Pope’s apostolic letter Scripturae Sacrae Affectus a mission for 2021 BJ Hickey Scholars

04 Mar 2021

By Amanda Murthy

Ten biblical enthusiasts were selected and presented with this year’s BJ Hickey Biblical Foundation scholarship award at a ceremony held on Friday, 26 February, at Saint Mary’s Cathedral function room.

Organised by the Archdiocesan Centre for Faith Enrichment (CFE), the event theme Scripturae Sacrae Affectus (translated as Devotion to Sacred Scripture) inspired by Pope Francis’ apostolic letter commemorating the sixteen hundredth anniversary of the death of Saint Jerome – served as a great reminder to scholars of their mission, as they embark on a journey to deepen their scriptural knowledge.

Perth Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey, founder of the BJ Hickey Scholarship in his namesake, congratulated each scholar and offered them words of encouragement at the presentation ceremony held on Friday, 26 February at Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.

Founder of the scholarship Perth Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey was present at the event to personally congratulate recipients. Other attendees included Archdiocese of Perth Episcopal Vicar for Adult Faith and Education Father Vincent Glynn, Biblical Foundation Committee represented by Director of Centre for Life, Marriage and Family Derek Boylen and Michele Purcell, a longstanding contributor to Catholic Education in Western Australia, CFE Director Dr Marco Ceccarelli and CFE Office Manager Tracy Stevens.

In his speech, Dr Ceccarelli recounted St Jerome’s life (reflected in Scripturae Sacrae Affectus), who “made his heart a library of Christ.”

Echoing Pope Francis’ call to “love what St Jerome loved,” Dr Cecarelli explained that the Saint served as a fine example as someone devoted to Scripture as he always viewed his library as an indispensable workshop for understanding the faith and the spiritual life.

The B.J. Hickey Biblical Foundation are offered to lay people residing in the Archdiocese of Perth. They are for biblical studies of any length at any level, locally or overseas (such as Jerusalem or Rome) and are available to those with a desire to develop their knowledge and use of the Scriptures to form a firm biblical foundation for their everyday lives. Photo: Ron Tan.

“I often think of the experience a young person can have today entering a bookshop in his or her city or visiting an Internet site to look for the section on religious books. In most cases, when it exists, this section is not only marginal but poorly stocked with works of substance. Looking at those bookshelves or webpages, it is difficult for a young person to understand how the quest for religious truth can be a passionate adventure that unites heart and mind, how the thirst for God has inflamed great minds throughout the centuries up to the present time; how growth in the spiritual life has influenced theologians and philosophers, artists and poets, historians and scientists,” Dr Cecarelli cited.

“One of the problems we face today, not only in religion, is illiteracy: the hermeneutic skills that make us credible interpreters and translators of our own cultural tradition are in short supply. I would like to pose a challenge to young people in particular – begin exploring your heritage. Christianity makes you heirs of an unsurpassed cultural patrimony of which you must take ownership.

“Be passionate about this history which is yours. Dare to fix your gaze on the young Jerome who, like the merchant in Jesus’ parable, sold all that he had to buy the “pearl of great price” (Mt 13:46),” he added.

Recipients then heard testimonials from two past winners, Dr Lawrence Pang and Belinda Norris, who shared how the BJ Hickey Scholarship impacted their faith journey and future.

Elijah Reed receives his BJ Hickey Biblical Foundation Scholarship at the presentation ceremony held on Friday, 26 February, at Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan.

The list of the 2021 BJ Hickey scholars and their entitlements are:

Adeline Bock

Receiving a scholarship to cover the fees for a unit entitled Biblical Studies: Themes and Interpretations of the Bible at the Broken Bay Institute – The Australian Institute of Theological Education.


Michaela Firth

Receiving a scholarship to help cover the fees for two Scripture units entitled Salvation History and Acts of the Apostles at the Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation in Perth.


Judy Castellino

Receiving a scholarship to cover the fees for a course entitled Story and Theology in the Gospels at the Broken Bay Institute – The Australian Institute of Theological Education.


Isaiah Boylen

Receiving a scholarship to undertake a Certificate IV in the liberal arts focusing on Pauline Theology and Biblical Timeline at the Augustine academy in Goobarragandra, NSW.


Elijah Reed

Receiving a scholarship to help cover the fees for two Scripture units entitled Salvation History and Acts of the Apostles at the Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation in Perth.


Indigo Hurleigh-Craig

Receiving a scholarship help cover the fees for a course on the Pentatuch and the Synoptic Gospels at the University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA), in Fremantle.


Stefan Fernando

Receiving a scholarship to help cover the fees for two Scripture units entitled Salvation History and Acts of the Apostles at the Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation in Perth.


Trinity Reed

Receiving a scholarship to help cover the fees for two Scripture units entitled Salvation History and Acts of the Apostles at the Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation in Perth.


Monica Hunter

Receiving a scholarship to help cover the fees for an online course entitled Beginning Apologetics by Catholic Answers.


John Ratajczak

Receiving a scholarship to help cover the fees for two Scripture units entitled Salvation History and Acts of the Apostles at the Acts 2 College of Mission and Evangelisation in Perth.