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Dn. Lijo Vadakkan sets UPS-Rome 'ablaze'

By Chris Valentino
Deacon Lijo Vadakkan with his thesis-director and Salesian expert Prof. Morand Wirth.
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Abroad, Jun. 20. Deacon Lijo Vadakkan originally from the Salesian Province of Bangalore and missionary in Ethiopia-Eritrea set the Salesian Pontifical University - Rome 'ablaze' with his well-appreciated Licence Defense on June 19, 2012. The title of the thesis was ''The Spiritual Figure of Don Bosco as viewed by the 'Pope of Don Bosco' - A Research based on the Speeches and Writings of Pope Pius XI.''
Lijo says ''the paper evolved out of my participating in a seminar directed by Prof. Morand Wirth on the process of the beatification and canonisation of Don Bosco, where I noticed the vastness of the Pope's speeches on Don Bosco; his devotion, esteem and admiration for him.''

Identifying over 70 works of various categories by Pope Pius XI about Don Bosco, the thesis unravels his spiritual personality. It brings to light the life and personality of Pope Pius XI, his rapport with Don Bosco and his specific role in the history of the Salesian Congregation. The research study is an attempt to cull out the gradual and progressive emergence of the spiritual person of St. John Bosco from the written testimonies of the Supreme Pontiff.

The thesis proper comprises three chapters. Chapter one uses the historical method for the contextualization of Pope Pius XI (Cardinal Achille Ratti); the second chapter uses the analytico-descriptive method to present and analyse the writings of Pope Pius XI and the third chapter draws insights that emerges from the writings on the spiritual figure of Don Bosco.

Dn. Lijo was directed in this uphill task by the erudite and vastly experienced Prof. Morand Wirth (Salesian expert).  The examining panel included Prof. Cosimo Semeraro (greatly experienced as Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences) and Prof. Garcia Jesus Manuel (Director of the Institute of Spiritual Theology), apart from Prof. Wirth.

The 'heat' of the licence defense was eased with the scholarly exposition and the pleasant soothing 'italiano' of Dn. Lijo. In a packed 'more ladies-than-men' auditorium, with some members of the audience just able to manage standing space, the salient features of the thesis and the genial responses to the intense clarifications enriched not only Salesians but also others - religious and laity.

A round of cheers, spontaneous embraces, joyous applause and smiling faces highlighted the feeling of accomplished relief when Deacon Lijo was found worthy of obtaining the coveted 'licence.'  The Roman sun blazed away, but Lijo outshone the blazing star with his radiating brilliance. Having laboured through the difficult theme with a sense of purpose, Deacon Lijo now gears up for his great moment as a Salesian, a month from now.

BIS South Asia congratulates Dn. Lijo on his successful 'licence' and wishes him grace-upon-grace as he prepares for his Priestly Ordination to be solemnised on July 21, 2012 at 09:00 a.m at the St. Stanislaus Forane Church, Mala - Kerala, India.

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