After a yearly break, Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion are starting again to provide biblical courses for those who want to deepen their understanding of Scriptures in Iasi, Romania. The three proposed courses are: one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament and a Biblical Hebrew course. More information is included in Romanian below:
Surorile “Notre Dame de Sion” organizează trei cursuri de Biblie – despre Cartea Înţelepciunii, despre Cartea Apocalipsei şi ebraică biblică – pentru toţi cei interesaţi să aprofundeze cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, la sediul din Iaşi.
“Când luăm în mână cu credinţă Sfintele Scripturi şi le citim cu Biserica, omul se plimbă din nou cu Dumnezeu în paradis” (Verbum Domini, nr. 87)
Sunt propuse trei cursuri:
1. “Am ales calea înţelepciunii” – profesor: pr. Iosif Antili (Curs biblic despre Cartea Înţelepciunii)
Cartea Înţelepciunii este o scriere biblică grandioasă prin orizontul fascinant pe care îl delineează şi prin abordarea unor teme fundamentale pentru înţelegerea lumii în general şi pentru aprofundarea misterului omului.
Se vor explora teme precum: misterul regelui Solomon, condamnarea filozofiei clipei prezente, răspunsul lui Dumnezeu vvproblema dreptului suferind, enigma morţii, destinul nemuritor al omului, calea înţelepciunii, posibilitatea cunoaşterii lui Dumnezeu şi rătăcirile idolatriei, mijloacele prin care Dumnezeu acţionează în lume. Cursul este o invitaţie pentru toţi cei doritori de a face câţiva paşi înainte pe calea înţelepeciunii biblice.
Cursul se desfăşoară în zilele următoare: 16 februarie; 2, 16 şi 30 martie; 13 aprilie; 4 şi 18 mai; 1 şi 15 iunie 2019.
2. “Apocalipsa, mister şi semnificaţii” – profesor: pr. Iulian Faraoanu (Curs biblic despre Cartea Apocalipsei)
Cursul îşi propune să introducă pe participanţi în temele principale ale literaturii şi teologiei cărţii Apocalipsei.
Prima parte e dedicată problematicii tradiţiilor si curentelor apocaliptice dezvoltate intre secolele II î.C. – II d.C. A doua parte, cea mai consistentă de altfel, tratează teme ce ajută la descifrarea viziunilor şi simbolurilor din Apocalipsa.
Una dintre intenţii e dorinţa de a corecta prejudecăţi referitoare la Apocalipsă. Ultima scriere a Bibliei este o carte despre speranţă şi fericire.
Cursul se desfăşoară în zilele următoare: 23 februarie; 9 şi 23 martie; 6 aprilie; 11 şi 25 mai; 8 şi 22 iunie 2019.
3. “Universul literelor ebraice” – profesor: sr. Iuliana Neculai, NDS (Curs de ebraică biblică)
Alfabetul ebraic este fascinant datorită profunzimii simbolisticii lui. Un mistic evreu, pe nume Aboulafia, spunea: “Literele ebraice sunt rădăcina întregii înţelepciuni”.
Cursul îşi propune o abordare a alfabetului ebraic prin prezentarea unor rădăcini ebraice, ce va permite de a aprofunda unele cuvinte precum, Amin, Aleluia, …, cuvinte dintre cele mai cunoscute din limba ebraică. Intenţia cursului, pe lângă asimilarea unor elemente de bază ale limbii ebraice, este aceea de a renunţa la unele certitudini şi la trăirea uimirii în faţa unor cuvinte acoperite până acum de traduceri şi de interpretări.
Cursul se desfăşoară în zilele următoare: 16 şi 23 februarie; 2 şi 30 martie; 6 aprilie; 11 şi 25 mai; 1, 8 şi 15 iunie 2019.
Sediul Congregaţiei “Notre Dame de Sion” are adresa: Aleea Grigore Ghica Vodă, nr. 19, Iaşi (Copou).
Pentru înscrierea la aceste cursuri şi alte informaţii: Sr. Iuliana Neculai (NDS), email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 0741.658.651.
“Dacă aş fi fost preot aş fi studiat ebraica şi greaca pentru a putea citi cuvântul lui Dumnezeu pe care El s-a învrednicit să-l exprime în limbajul omenesc” (Thér?se de Lisieux)
“Cuvântul tău, Doamne, este făclie pentru paşii noştri” (Ps 119,105).
Sr. Iuliana Neculai, NDS
The last week of January, I spent in Poland in Podkarpacie Region (formerly Galicia and where I come from), where from the 27 of January, until 3 of February in 70 villages and towns various meetings and events took place to mark the Holocaust Memorial Day in Poland. This invitation to come and become part of these events, came as a result of a meeting with the main organiser Prof. Wacław Wierzbieniec, at the academic conference, in Krakow in 2018.
