Pope Inaugurates Academic Year at the University of the Sacred Heart in Milan

In a video message, Pope Francis delivered a speech for the inauguration of the academic year at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan

Newsroom (December 21, 2021, 10:25 AM, Gaudium Press) As a way to celebrate the beginning of the academic year of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Pope Francis directed a video message yesterday, December 19, for the occasion.

The Pontiff’s message was broadcast in the university’s Aula Magna and was preceded by the Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Archbishop of Milan, Monsignor Mario Delpini, in the basilica of Saint Ambrose.

100 years of foundation

The University is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of its foundation and the Pope’s speech recognized it as “a great cultural institution” that has rendered services to education.

“An important educational tradition is recognized, which has been made possible thanks to the commitment of hundreds of men and women and witnessed by the thousands of graduates.”

Francis stressed the identity of the University of the Sacred Heart which is: “clear and unchanging, but which does not reject, on the contrary, respects and welcomes the different sensibilities, with the awareness that it is from a frank and respectful confrontation with others that the human condition flourishes.”

Educating is lighting a fire and the hope for the future

Using a metaphor to explain what it is to educate, the Pope explained that to educate is to light a flame. The Catholic University spreads this fire through personal contact that shares knowledge.

Another word that marked the Pope’s speech, was “hope”. Hope is opposed to the culture of individualism “that diminishes the value of solidarity and favors the culture of contempt. Now, those who educate look to the future with hope, favoring students an integral formation.

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For this reason, Francis explained that “openness and acceptance towards others are particularly important, because they favor a bond of solidarity between generations and combat the deviations of individualism present in our culture.

A new way of thinking about solutions

The Pope then recalled the World Pact for Education and praised the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart for its international cooperation projects, which helps needy students every year and for the attention it devotes to them and to the sick.

Referring to today’s world, Francis said that it is necessary to devise a new way of thinking in order to obtain solutions to “the environment, the economy, the social, and demography.”

Francis encouraged students to keep hope, especially in this pandemic period, and not to be infected by the “virus of individualism.” He recommended that they not become entrenched traditionalists but “nourish themselves from the root in order to grow and move forward.”

Finally, Francis evoked the word “service.” During this century, the University has several times shown its faithful service to the Church and society, and the Pope wished this to be a hallmark of the entire academic community.  (FM)

Compiled by Zephania Gangl

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