Saluti da un Professore Emerito…

da | 02/11/2017 | L'Altro

Foto ricevute da don Gianni e che trovate nella “Galleria” qui sotto, basta cliccare sulla foto a destra e a sinistra per avanzare o meno…

Carissime e Carissimi, il 28/10 scorso nella sede della nostra Facoltà di Teologia di Gerusalemme/”Ratisbonne” il Decano don Medeiros, venuto espressamente da Roma, mi ha conferito a nome del Rettore e del Gran Cancelliere della Università Salesiana, il diploma e la medaglia d’argento in riconoscimento dei servizi resi durante la mia “carriera” di professore di filosofia e teologia che ora, avendo compiuto i 70 anni … si avvia a prendere una ritmo più calmo e meno ufficiale!.

Voi eravate presenti in spirito, nella mia mente, perchè alla radice di questo percorso ci siete voi degli anni 1963-67 e poi 1972-74 al Don Bosco di El-Houssoun e di Beirut.

Quella medaglia la dedico anche a voi, coi quali il dialogo è continuato in tutti questi anni e, certamente, non conoscerà mai il pensionamento e l’emeritato.

Vi allego alcune foto della semplice (e commovente) cerimonia e anche il testo delle mie parole di “acceptance and acknowledgment“, in English, of course.

Un affettuoso abbraccio, tanti auguri di salute (penso ai nostri ammalati!), serenità, lavoro e ogni successo nella vita, con la benedizione del Signore, Padre, Figlio e Spirito Santo.

Don Gianni


Quella medaglia la dedico anche a voi, coi quali il dialogo è continuato in tutti questi anni e, certamente, non conoscerà mai il pensionamento e l’emeritato

Discorso di don Gianni | Jerusalem | Ratisbonne | 28 October 2017

After thanking God, I give thanks to my late&former teachers and spiritual guides, to the present academic authorities of the UPS: Chancellor, Rector, Dean of Faculty, President, to all who have contributed to this ceremony and to all of you here present.

I – A few interesting episodes about my academic assignments

My academic journey was neither linear nor predictable, on the contrary it moved along from one change to the next (providentially). A few examples. 

In June 1972,  the day of my PhD in philosophy at Rome, father provincial gave me the obedience to reach the postnovitiate at Bethlehem and lecture scholastic philosophy there, so I had all my belongings sent by diplomatic courier “a Betlemme, via Israele”. Just one month later, however, he unexpectedly changed my destination assigning me to Beirut (Lebanon). So my teaching ministry started in the Italian section of an international school (42 different nationalities, 16 religious affiliations) as professor of philosophy, religion and history to a group of girls, boys and of salesian seminarians (Flavio Giovenale, one of them, is the present bishop of Santarem in Brazil). I acknowledge with joy that they were the ones who disclosed to me the beauty of  a vocation as educator and priest. I can say: there I received my “baptism” as salesian formator.

In 1980 I was assigned as president to the STS at Cremisan where at that time there were students of both ph. and theo. The first 6 years were particularly blessed: one of those students was later elected superior general of his congregation and three were consecrated bishops: Angelo Moreschi, Mauro Morfino, Roberto Bergamaschi.

During those same years I started joining in the ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and in 1986 I submitted to Durham University (UK) the plan for a PhD research on “Six years of interreligious dialogue in Jerusalem”; the plan was approved and I was assigned to the Ushaw college where the Salesian brothers stayed. Just before booking the ticket, my provincial unexpectedly came asking me to change and to go to study Liturgy at Rome, instead. Luckly at the last minute I managed to found a vacant place at “Testaccio” … were I met fr. Fabio. I used to go up to the Anselmianum twice a day, in the morning for the classes on Sacraments and in the evening for those on Liturgy. While Fabio used to go to the Alphonsianum only once a week, … having already completed the courses for his licentiate in moral theology!

In June of the following year, a new change of program took place! Fr Angelo Amato came and asked me to move to the UPS as an assistant professor in his Christology course, while carrying on my research on st Bede under the guidence of fr Achille Triacca, adding: “Everything has already been approved by your provincial”. So I obeyed.

After three years I graduated and came back to Cremisan, where I remained until the transfer of the STS to Ratisbonne in 2004.   The rest is … recent history.

During all these years, since I arrived in the Holy Land, I always wanted to keep my “windows” opened on and, my energies at the service of … three interconnected areas: the Salesian Congregation, the Local Church, the ecumenical and religious dialogue.

II – Reflections and assessment

How do I see myself, now?

As a lover and searcher of divine wisdom “theophilosopher”.  During my lifelong experience I have been learning while teaching, receiving while giving … in an ongoing process of “growing-together” with clergy, religious and lay people, both christian, jew and muslim. I experienced the truth of st Gregory’s statement: “Scripture grows with the reader”, in the community of readers and worshippers. I acknowledge with gratitude that, though cyclically lecturing on the same subject matters, every year I have been receiving new inputs, stimuli…, thanks to both the suggestions from distinguished colleagues, the many questions, critics and  provocations from students belonging to so different cultural and ecclesial contexts and also, thanks to a constant dialogue with my dear pastpupils.

Living in the Holy Land, I was in a special way blessed to share in three exceptionally enriching experiences of “theology in context”: the Synod of the Catholic Churches (1992-2000), the monthly meetings of the Theological Commission (1995-2008) and the three weeks of biblical and theological studies at the interfaculty and interseminary level in preparation to the 2000 Great Jubilee (1997, 1998, 1999).



Cliccando sulla foto si apre l’album completo, altrimenti cliccare sulle frecce a destra e a sinistra

III – My final message…

… especially addressed to you dear students and to our dearest young lecturers: the vocation of a formator and teacher is beautiful, demanding, gratifying. – It is a gift from God, who with his Spirit molds us into cooperators of Jesus the only Teacher and Master, at the service of the people of God. – It demands love and purity, prayer and sacrifice, humility and openess, availability to listen, to put into discussion usual ways of thinking and behaving, to leave the comfort zones and to adventure into unexplored ground. – At the end of the day it is rewarding, as the many pastpupils witness when they realize that the contents and methodologies their teachers tried to transmit, are fitting and fruitful in the different areas of their pastoral ministry.


Don’t be shy if your superior calls you to become teacher of philosophy or/and theology.

But, beware, always be ready for his second choice!