By Julia St. Clair, Province Communications Director
The SUE Province recently welcomed back Fr. Eric Wyckoff, who teaches Scripture at the Salesian Pontifical University’s Jerusalem campus. He stayed in the U.S. through the last half of the summer and left after Labor Day.
"It’s a real blessing to reconnect with confreres, all members of the Salesian Family, our houses and works, and my own personal friends and family," Fr. Eric remarked.
Fr. Eric was first assigned overseas in July 1999 to work in Tlaquepaque, Mexico, where he taught at the Instituto Teológico Salesiano. In January 2012, he went to teach in Jerusalem, initially just for one semester as a guest professor. Since then, Fr. Eric has served for ten years on the faculty and the formation team.
"It’s good to get in touch with how different the U.S. is from when I left," he reflected. "Back then, Bill Clinton was in the White House and the number one song on the radio was by TLC. Culture and society in the U.S. are different. It’s good for me to update myself to the way things are here as often as possible."
At the start of his visit, Fr. Eric attended and gave presentations at the Annual Conference of the Catholic Biblical Association from Sunday, July 31, through Wednesday, August 3, at Santa Clara University in CA. During his time there, Fr. Eric was one of two attendees who gave multiple presentations. The other, Fr. Francis J. Moloney, a fellow SDB, is a well-known New Testament scholar and a former provincial in Australia.
Fr. Eric loves teaching in Jerusalem and is truly grateful for all the experiences and blessings he has had there so far. "I love teaching the young guys in formation and our international student body from over 35 nations," he shared.
In addition to the blessing of living in the Holy Land, Fr. Eric feels truly blessed to see a microcosm of the Salesian world. "There are so many things that could separate us as humans, such as language, nationality, ethnicity, etc.," he explained. "Thanks be to God, what joins us together is much more profound and intimate than any of those things—our Salesian vocation."
This year, Fr. Eric will also celebrate his 40th jubilee of profession. He advises the men in formation that "whatever they do along the way to build up their relationship with the Lord in prayer and their relationship with their confreres whom, God willing, they will work with for many future decades, will pay off to many blessings in the future because that is what [his] experience has been. You reap what you sow."