The defence room of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) was filled with approximately 50 people on Monday, 17 February 2020. The invitees, mostly confreres, priests and nuns who work or study in Rome came to witness the Doctoral Defence of Fr. James Kizhakkeyil. The event started at 5 pm with the panel of professors of the University and the president of the defence welcomed everyone to the event. Special welcome was given to Antonio Cirulli, Provincial Superior of the Roman Province, Rogerio Gomez, Consultor General from Latin America, and Gianni Congiu, ex-Provincial of Rome.
The presentation of the thesis began with a prayer led by Fr. James himself. He was allotted 20 minutes to present the thesis before the audience during which he introduced the topic and presented the summary and findings of his research. It was then the turn of the moderator of his thesis, Prof. Massimo de Santis to speak and he underlined some key features of the thesis. The censor of the thesis, Prof. Sr. Jacintha Veigas then spoke and she pointed out positive elements of the thesis as well as a few drawbacks and areas for improvement. The professors interrogated the student for about 20 minutes. Since the questions were both in English and Italian, he could use his language skill in answering them.
Fr. James successfully presented and defended his doctoral thesis “The Ethical Emphases of the Miletus Speech of Paul: A Theological Study of Acts 20: 32–35” at the Angelicum. It was the day of culmination of his 3 years of continuous research and hard work. The topic itself reveals that he tried to read Acts 20:32–35 through the lens of moral theology. Taking into account his work, presentation and answers, a Doctorate in Theology was conferred on him. It was a great moment of joy and pride.
Once the process was over, there was a fellowship gathering in one of the halls of the University. Fr. Provincial and Fr. Rector of the community felicitated him and all others gathered, congratulated him for this great achievement. Coffee and some special Indo-Italian snacks were served to the guests. Later the same evening some confreres from various communities of Rome and close friends of Fr. James gathered together for the dinner in our community to celebrate his success. Congratulations Fr. James for completing successfully your doctoral studies within a short span of 3 years and achieving a Doctorate in Biblical Theology. Wish you every success in your future life!
Fr. Sijo Velledathu C.Ss.R.