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Department of Religious Studies

Tony Hanna

Tony Hanna ('03) is a unique case among the graduates of the Religious Studies Department because he knew at a very young age that he wanted to study the Christian Religion. Bethlehem University offered him that opportunity in 1999, only a year after it was established. According to Tony, he was quite familiar with the Bible throughout his childhood. "My deep desire to study religion came from all those hours I spent reading the Bible. It really gave me something to think about," Tony said. "I really enjoyed the courses on Dogma because they helped me to strengthen my faith with solid facts about Christianity."

Tony is a Greek Roman Catholic who teaches catechism at St. Dimitri's High School, a Greek Orthodox school in Jerusalem. He has held this position since the beginning of 2005. "Without my catechetical training at Bethlehem University, I would have been very uncomfortable teaching my first class," Tony said, adding that the Department should really focus on teacher training in the future, because it is essential for new teachers, especially in religion. Tony organizes many activities for his students. One recent example is their participation in a Bible contest. Each group’s knowledge and understanding of the Bible was tested. Eight private schools from Jerusalem participated. Tony’s group won second place in the Book of Luke.

Fr. Jamal Khader, the Chairperson of the Department and Tony's favorite professor said, "Tony was a committed student and engaged in his Church (Greek Catholic). His presence and willingness to learn what he believes in was a blessing for the Department."  Fr. Jamal went onto say that he even considered becoming a priest, but decided it was not the right time. Instead he was nominated as a sub-deacon sometime in 2005 and works closely with his parish priest and the bishop in Jerusalem. He also gives Communion to a number of young boys and girls in Beit Sahour and in Beit Hanina near Jerusalem.

Tony's continuous aspiration in life is to become more like Jesus. He is preparing to marry and knows that this is his opportunity to perfectly embrace and express God's love. He has great hopes for his students and those around him, is passionate about life and its treasures and is very grateful to all those in the Department of Religious Studies for supporting and encouraging him to commit to his path in life.



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Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
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Bethlehem, Palestine