It was already 11th year, when such commemorations took place in this part of Poland (part of shtetls before II World War and where today there is almost no Jewish Presence). The main initiator and organiser is Prof. Wacław Wierzbieniec, the Professor in the History Department at the University of Rzeszów, as well as head of the Department of History and Culture of Jews, there. Every year Prof. Wierzbieniec invites Holocaust Survivors, who this year came from Holland, Israel, Canada, the US. We were all greeted with friendship by the priests, mayors, residents and especially the school children, who displayed their knowledge about the Holocaust. These events are organised by local people, in parishes, centres, museums, schools and in the Jewish cemeteries or places marked by tragedy of Shoah.
The main celebration took place in Rzeszów, in a parish with the presence of the bishop of place- bp. Wątroba. During the ecumenical ceremony in the main parish, names of Jews and non-Jews from Podkarpacie, who perished during Holocaust were read. We went together to the Jewish cemetery where Jewish prayers, including Kaddish were said by the Rabbi and Jewish participants. Finally, at the Rzeszow University prof. Shimon Redlich (borned in Galicia region and saved by Polish and Ukrainian families during the War) received the highest academic title – the doctor honoris causa for his academic achievements.
Each day I was asked to go to a different place, to schools, museums, centres to give talks concerning Sion and interreligious dialogue. It is worth mentioning that in some of the schools, preparation for this event took place the whole month of January, where children learned about their local and Jewish history related to Shoah. Among the people who participated where the Jewish survivors from this villages and tows who came specially for this occasion and also the families whose members (or their parents or grandparents) received the title of the Righteous Among the Nations. In some places, I was among other speakers, often historians who spoke about Jewish local history.
In all visited places, I was very warmly welcomed. Many people expressed interested in our Sionian story – in our path on Jewish – Christian Dialogue. I was very surprised to discover the number of these commemorations, as 12 years ago nothing much was happening in my region on the local level, especially in these tiny villages who now so well educate their children about the Holocaust history. Every year more towns and villages joins this initiative and in other regions of Poland the 27th of January is marked in main cities.
Unfortunately, news about these events rarely get into the medias, not only in Poland but even more so around the world. Yes, these initiatives often are very local, but the important, as they are able to touch people’s lives and change their view about and relationships with the Neighbour – the one next to or the one who is no (more) so close.
Sr. Kasia Kowalska, NDS
Le Centre de Formation Biblique de la Congrégation Notre Dame de Sion organise une nouvelle session de 2 semaines, centrée sur le thème de l’Espérance dans la Bible, dans l’expérience juive et chrétienne.
« Je sais, moi, les desseins que je forme pour vous, oracle du Seigneur, desseins de paix et non de malheur, pour vous donner un avenir et une espérance. » (Jr 29, 11)
« L’espérance ne déçoit pas car l’amour de Dieu a été répandu dans vos cœurs par le Saint Esprit qui vous a été donné. » (Rm 5,5)
Le programme inclura :
étude de la Parole de Dieu, grâce à des enseignements, des temps de réflexion, de partage et de prière;
des excursions guidées à travers le pays;
des rencontres avec les habitants de cette terre;
La formation s’adresse à toute personne intéressée:
La session se tiendra à Jérusalem dans les 2 maisons de la Congrégation Notre Dame de Sion:
Coût de la session est 2650 €.
Le prix comprend la pension complète, les enseignements, les visites, l’accès internet (WiFi). Ne comprend pas le billet d’avion.
Des arrangements financiers sont possibles.
Plus d’informations et registration :
fr. José LEITE, NDS
Tél: + 33 (0) 1 40 46 08 57
Portable:+ 33 (0) 7 84 54 76 78
“Today is the anniversary of the founding of our Sion. It was on this day that the thought of Sion was brought down to earth, not by an angel, not by an archangel, not by the apostles, but by the Mother of God herself. Today we can consider this marvel in its fruits since you yourselves are these fruits.
Let our hearts be filled with gratitude; this sentiment must have priority over all the others. Gratitude to God!
Let our gratitude overflow and exclaim with the Blessed Virgin Magnificat!”
