It was with great enthusiasm that the Centre for Faith Enrichment (CFE) recently announced the opening of applications for scholarships from the BJ Hickey Biblical Foundation.
Offered to lay people, residing in the Archdiocese of Perth, the scholarships are intended to help those wanting to further their biblical studies of any length at any level, locally or overseas (such as Jerusalem or Rome).
Applicants need not be academics or have an academic background – they do need to have a passion to know and further their understanding of the Scriptures and to help others with that knowledge.
CFE Director Dr Marco Ceccarelli said that the scholarship will soon enter its sixth year and it can only be described as a gift that keeps on giving.
“We have seen people undertake trips to Europe, Israel and The United States of America to participate in educationally enlightening and spiritually enriching courses and events linked to scripture. Not one recipient has come back saying that they didn’t find the experience extremely fulfilling and informative.”
Commenting on the types of studies which people undertake using the scholarship, Dr Ceccarelli said that these depend on an applicant’s circumstance and whether they can travel away from home.
“Some choose to request funds to take face-to-face courses locally, interstate or at international level. Others, who may perhaps not be able to travel, may take advantage of eLearning and use the funds to take an online course.
“Broken Bay Institute (BBI) – The Australian Institute of Theological Education, for instance, runs a number of captivating online and face-to-face courses based on the Bible. We certainly encourage anyone interested in seriously deepening their understanding of Scripture to apply.”
This 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.
A lecturer in Old Testament at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle, Dr Pang attended a month-long program at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem. Much of what he received is being passed on to his students.
Dr Wettasinghe, whose career has been in education, is currently undertaking six months of intensive online study through BBI in order to help strengthen a mother’s prayer group she has started. She will also be travelling interstate for a conference.
For those thinking of applying for the 2018 Scholarship, the Centre for Faith Enrichment’s ‘Biblical Foundation Page’ offers both the scholarship application details and the scholarship application form.