By Matthew Lau
The 2018 recipients of the BJ Hickey Biblical Foundation Scholarship have last week explained that they will all use their scholarship to explore questions of life, faith and meaning.
The scholarships are awarded to lay people, residing in the Archdiocese of Perth, who wish to further their biblical studies of any length at any level, locally or overseas.
The applicants were required to outline the extent to which their studies focus on the Bible and how they would use their new knowledge to contribute to the Archdiocese of Perth.
During the award announcement, held on 16 February and hosted by the Centre of Faith Enrichment at St Mary’s Cathedral, Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey took the opportunity to pass on words of encouragement to the recipients.
“I am very pleased that this year we have been able to give more than in past years, because some of the courses are here in Australia and didn’t cost us much because of travel costs,” he said.
“Lay people generally have benefited from this formation. They go into parishes, they run little groups, and they inspire others to follow.
Among the recipients are Jacinta Burns, Belinda Norris, and Vincent Restifo who received $5000 to undertake a two-week Bible study course in Israel.
Receiving $1700 to undertake a Certificate IV in Catholic Ministry at Perth’s Acts 2 Bible College of Mission and Evangelisation are Anthony Osman, Joseph Harris, Katana Puntigam, Mark de Silva, Elysha Dalzell, and Sunand Fernandez.
Patrick O’Connell is the solo recipient of a $130 grant to undertake an online course in Scripture.
Last year, two Perth parishioners, Dr Lawrence Pang and Dr Marissa Wettansinghe, used their scholarships to further their knowledge of Scripture and give back to the community what they received from their experiences.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB added his words of congratulation to the scholarship recipients.
“The Catholic tradition understands that the scriptures belong in the heart of the Church. The Church existed before the scriptures existed,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“I think it’s really important for us to remember that the scriptures give expression to the faith of our Church, and therefore will always be properly read and understood within the context of the believing community that we call the Church.”
The scholarship winners deepening their knowledge of Scripture would strengthen their understanding of and relationship with Jesus Christ, he said.