From Théodore Ratisbonne Origins of Sion n° 4
Talks to the community and instructions in the chapel, January 20, 1854
The Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR) is “an association of centers and institutes in the United States and Canada devoted to enhancing mutual understanding between Jews and Christians” (https://www.ccjr.us/). Celia Deutsch (Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.) attended the annual meeting held in Providence, Rhode Island Nov. 4 and 5, 2018, as a representative of the Sisters of Sion. The Sunday program included a panel discussion of the festschrift in honor of John Pawlikowski, Righting Relations after the Holocaust and Vatican II: Essays in Honor of John Pawlikowski. The keynote speaker was Dr. David Kertzer (Brown University, Providence), who spoke on “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara: the Continuing Controversy. Monday’s panels focused on perspectives on the Land/State of Israel: in Jewish theology, in Christian theology and in Christian-Jewish Dialogue.
Each year the CCJR gives a Shevet Achim award honoring a person who has made a significant contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue. At the November meeting, Rabbi Abraham Skorka was honored for his work as a leader in dialogue in Argentina and internationally. Many people recognize him best for his work with Pope Francis, beginning with their collaboration in Buenos Aires Celia was one of those speaking in his honor, and focused on the theme of “dialogue” in Rabbi Skorka’s writing.
The meeting took place only a week after an armed gunman murdered eleven elderly Jews gathered for Shabbat services in Pittsburgh. For all those participating, our gathering was a moment to comfort and support one another, to take courage and recommit ourselves to building paths of justice and peace.
Celia Deutsch, n.d.s., Brooklyn N.Y. (U.S.A.)
Compiled by Sr. Lucy Thorson, NDS and Murray Watson
With its 1965 declaration Nostra Aetate (On the Church’s Relationship to Non-Christian Religions), the Catholic Church inaugurated a historic and wide-ranging transformation in its thinking about, and relating to, Judaism and the Jewish people. Since then, Nostra Aetate has provided the inspiration and direction for dozens of significant documents and events that have helped to significantly re-shape the Jewish-Catholic relationship. Having recently marked the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate (in 2015), the Interfaith Department of Scarboro Missions is pleased to offer this overview of many of those documents and events, which illustrate the growth and development of the dialogue between these two ancient faiths.
This material is intended for a wide range of audiences, including (but not limited to) secondary school religion classes, adult faith formation programmes, and local interfaith conversations. We hope that it will help to make these important “Milestones” better known, and will help us to build upon the remarkable foundation of the past half-century. We have much to celebrate, and much to be grateful for!
“… you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in … to share the rich root of the olive tree … remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you.”
Since the Second World War, the Catholic Church has been involved in a deliberate process of rethinking its relationship to Judaism and the Jewish people. Especially in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, Catholic-Jewish relations have improved tremendously on local, national and international levels.
As several Jewish and Catholic leaders have noted, there have probably been more positive encounters between Jews and Catholics in the last sixty years than in the previous fifteen hundred. These years have been a time of renewal, hope and growing cooperation between these two faiths evidenced by the multitude of Catholic-Jewish dialogue groups, organizations and institutions that have emerged throughout the world since Vatican II.
The following listing of events provides a taste of how relations between Catholics and Jews have been changing and developing in recent decades – and this is a journey that has only just begun.
1947 Ten Points of Seelisberg
An international conference of Jews, Protestants and Catholics, gathered in Switzerland to confront the reality of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, issues a series of ten principles to guide Christian teaching and preaching when referring to Jews and Judaism.
1959 Good Friday Prayer
Pope John XXIII modifies the intercessory prayer for the Jews in the Church’s Good Friday liturgy by suppressing the term “perfidious (faithless, unbelieving) Jews.” Over the years, the prayer continues to undergo revision to bring it more in keeping with the renewal in Church teaching about the Jews and Judaism.
1960 Pope John XXIII and Jules Isaac
Jules Isaac, a noted French Jewish historian, presents Pope John XXIII with historical documentation on Christian anti-Judaism and attitudes which contributed to the Holocaust.
1965 Nostra Aetate
Called by Pope John XXIII, the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) issues Nostra Aetate (The Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions.) Nostra Aetate No. 4 addresses the issue of Christian attitudes towards the Jewish people. This document marks the end of a long era in the history of Catholic – Jewish relations and the beginning of a new age of dialogue between the two ancient communities.
1974 New Vatican Commission
What was formerly the Office for Catholic- Jewish Relations – created in 1966 and attached to the Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity – is renamed the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.
1974 “Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate ( No. 4)”
This Vatican document proposes some concrete suggestions born of experience to help to promote in the life of the Church the attitudes towards the Jewish people articulated in the 1965 declaration Nostra Aetate No.4. In particular, this document encourages Christians to “acquire a better knowledge of the basic components of the religious tradition of Judaism and to learn by what essential traits the Jews define themselves in light of their own religious experience.”
1978 Karol Wojtyla elected Pope
From the beginning of his twenty-six year pontificate, the newly elected Pope-John Paul II-sets out to build a new relationship between the Church and the Jewish people.
