Friday, the friars joined the Anglican community to hear the Passion readings proclaimed and they celebrated Holy Saturday with a small congregation. On Easter Monday, they went to the Armenian Patriarchate to exchange Easter wishes.

Other news from the Order includes:

  • Summer Franciscan courses in the United States
  • The appointment of Br. Rubén Tierrablanca, OFM, as apostolic vicar of Istanbul, and apostolic administrator of the exarchate for faithful of Byzantine rite
  • The General Minister’s schedule, which includes fraternal visits to friars in Venezuela, Spain and Italy, and the chapter marking the inauguration of the new St. Anthony Province in Padua

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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