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21 June, 2011

Eight Graduates from Bethlehem University Religious Studies

religious studiesAlban Vallet - Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Bethlehem, Palestine - Bethlehem University is a Catholic institution of higher learning founded in 1973 in the tradition of the Brothers of La Salle.  With an enrollment of 3000, it is open to students of all religious traditions.  It was the first university established in the West Bank. It has a renowned Department of Religious Studies which graduated eight students on June 12th, who will be catechists. Bishop William Shomali presided over a Mass of Thanksgiving and of ‘sending’ on the day of the feast of Pentecost.

The Department of Religious Studies received its first group of religious and lay students in 1998 to a four-year undergraduate program . In recent years, Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Maronites, Chaldeans and Armenians are able to receive this degree. But even beyond this ecumenical exchange, the Department of Religious Studies offers courses for all university students, providing Christian and Muslim students the unique opportunity to engage in religious dialogue and to know the other religion from within. In fact, Bethlehem is a city where Christians and Muslims demonstrate that it is possible to live together.

Common education is a privileged way to overcome ignorance and fear of the other. Cardinal Kasper, during his visit to the University while he was still head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity stated: "I am delighted to hear that people of different religions and faiths coexist very well here in Bethlehem. A lot of disgraceful things and events are happening, we must overcome these obstacles. What I saw here at Bethlehem University gives me great hope. Your students are our hope for a better future."

For the original article, click here.


Bethlehem University Foundation
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Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
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Bethlehem, Palestine