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On Thursday 14th November 2019 at 11 a.m. two hundred professors, students and members of the staff of the Institute gathered in the Consistory Hall at the Vatican. They knew that the moment that had been longed for and excitingly prepared over the previous weeks had finally come. «I am happy with the journey you have made in these twelve years of life. Keep going! The journey has just begun». This is what Pope Francis said after the warm welcome of the academic community. «In the path that lies before you there is no lack of points of reference: in particular, the inspiration of the charisma of unity from which your University was born and, at the same time, the outlines I gave in the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium, which your academic and formative project aims to reflect. Your participation in the preparation and development of the Global Educational Pact also heads in this direction».

The audience took place in the Consistory Hall. The Metropolitan Archbishop of Florence and Grand Chancellor of the Institute Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, the Vice Grand Chancellor of the Institute and President of the Focolare Movement Emmaus Maria Voce, the whole academic community of the Sophia University Institute, some representatives of the working group on “Trinitarian anthropology” at the CELAM and the professors of the future local seat of “Sophia” in Latin America and the Caribbean participated in the audience.

Pope Francis told them: «I will leave you three words, urging you to continue your journey with joy, vision, and determination: wisdom, covenant, and outgoing».

As the Holy Father explained, Wisdom enlightens “all men” with whom “we are called to walk together”. The Covenant is the “keystone of creation and history”, “the covenant between God and men, the covenant between generations, the covenant between peoples and cultures, the covenant – in school – between teachers, learners and parents, the covenant between man, animals, plants and even the inanimate realities that make our common home beautiful and colorful.” Pope Francis encouraged the academic community of Sophia to live out this covenant to “open the paths of the future to a new civilization that embraces humanity and the cosmos in universal brotherhood.” Then, “outgoing”: «We must learn with the heart, mind, and hands to “come out of the camp” – as the Letter to the Hebrews says (13: 13) – to meet, right out there, the face of God in the face of every brother and sister».

At the end of the audience, the Dean of the Institute Piero Coda stated: «We are grateful to Pope Francis because he valued the participation of students coming from five different continents and belonging to different religions. He also appreciated our commitment to be involved and take action instead of merely looking as spectators to be protagonists in creating new pathways of brotherhood».

The audience with Pope Francis took place just a few days after the (Monday 11th November 2019). During this event, the philosopher and theologian professor Juan Carlos Scannone S.J. received a Doctorate honoris causa in Culture of Unity. He is the greatest exponent of the “theology of the people” and Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s teacher when the Holy Father was a young seminary student.

Press Office, Tamara Pastorelli – ufficiostampa@loppiano.it

 ADDRESS TO THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY OF THE SOPHIA UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE

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