BJ Hickey Scholarships 2024: Unleashing the Power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God

07 Mar 2024

By Contributor

By Sr Luka M Juenemann

Scholarship recipients pictured with Biblical Foundation Committee, Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation, Fr Vincent Glynn. Photo: Ron Tan/Archdiocese of Perth.

The 2024 BJ Hickey Scholarship Reception had much to celebrate this year, falling only weeks after Pope Francis delivered a riveting homily on the importance of Scripture for Word of God Sunday.

Held on Friday 16 February at the St Mary’s Cathedral parish centre, the reception saw Episcopal Vicar for Adult Faith Formation, the Very Rev Fr Vincent Glynn award a total of nine scholarships to successful recipients, with another eight awarded in absentia.

For the first time since the scholarship’s foundation in 2013, Emeritus Archbishop Hickey was absent due to illness, but sent his congratulations to the winners.

Centre for Faith Enrichment Director, Dr Marco Ceccarelli, opened the event by citing Pope Francis’ words, particularly his comments on the evangelising dimension of Scripture: “the Word of God unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit, a power that draws people to God, like those young fishermen who were struck by Jesus’ words. The word draws us to God and sends us to others.”

The Pope’s went on to speak of various saints who felt compelled to action through their encounter with Scripture.

Centre for Faith Enrichment’s Director and Lecturer in the School of Philosophy and Theology at UNDA, Dr Marco Ceccarelli, addresses scholarship recipients and their guests.

“We think of the first monk, Saint Anthony, who, struck by a passage of the Gospel while at Mass, left everything for the Lord…We think of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who discovered her vocation by reading the letters of Saint Paul. And we think too of the saint whose name I bear, Francis of Assisi, who, after praying, read in the Gospel that Jesus sent his disciples to preach and exclaimed: “That is what I want; that is what I ask, that is what I desire to do with all my heart!”

Addressing the scholarship recipients and their guests, Fr Vincent linked Archbishop Hickey’s decision to open a Scholarship in 2013 to his great love for the Scriptures enkindled through a sabbatical year spent in the Holy Land.

The fruit of that experience, Fr Vincent highlighted, was both Archbishop Hickey’s book, Living Biblically, and the setting up this scholarship. “Archbishop Hickey wants people, especially those who do not have the means to do so, to travel and go deep into their study of Scripture,” he said.

Recalling his own studies of Scripture and Biblical languages when he was training to become a priest, Fr Vincent pointed out that rather than approaching the Bible only intellectually it is important to understand it with one’s heart.

He emphasised that liturgically, when the Word of God is being proclaimed, it is Christ himself who acts, God’s presence with us. Through Jesus, the eternal Word, we are invited to get to know God who is our father.

Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation, Fr Vincent Glynn, addresses the scholarship recipients and their guests. Photo: Ron Tan/Archdiocese of Perth.

The recipients, seven of whom were in the middle of CFE’s Pathway Program, were then called to come forward and receive their certificates from Fr Vincent. The pathway program is a collaboration between the Centre for Faith Enrichment and The University of Notre Dame Australia aimed at allowing students to obtain formal recognition of theological studies.

Before the close of the event, scholarship recipient Marcus Gangemi, offered a powerful testimony about his Scripture studies.

“I have faith that studying Scripture will penetrate more beneath the surface of my being, as it has done already.

“I ask God to make me receptacle to his Word, that I may be His friend, hoping to become humble enough so to listen to what He communicates through the Scriptures,” he said.

Gangemi concluded with a poignant message: “As Catholics we are also called to evangelise… but how are we to evangelise if we do not know the message? And once learnt, let us not forget the message… It is well known how the study regime characteristic of a university degree is very effective in learning and retaining whole fields of information. So, to this I ask why not study Scripture and ultimately theology?”

Marcus Gangemi offers a testimony. Photo: Ron Tan/Archdiocese of Perth.

Those present at the 2024 scholarship and their destinations are as follows:

  1. Receiving a Scholarship to study Introduction to Old Testament, and the Introduction to New Testament at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle: Anna Sheehy
  • Receiving a Scholarship to study
    • Interpreting biblical passages
    • Analysing and applying spiritual lessons from the Apostolic Era

from Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation in Perth: Dino Chiaberta

  • Receiving a Scholarship to study The Writings of Saint Paul at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle: Marcus Gangemi
  • Receiving a Scholarship to study Biblical Leadership, The Gospel of Matthew
Centre for Faith Enrichment’s Pathway, Sandra Wibawanta, receives a scholarship to study Introduction to the New Testament at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle Photo: Ron Tan/Archdiocese of Perth.

and Acts of the Apostles at The Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation in Perth: Leticia Blair

  • Receiving a Scholarship to study Introduction to the New Testament at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle: Sandra Wibawanta
  • Receiving a Scholarship to study Salvation History and Acts of the Apostles at The Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation in Perth: Peter Ratajczak.
  • Michelle Morey
  • Receiving a Scholarship to study Introduction to The Old Testament at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle: Tony Jensch.
  • Receiving a Scholarship to study The Writings of Saint Paul at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle: Patrick Barry
Centre for Faith Enrichment’s Pathway Student Michelle Morey is one of the scholarship recipients. Photo: Ron Tan/Archdiocese of Perth.

[Absentees]

Receiving a Scholarship to study a Masters in Sacred Theology at the Katholische Hochschule International Theological Institute: Esther Sumich

Receiving a Scholarship to study

  • Salvation History
  • Acts of the Apostles
Leticia Blair receives a scholarship to study Biblical Leadership, The Gospel of Matthew and Acts of the Apostles at the Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation. Photo: Ron Tan/Archdiocese of Perth.

at The Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation in Perth: Michael Osman and Zachary Ting

Receiving a Scholarship to study the Pentateuch at the Centre for Faith Enrichment: Shane Martin

Receiving a Scholarship to study Interpreting The Old Testament and Interpreting the New Testament at The Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, America: Emma McGinnis

Receiving a Scholarship to study Introduction to The Old Testament at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle: Francine Goonting and Maria Wood

For more information about the Pathway Program please visit https://cfe.org.au/pathway-program/.