1980 Pope John Paul II – A Covenant Never Revoked
Addressing the Jewish community in Mainz, West Germany, John Paul II insists on the eternal validity of God’s covenant with the Jews, a theme repeated in subsequent Church teachings.
1985 “Notes on the Correct Way to Present Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church”
This Vatican document provides a helpful reference for those who teach and preach about Jews and Judaism and wish to do so in accord with the current teaching of the Church.
1986 Pope John Paul II Visits Rome Synagogue
John Paul II becomes the first Pope in history to visit Rome’s chief synagogue. In his speech he reiterates the Second Vatican Council’s condemnation of all discrimination toward the Jews and states: “The Jewish religion is not ‘extrinsic’ to us, but in a certain way is ‘intrinsic’ to our own religion. With Judaism therefore we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.”
1993 Israel – Vatican Accord
Israel and the Vatican establish full diplomatic ties, easing decades of diplomatic tensions between the two states.
1997 Vatican Symposium “Roots of Anti – Judaism in the Christian Milieu”
Addressing the symposium, John Paul II says, “In the Christian world … erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people … have circulated too long engendering feelings of hostility toward this people.”
1998 “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah”
In a long-awaited document on the Holocaust, the Church expresses repentance for those Christians who failed to oppose the Nazi persecution of the Jews.
2000 Visit of Pope John Paul II to Israel
Following a Lenten liturgy in which he prayed for God’s forgiveness “for those who have caused these children [the Jews] to suffer” Pope John Paul II undertakes a historic visit to Israel, during which he visits Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall, and places in the Wall a copy of his Lenten prayer
2000-2002 Historic scholarly documents
In 2000, an interdenominational group of Jewish scholars issues Dabru Emet, a consensus document offering eight suggestions about how Jews and Christians might better relate to one another. In 2002, the Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations publishes its response to Dabru Emet, entitled “A Sacred Obligation”.
2002 “The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible”
The Pontifical Biblical Commission publishes a thorough study of the relationship between the New Testament and the Hebrew Scriptures. The document notes that Christians have much to learn from Jewish interpretation of the Bible and confronts the problem of anti-Jewish passages in the New Testament.
2002 Bilateral Commission of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and the Holy See
As a result of Pope John Paul’s visit to the State of Israel in 2000, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See established a joint commission which has continued to meet annually, to address topics of shared concern, and to strengthen the relationship between the Vatican and the religious leadership of Israel. Together they have explored the role of Scripture in each faith’s central teachings, the sanctity of human life, freedom of conscience, religious education and other significant matters.
2005 Joseph Ratzinger elected Pope
As a cardinal, Pope Benedict had been a close collaborator with Pope John Paul II in many of his historic interfaith initiatives and writings. In his homily for the Mass inaugurating his papacy, the new Pope specifically mentioned the Jews among those to whom he extended greetings: “With great affection I also greet … you, my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people, to whom we are joined by a great shared spiritual heritage, one rooted in God’s irrevocable promises”. His first official correspondence as Pope was a letter of congratulations to the Chief Rabbi-emeritus of Rome’s Great Synagogue, Dr. Elio Toaff, on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
2005-2010 Pope Benedict visits to three synagogues
In August 2005, as part of his pilgrimage to Germany for World Youth Day, the Pope visited the synagogue of Cologne, where he said: “We must come to know one another much more and much better. Consequently, I would encourage sincere and trustful dialogue between Jews and Christians … Our rich common heritage and our fraternal and more trusting relations call upon us to join in giving an ever more harmonious witness”. On April 28, 2008, Pope Benedict was the guest of Rabbi Arthur Schneier and the congregation of Park East Synagogue. In his remarks, the Pope said: “”I find it moving to recall that Jesus, as a young boy, heard the words of Scripture and prayed in a place such as this,” and he encouraged everyone present “to continue building bridges of friendship”. In January 2010, Pope Benedict marked Italy’s annual “Day for Judaism” by visiting the main synagogue of Rome, repeating the historic visit first made by his predecessor. There, he invited Jews and Christians to come together to proclaim the religious and ethical teachings they share: “Reawakening in our society openness to the transcendent dimension, witnessing to the one God, is a precious service which Jews and Christians can offer together … Bearing witness together to the supreme value of life against all selfishness, is an important contribution to a new world where justice and peace reign …”.
2005 Papal recommitment to the vision of Nostra Aetate
On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate’s promulgation, Pope Benedict wrote: “The Jewish-Christian dialogue must continue to enrich and deepen the bonds of friendship which have developed, while preaching and catechesis must be committed to ensuring that our mutual relations are presented in the light of the principles set forth by the Council”.
