Rome (Italy). On 26 November, 2020, the 2020/2021 academic year of the Pontifical Faculty of Education Science “Auxilium” in Rome was officially inaugurated. The event, broadcast in live  streaming from the Aula Magna of the Faculty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was attended by the Grand Chancellor of the Faculty, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime; the Vice Grand Chancellor,  Mother General of the FMA Institute, Mother Yvonne Reungoat; Msgr. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; and the Vicar General, Sister Chiara Cazzuola.

The opening by the Dean, Professor Piera Silvia Ruffinatto, after her greetings to those present and to those who were connected in live streaming on the YouTube Channel of the Faculty, presents the report for the academic year 2019/2020 and the prospects for the current year, marked by the impact of the pandemic on the organization and planning of academic life.

Sr. Piera recalls the event of the 50th Anniversary of the canonical erection of the Faculty,  celebrated on 27 June 2020, with the guidelines of commitment contained in the message sent by Pope Francis: “I hope that the Faculty, taking advantage of the experience of these fifty years of fruitful activity, will reaffirm the need for a truly humanistic university culture.” Pope Francis encourages the Faculty to study  profoundly the Christian and pedagogical humanism of St. John Bosco, who at the basis of the Preventive System places the full recognition of the other, in an encounter that reaches deep into the heart.

After reviewing significant cultural events and initiatives carried out during the academic year 2019/2020, the Dean renews the commitment to welcome the formative mission of generating new horizons through education, the engine for the transformation of society, inviting the academic community to “build fraternity and walk in hope” (cf. F.T.).

Significant is the opening talk by Msgr. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Holy See, entitled “Reinventing education today. The contribution of the University”.

Msgr. Zani outlines the scenario of the last fifty years to provide the framework for the guidelines and contents adopted by international educational bodies, in dialogue with the Magisterium of the Church and ecclesiastical institutions, including the “Auxilium“.

Starting from three perspectives outlined by the speaker to build a new civilization – ordering thought, opening up to the Absolute, and developing fraternity – paths for in-depth study are opened that stimulate the pedagogical sciences for a renewed educational project, capable of promoting journeys that help young people face current challenges: “Education can open to hope if it is capable of generating and showing new horizons, building new paradigms to respond to the challenges and emergencies of the contemporary world.”

From the invitation of Pope Francis to commit to a “Global Educational Pact” for the benefit of the younger generations, as a fundamental way to build a more fraternal and supportive world, Msgr. Zani draws and gives three guidelines for study:

“I believe that the three points drawn from the teaching of Pope Francis, merged into the Global Educational Pact – starting from the person, rethinking thought, developing solidarity – can also constitute as many guidelines for an ecclesiastical academic institution such as Auxilium which, in celebrating fifty years, reinterprets its history and renews it to project itself into the future.”

Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians and Grand Chancellor of the Faculty, in his greeting highlights the word “hope” as an “inner strength that comes from a sense of the transcendent and suggests that, even in difficulties, there is always a journey to take” and encourages the Faculty to continue the formation service of formators with creativity and openness.

The Grand Chancellor has the official act of proclaiming Ha Fong Maria Ko, FMA professor emeritus, professor of Sacred Scripture, consultant of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of Christian unity. After this, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime officially declares the 51st academic year open.

To conclude the event, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Vice Grand Chancellor, spoke and expressed her deep gratitude to Sister Maria Ko for her service in the education of formators. In her final greeting, she underlines the fundamental priority of education, because “there is no transformation in the world that does not pass through education.” The Global Educational Pact commits the Faculty on two fronts: collaboration in its construction and its implementation in the daily routine of academic life, on a journey for young people and with young people, reaching their heart in what they are today, to transform society .


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