Pope Francis sends video message to Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan and calls for “new models of thought” to overcome various modern crises.
By Devin Watkins
The Milan campus of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart began its 2021/22 academic year on Sunday, in the presence of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.
As the institution celebrates its 100e anniversary this year, Pope Francis joined staff and students via a video message.
The ceremony opened with a mass celebrated in the Basilica of Saint Ambrose in Milan by Archbishop Mario Delpini.
Flame of education
In his video message, the Pope sent his “warmest greetings” on the occasion of the return to university for the centenary of the institution founded by Fr. Agostino Gemelli.
He then reflected on how the institution can be characterized by the ideas of “fire, hope and service”.
Beginning with the image of fire, Pope Francis said that the University flame has been passed down from generation to generation by thousands of alumni, who have understood that “education is not about filling vessels. empty but to light flames ”.
The Pope said that a university brings people together “to one: one place, one time, one spirit.”
Hope expressed in relationships
The University of the Sacred Heart also reflects the virtue of “hope”, he said, because it offers an integral education based on solidarity.
“Education is above all a relationship,” said the Pope, “a relationship between teachers and pupils, then between pupils: a community of people open to reality and to others.
He said that the relationship between teachers and students is “in tension towards the present and the future”, and that together they are called “to think, plan and act towards a horizon of our common home of tomorrow, starting with the concrete reality of today. “
To hope, he says, is to bet on the future while overcoming the fears that hold us back.
University is a good place to develop “antibodies” against the virus of individualism, he added.
Shared service effort
The Pope then turned to the theme of service. The University of the Sacred Heart, he said, has often shown its loyalty to service in the Church and in society.
The work of its staff, teachers and researchers testifies to this spirit of service, as well as the daily efforts of its students to walk together “towards a shared horizon”.
Every component of the university, added the Pope, has an important role to play in this concert.
Divine wisdom to serve
Pope Francis concluded his video message urging all members of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart to maintain the distinctive spirit of service by remaining faithful to the gospel.
And the Pope expressed his hope that the University could breathe deeply in this spirit of service and look to the horizon with courage in its educational mission.