02 May 2017
Saint Mary’s College of California, Moraga recognises Bethlehem University
During the Academic Convocation Ceremony held at Saint Mary’s College of California, Moraga, California (U.S.) on Wednesday 26 April 2017, Saint Mary’s College took the opportunity to recognize the important role Bethlehem University plays as a member of the international Lasallian association of universities.
The Convocation Ceremony is a center-point of the De La Salle Week in which Saint Mary’s College celebrates its Lasallian Mission and Heritage. During the Convocation, the President of Saint Mary’s College, Professor James Donahue, and other speakers, drew attention to the role Bethlehem University plays in advancing academic and cultural programs that are of benefit to the Palestinian people.
Brother Peter Bray, the Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, thanked the Saint Mary’s College community for the opportunity to celebrate with them the De La Salle week and for their recognition of Bethlehem University. He went on to highlight the important role Bethlehem University plays in the life of Palestine, particularly as the only Catholic University in Palestine and the only Lasallian University in the region. He emphasized that the principal purpose Bethlehem University has is to help students live life to the full, the same purpose as Jesus had when he walked those lands. He outlined the desire Bethlehem University has to create an atmosphere, develop an environment and provide opportunities for student to acquire the knowledge, learn the skills and develop the values and virtues that will enable them to live life to the full.
After highlighting the mission of Bethlehem University, Brother Peter then went on to outline some of the challenges the students attending Bethlehem University face in getting to classes and living an ordinary life. Using several students as examples, he created a clear picture of what life is like for these students and then wondered about the long-term impact of such pressures on students. Brother Peter emphasized that what Bethlehem University seeks to do to counter these pressures is to create an oasis of peace where students know they are safe and where people care about them as well as creating a predictable environment for them.
In addressing the students who were present, Brother Peter reminded them that they came to Saint Mary’s to learn and he hoped they realised how fortunate they are to have the opportunities they have and the freedom they experience. He encouraged them to treasure that and make the most of it so that when they graduated they would leave to serve. He challenged them to ensure that the people they engaged with now and with those once they graduate, would be able to live life more fully because of that engagement. He encouraged them to support students at Bethlehem University through their prayers, but also to find ways to work to establish peace with justice in the land where Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was born.
Brother Peter concluded his remarks by highlighting the basis for his hope in being at Bethlehem University and thanked Saint Mary’s College for standing in solidarity with the students, faculty and staff at Bethlehem University.