THE PONTIFF received a delegation from the university in a private audience at the Vatican. About the Jesuit from Macerata: “He was great because he was a man of meetings, he went beyond being a stranger; he became a citizen of the world because he was a citizen of the people ‘. And to the boys he said: “Try to update his example of intercultural dialogue”
Pope Francis received Unimc’s students, teachers and staff in a private audience. The meeting took place in the Clementine Room of the Apostolic Palace this morning. Then in the afternoon Mass in San Pietro with Bishop Marconi, Cardinal Gambetti. The Pope quoted Father Matteo Ricci, whom he defined as “a master of meeting culture”.
A special day for 130 students, teachers and administrative staff at the university of Macerata which takes place on the occasion of the 470th anniversary of the birth of the Jesuit from Macerata. The pope stressed that “a meeting culture must be developed. And the university is certainly a privileged place to do this. Macerata was the birthplace of a great “champion” of this culture, who is Father Matteo Ricci. He was great, not only for the things he did, as he wrote, but he is great because he was a man of meetings, a man of meeting culture, a man who went beyond being a stranger; he became a citizen of the world because he was a citizen of the people. I congratulate you for not only preserving his memory and promoting studies of him, but trying to update his example of intercultural dialogue.
How much need there is today, at all levels, to go this way with determination. How much are the powers of the world accustomed to the path of exclusion, to the culture of waste. Instead, dialogue is needed ”. A Ukrainian student gave the pope a personal Unimc water bottle. Among the gifts is also the reproduction of a photograph from 1945 of the Pope’s favorite football team, Club Atlético San Lorenzo, and Matteo Ricci’s cartographyedited by Filippo Migninipublished by Statens Polygrafiske Institut.
That Rector Francesco Adornato he recalled how the legacy of Father Matteo Ricci was the legacy of “interculturality, in a meeting between civilizations that had hitherto been mutually alien and distrustful..
It is from this humus that the welcoming culture of our university has grown, today a melting pot of languages, cultures, ethnic groups, faces, experiences of young students, PhD students and visiting professors from many places in Europe and the world , Ukraine and Russia, including, making it an international campus located in the historic center“.
The echoes of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine did not go unnoticed. “The university – were the words of Rector Adornato – faces today’s complexity of knowledge and dialogue and does not care about the war triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is this spirit of brotherhood that has brought us here, further encouraging us to be peacemakers. “
In the afternoon in San Pietro, Mass led by Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, Archbishop of the Papal Basilica of San Pietro in the Vatican and guardian of the Holy Monastery of Assisi, celebrated by the Bishop of Macerata Nazzareno Marconi and animated by the Unimc Choir. Gambetti recalled the collaboration with the University of Macerata “for the digitization of the Assisi archive and for the path of growth in the name of a humanism of brotherhood”.
The integrated message from Pope Francis:
Dear friends of the University of Macerata, welcome!
I greet you all warmly and thank the principal for his introduction. I was struck by the fact that, when he presented your Athenaeum, he spanned a very wide horizon: the friendship between West and East; the meeting of different cultures; war drama; the migration phenomenon – an interesting quote from Seneca! -; peace … But this is actually the university! The university is – or at least should be – the place where the mind opens up to the knowledge horizon, to the horizon of life, the world, history. Of course, based on a precise perspective, from the in-depth and methodological study of a disciplinary area, but always in openness, always for an integrated knowledge of the world and man.
And this horizon doubles, so to speak, if we believe that every person, therefore every student, who crosses the threshold of university and walks on it for a few years, each of them is in itself a universe. At the university, therefore, two universes meet: the world, knowledge and man; not of the generic man who does not exist, but precisely of the person, of the young man, of the young woman, with his history and his personality, his dreams and his intellectual, moral, spiritual qualities …, his limits. Every single person is a universe that only God fully knows, with unmatched respect.
This, I would say, is the university’s challenge: to bring together these two horizons, the world and the personal, so that they can enter into dialogue, and from this dialogue comes a growth in humanity. A growth first and foremost of the student himself, who is formed, matures in knowledge and freedom, in the ability to think and act, to participate critically and creatively in social and civil life, with his own cultural and professional competence. I am reminded of St. John Henry Newman’s reflections on the university, in which he writes that in the university environment, the young man forms a mental habit that lasts a lifetime, whose qualities are freedom, justice, calm, moderation and wisdom, adding: “I will refer to this as the specific fruit of the education that the university offers, compared to other places or ways of teaching, and this is the main purpose of a university in its student care. ”(The Idea of the University, 1873, V, 1) This idea of a university has nothing to do with what the Enlightenment left us, that fills our heads with things.It is the whole person who needs to be involved there, his feelings and the way of feeling, not just thinking and also the way of acting. a human harmony, not to think of the university as a factory of macrocephalics who then do not know what to do with their hands or with the heart.This human idea of the university is important.
This human growth of people can only have a positive effect on society. Therefore, investing in education, schools and universities is the best investment for a country’s future. We know we hear it often repeated, but consistent decisions are not always made.
I would like to emphasize another aspect, also touched on by the Rector: the meeting between different cultures. We know this is not automatic. It is not enough to bring together professors and students with different backgrounds. It is necessary to develop a meeting culture. And the university is certainly a privileged place to do this. Macerata was the birthplace of a great “champion” of this culture, who is Father Matteo Ricci. He was great, not only for the things he did, as he wrote, but he is great because he was a man of meetings, a man of meeting culture, a man who went beyond being a stranger; he became a world citizen because he was “the citizen of the people”. This is the meeting culture. And the university is certainly a privileged place to hold this meeting. Macerata was the birthplace of this great master: I congratulate you for not only protecting his memory and promoting studies of him, but trying to update his example of intercultural dialogue. How much need there is today, at all levels, to walk this path with determination, the path of dialogue! How are the forces of the world accustomed to the path of exclusion, to the culture of throwing! There is no need for dialogue, the path of dialogue. “But waste time with dialogue?”. Yes, waste time, because it bears fruit in a bigger and more beautiful way.
Dear friends, I thank you for your visit and I wish you all the best for the university. I heartily bless you and the entire academic community. And I beg you please pray for me.
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