2007 Pope quotes Jewish rabbi-scholar in his own book about Jesus
In April, Pope Benedict published the first volume in a trilogy, “Jesus of Nazareth”. In it, he quotes extensively from a 1993 book by Rabbi Jacob Neusner, a distinguished scholar of Judaism, called A Rabbi Talks With Jesus.
2009 Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Israel and the Palestinian Territories
From May 8 to 15, Pope Benedict visited the Holy Land, meeting with religious and political leaders in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories, visiting major Jewish sites and expressing the solidarity of the Catholic Church with the peoples of that region.
2009 International Council of Christians and Jews issues “A Time For Recommitment” (The Twelve Points of Berlin)
More than sixty years after the ICCJ published its seminal “Ten Points of Seelisberg,” the “Twelve Points of Berlin” is issued in July, as an attempt to address key topics in Jewish-Christian relations in the light of the considerable progress in this dialogue, and to provide guiding principles for the future.
2011 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s Assisi Day of Prayer
On October 25, Pope Benedict reprised his predecessor’s historic interreligious gathering in Assisi, by inviting the world’s religious leaders to come together again, and to pray for peace in the world. Three hundred religious representatives accepted his invitation. In speaking of the shared religious aspiration of peace, Pope Benedict said: “We will continue to be united in this journey, in dialogue, in the daily building of peace and in our commitment to a better world, a world in which every man and woman and every people can live in accordance with their own legitimate aspirations”.
2013 Historic Papal Transition
Pope Benedict XVI resigns the papacy on February 28. On March 13, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected as Pope Francis. One of the new Pope’s first acts is to send a message to Rome’s Jewish community, informing them of his election, and inviting their presence for his installation Mass.
It was quickly revealed that Pope Francis had a longstanding and warm relationship with Argentina’s Jewish community, and had published a book of his conversations with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a close friend and colleague [in English:On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century, 2013].
In April, Pope Francis accepts the invitation of visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres to come to Israel.
2014 Papal visit to the Holy Land
From May 24 to 26, Pope Francis paid his first papal visit to the Holy Land, visiting Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, accompanied by his good friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, a leader of the Muslim community in Argentina (http://tinyurl.com/kcbjb24). The Pope’s visit was intended to promote a message of peace, reconciliation and interfaith dialogue. It also specifically marked the fiftieth anniversary of the historic visit of Pope Paul VI to Israel, when that Pope met Athenagoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. (http://tinyurl.com/opzx39j)
2015 The fiftieth anniversary of “Nostra Aetate”
In an address to delegates of the annual conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) on June 30, Pope Francis underscored how that historic document “represents a definitive ‘yes’ to the Jewish roots of Christianity and an irrevocable ‘no’ to anti-Semitism”. As a result, the Pope emphasized that “trust and fraternity between us have continued to grow. We are strangers no more, but friends, and brothers and sisters.” He spoke of Nostra Aetate as a “solid basis [that] can be, and must be, developed yet further”. (http://tinyurl.com/kmkur9f )
A major new Vatican document on Jewish-Christian dialogue
In December, the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews marked the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate by issuing a new statement entitled “The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable”. Building upon previous official Catholic documents, it highlighted the unique place of Judaism in Catholic theological dialogue, the tremendous progress achieved in recent decades, and emphasized that the Catholic Church does not engage in organized efforts to encourage Jewish conversion to Christianity. (http://tinyurl.com/zzfhxq7)
2016 Pope Francis visits the Great Synagogue of Rome
On January 17, as part of the Italian Church’s “Day of Dialogue Between Catholics and Jews,” the Pope visited the main synagogue of the Eternal City, becoming the third Pope to do so. As part of his speech there, he said: “In interreligious dialogue it is fundamental that we encounter each other as brothers and sisters before our Creator and that we praise him; and that we respect and appreciate each other, and try to cooperate … I hope that our closeness, mutual understanding and the mutual esteem between our two faith communities may continue to grow.” (http://tinyurl.com/kulvwfq)
Published by the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion Nostra Signora di Sion
Via Ambrogio Traversari, 21
00152 Rome, Italy
Phone:  (06) 581 8956/  (06) 589 5091
Web Site: www.notredamedesion.org
Copyright © 2017 Congregation of Our Lady of Sion
Contact person: Sr. Lucy Thorson NDS email@example.com
Authored by Sr. Lucy Thorson NDS and Dr. Murray Watson
Permission to Reprint this Document
We encourage the reproduction and use of this document for educational purposes.
The role of Scarboro Missions is gratefully acknowledged in developing the original version of the material displayed in this section of the website.