Pope Francis’ words to the university institute: “I leave you with three key ideas: wisdom, the pact you make together and going out to others. I ask you to continue your journey with joy, vision and decision.”
“I am happy with the road you have covered in twelve years since your life began. Push on! The journey has just begun!” These were Pope Francis’ opening words when he greeted the academic community of the Sophia University Institute today in a private audience. “In the path that lies before you, there is no shortage of reference points: there is the charism of unity from which your University was born and there are also the points that I outlined in the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium which your academic and formative project wants to reflect. Your participation in the preparation and development of the Global Educational Pact is evidence of this.”
The audience, which took place on 14 November in the Consistory Hall was attended by Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Metropolitan Archbishop of Florence and Grand Chancellor of the Institute, Dr. Emmaus Maria Voce, Vice Chancellor of the Institute and President of the Focolare Movement, the entire academic community of the Sophia University Institute, a representative of the working group on “Trinitarian Anthropology” of CELAM and the teachers of the future local headquarters of “Sophia” in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“I leave you with three key ideas: wisdom, the pact you make together and going out to others. I ask you to continue your journey with joy, vision and decision.”
Wisdom, explained the Holy Father, enlightens “all men and women”, with whom “we are called to walk together”. He continued by saying that the pact is the “keystone of creation and history – the pact between God and humankind, the pact between generations, the pact between peoples and cultures, the pact – in school – between teachers and learners and also parents, the pact between man, animals, plants and even the inanimate realities that make our common home beautiful and colourful.” Pope Francis urged the academic community of Sophia to live this pact to “open the paths of the future to a new civilization that embraces humanity and the cosmos in universal brotherhood.”
Finally, he said that it is important to “go out.” “We must learn with our hearts, minds and hands to ‘leave the camp’ – as the Letter to the Hebrews says (13:13) – to meet the face of God in the face of every brother and every sister.
At the end of the audience, Piero Coda, Dean of the Institute, commented: “We are grateful to Pope Francis who was appreciative of the fact that our students come from five continents and also from different religious traditions, and our commitment not to look from the balcony, so to speak, but to put our “hands in the dough” and walk as protagonists on new roads of brotherhood.
The audience with Pope Francis comes only a few days after the inauguration ceremony for the academic year 2019-20 which took place on 11 November 2019. This included the conferral of the doctorate honoris causa in the Culture of Unity to the philosopher and theologian Professor Juan Carlos Scannone S.J., exponent of the “theology of the people” and professor to the young seminarian Jorge Mario Bergoglio.