Rome (Italy). On 27 April 2023, the students of the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences «Auxilium» lived a time of dialogue with the Bishop of Civitavecchia-Tarquinia and Porto-Santa Rufina, Fr. Gianrico Ruzza, in the sign of listening to what local university students have to say about their experience of the Church.

Fr. Gianrico Ruzza wanted it exactly like this, a meeting with male and female students of the Faculty, on the basis of two questions. “Do you feel the Catholic Church close? What relationship do you have with the Christian community?” and with the greatest freedom of discussion, since, “I’d be happy that you too would ask me some questions this morning. Be free, unconditioned, straightforward. Don’t hesitate to present any question. What is close to your heart is the most important thing we can hope to receive.”

And so, on the morning of 27 April, about a hundred students found themselves experiencing a time of fraternal discussion, introduced by the Dean, Sr. Piera Ruffinatto, and coordinated by the Delegate and Secretary of the Student College. A reciprocal listening to “worlds” to give substance to the “walking together” to which the forthcoming Synod of Bishops is urging.

Experiences that, starting from the different geographical and cultural origins of the female students, tell of a close Church, but sometimes ‘plastered’ in its forms; an open and welcoming Church, but not always inclusive; a Church that listens, but sometimes is closed and comfortable, unwilling to “remain” within the youth horizon, which is experiencing a “change of epoch”.

The young people asked questions which, starting from their experience, question the essence of the Christian faith, the decision to commit oneself to others, the choice to encounter Jesus in study and work environments. They ask for spaces to be protagonists and give a voice, to welcome the “everything” and “everyone” of the human condition, to defend peace, the least, those who are on the margins, and denounce violence and abuses.

It was an open, free, sincere dialogue without hesitation. What is closest to the heart of the Bishop and of the adults, of the Teachers, of the Institutions present in the person of Marco Della Porta, President of Municipio XIV, is to welcome the gift of thought and word of those who, in a Pontifical and Salesian Faculty, prepare themselves in the field of education and formation sciences.

The Bishop, in the atmosphere of friendship and collaboration that exists between the Diocese and the «Auxilium» Faculty, underlines that “the University directed by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, a precious place of knowledge for the whole diocesan community, accompanies to design a fraternal society through the culture of inclusive and competent education. Yours is the responsibility to transmit knowledge and ethics for a future of harmony, social justice, and care of creation and of every creature.”

A reflection on the life of the Church necessitates that, in “knowing how to remain” as Don Bosco teaches, reveals the figure of being Church and Christians today, “to travel the paths of encounter with people and weave relationships of friendship with everyone”.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.