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Department of Religious Studies

Issa Abu Sa'da

Issa Abu Sa'da(BU ‘06) is currently enrolled in the seminary school of the Latin Patriarchate in Bethlehem. A seemingly quiet and introspective young man, Issa's professors say he will be a good priest, a kind priest.

Like his classmate Nariman Qumsieh (BU '08), Issa appreciated the opportunity that the Religious Studies Department gave him to learn more about Judaism and Islam, in addition to deepening his understanding of Christianity. "Without the financial and spiritual support from my scholarship sponsor, Father Adam Forno, a kind and generous priest from the United States, I would not have been able to afford my university education," Issa said. 

The Bethlehem University program enabled Issa to easily move onto his studies at the seminary. "The program at Bethlehem University was very helpful to me because the courses are taught in Arabic, which enabled me to comprehend in a deeper way," Issa said.

ronically, one major challenge the Department faces is to be able to give students a more tangible experience of Christianity because of the lack of freedom of movement for Palestinians living in the West Bank to visit the holy sites in Jerusalem and Israel. "It is important that the students see what they are learning in their books. It is the Holy Land. The Holy Land is the cradle of monotheism, but locals can hardly access their holy sites-the backbone of Christianity," Issa said. "We are a group of priests and students studying religion. Like Israelis, we deserve access to our own holy sites too."

As part of his studies at the seminary, Issa and his colleagues work in parishes each summer with youth (6-15 years). "We teach them religion, art, music and sports classes five days a week from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.," Issa explained. "This summer I went to Ajloun in Jordan. It was good for me because I felt I was giving them something else to think about, which is exactly how I feel about the Department of Religious Studies at Bethlehem University; it gave me something else to think about and now I have an opportunity to pass that on to others." 

Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine