On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, Friar Jair del Cristo CONTRERAS LÁZARO, a member of the Provincial Custody of St. Francis of Assisi in Colombia, defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Del Dios Recordado al Dios Que Recuerda: La Memoria en la Dynámica de la Alianza” (From the God Remembered to the God Who Remembers: Memory in the Dynamics of the Covenant). The event took place at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome.
Those attending included the Minister General, Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI, and Friar Juan Antonio ADÁNEZ SILVÁN, the Minister Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of Montserrat in Spain, the Mother Province of the Custody of Colombia. Also present were other confreres from the Province and the Custody, from the Friary of St. Anthony at the Baths (Vigna), from some of the other General Houses in Rome and a group of faithful from the Neocatechumenal Way, for whom our confrere provides pastoral service.
The academic event got underway at 3:30 p.m. in the John Paul II Auditorium of the University. The Examining Committee was composed of Friar Francesco COCCO, Director of the Dissertation, Friar Tedros ABRAHA, OFM Cap., and Barnabite Father Giovanni RIZZI. Friar Jair’s dissertation is intended to contribute to research on memory in Biblical Israel. It shows how people in the Bible articulated, in their identity structure, their understanding of themselves as a people of memory. In the light of the five texts of the Pentateuch, the candidate showed how, at certain moments in its existence, Israel emphasized a particular element which it claimed guaranteed its existence as a people and ensured its relational dynamic with its God, namely, its understanding of YHWH as the One who remembers, and in view of this, acts to benefit His people, even after they have transgressed the Covenant.
After the presentation of the dissertation, the members of the Examining Committee gave their respective assessment of the thesis and posed a series of questions to the candidate. The candidate’s dissertation was evaluated with a largely positive rating. At the end of the academic event, the candidate was proclaimed a Doctor of Theology with a specialization in Sacred Scripture and awarded the distinction summa cum laude.
We congratulate our confrere on this new step in his formation process, and we also congratulate the Custody of Colombia and the Province of Spain. We hope that the fruits of Friar Jair’s studies will translate into generous service to his Custody, the Order, and the Church.
Friar Juan Antonio ADÁNEZ SILVÁN