The former President Thabo Mbeki, in his famous speech ‘I am an African’ reminded the country that glory is something that needs to be pursued. He phrased this in the popular Latin quotation, “Gloria est conscequenda” which means glory must be sought after. On 19th October 2016, St. John Vianney Seminary celebrated one event which well captured this phrase that glory must be sought after: GRADUATIONS. For three years, our philosophy students have been in sought of this glory of graduating. Our theologians on the other hand have been pursuing this glory for four years. Joy was what was written on their faces on that day. Glory was finally obtained.
St. Iraeneous once said “The glory of God is in man fully alive”. I honestly believe that our graduates on that day felt fully alive. In so feeling fully alive, they gave glory to God. They fulfilled one of the essential elements of the vocation of a human being, a vocation of being called to make manifest the glory of God. And therefore congratulations to you my brothers. You have reached the top of the hill.
But when one has reached such a position, Mandela’s words begin to dawn on that person. He once said, “After climbing a hill, you realise that there are other great hills to climb”. For those who were graduating in philosophy, it has dawned on them that their other great hill to climb are their theological studies. For those who were graduating in Theology, their great hill was perfectly exhibited by the guest speaker Fr. Neil Frank OMI, that there is a growing concern that the Church is in more need of priests that can deal with practical issues of life that affect our people, especially in marriage. But for both philosophers and theologians, this is the mark of another journey, the longest journey which a human being can ever embark on, and this is the journey from the mind to the heart. All that they have acquired in these years, they now have to incorporate it into their lives to transform themselves and bring change into society.
The graduation ceremony hardly meant that the Seminary was immune to the current situation in education around South Africa. In fact, Bishop Dabula Mpako in his homily, manifested how privileged these graduates were because there are many students around the country who would have loved to see such a day this very year. And so the Church in Southern Africa, continues to pray for peaceful dialogue so that students can attain this glory one day.
By: Bhungane Radebe