Rome (Italy). On 11 November 2022 in Rome, in the John Paul II Aula Magna, the Academic Year 2022/2023 of the Pontifical Faculty of Education “Auxilium” was officially inaugurated, the 68th in the history of the Faculty.

The event was attended by the Grand Chancellor of the Faculty, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians; the General Councilor for the Salesian Family, Sr. Leslie Sándigo; the Superior of the Preprovince Mary Mother of the Church, Sr. María del Carmen Canales; civil and religious authorities, including the Ambassador of Italy to the Holy See, Mr. Francesco Di Nitto; the Ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the Holy See, Mrs. Teresa Susana Subieta Serrano; various FMA , the Faculty,  Teachers, and  Students of the Faculty; the Directors of the Higher Institutes of Education affiliated to the Faculty, “Giuseppe Toniolo” of Modena and “Fr. Vincenzo Sorce” of Caltanissetta; collaborators and benefactors.

The academic inauguration act opened with the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, who in his homily highlighted the role of the Holy Spirit in divine pedagogy, in the life of every man and woman. and in every beginning. When the Spirit is invoked, one asks “fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle the fire of your love in them” for this, he stressed, “lighting fires rather than filling containers is the purpose of education in the perspective of the Christian faith” and this means “to restore to human beings that ardent nature to whom it rightfully belongs by virtue of adoption as children in humanity”.

Cardinal Ouellet then wished students and teachers to “be men and women in whom the Spirit has found a home: beings who burn with their prophecy, warm those around them, illuminate the gloom of darkness”, in Salesian awareness that “There is a point accessible to good in everyone”, as Don Bosco liked to recall.

Walking together and remembering is the title of the Report on the Academic Year 2021-2022 by the Dean, Sr. Piera Ruffinatto, FMA, who first of all expressed her gratitude to the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Ángel Fernández Ártime, and to all his predecessors, for having accompanied the mission of the Faculty over the years, and to Pope Francis for his esteem and trust in the FMA Institute for decreeing, on 2 November, 2022, that the Superior General of the FMA Institute be Gran Cancellor of the Pontifical Faculty of the Science of Education “Auxilium”.

After reviewing the cultural initiatives and significant events experienced in the academic year that ended, including the International Conference, “Contribution of the FMA to education (1872-2022). Paths Challenges Perspectives” in the 150th anniversary of the FMA Institute, he concluded by saying, “Walking together, therefore, is a life program that we make our own. And as we walk, we want to thank because it is given to us to live with intensity of commitment and responsibility this moment in the history of humanity and of the Church so full of ferments and opportunities, in which the saving and provident presence of God and the maternal help of Mary are visible”.

A musical interlude, performed by the violinist Cecilia Merli, and the pianist Michelangelo Carbonara, then prepared the environment and the heart for listening to the Academic Prolusion entrusted to Prof. Enrico Giovannini, Professor of Economic Statistics and Sustainable Development at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, co-founder of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS), a network of over 340 civil society entities created to implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda in Italy.

Prof. Giovannini spoke of an open future, based on how the world is seen and how the possibilities for the future are evaluated, in which education plays a fundamental role and where, in order to implement change, the following are indispensable: “Technological innovation; to ensure the production of goods and services for all in a manner compatible with planetary limits and environmental conservation; effective governance, capable of orienting the decisions of businesses, governments, and companies towards sustainability; a profound change of mentality, which modifies priorities and places equity and sustainability at the center of individual and social behavior”.

In conclusion, after offering some considerations on future prospects based on his extensive experience as an economist, statesman, and academic, he left educators with the mandate: “The future depends on us. You who educate therefore have an extraordinary possibility of orienting the vision of the world, individual choices, the possibilities of the future in a direction that, we hope, will achieve the sustainable development we talk about so much”.

“A new opportunity for good for all, for those who learn and for those who teach”, is the one we face by inaugurating a new Academic Year, defined by Mother Chiara in her greeting as “a blank page on which to write, with responsibility and care, an unpublished text, but with choral writing”.

“As at every beginning, there is a need for support from everyone, for courage and synodality to walk together, tending to a common goal and valuing in synergy, all the resources of people and institutions,” she later affirmed, thanking the Dean and the entire Academic Community “for their serious, serene work and for their unconditional donation to the mission”, reiterating the importance, in the face of the current crisis scenario, of responding to the call “to educate to responsibility and reject any form of indifference and disengagement”.

As Grand Chancellor of the Faculty, Mother Chiara Cazzuola therefore officially declared the opened the Academic Year 2022/2023.

Photos: Flickr FMA