Locandina, Convegno Pastorale Universitaria

Brescia (Italy). From 7 to 8 March 2019, at the Paul VI Pastoral Center in Brescia, Italy, the National Convention for University Pastoral Care was held organized by the National Office for Education, School and University of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI ).

“He walked with them and explained the Scriptures. After the Synod, on the road to Emmaus” is the theme of the conference which brought together 120 participants, including four Daughters of Mary Help of Christians: Sister Ivone Goulart of the Youth Ministry Sector, Sister Maristella Zanara, ACRU Secretary General and Ciofs President / colleges and university residences, Sister Ines Perra, Head of the Cagliari University College and university pastoral referent of the Diocese of Cagliari, and Sister Palma Lionetti, Head of the University College – Naples.

Convegno Pastorale Universitaria

The conference took place alternating the reports on the themes that emerged at the Synod on young people, the workshops on university pastoral issues and the round table on the theme Church and University, a cultural and educational alliance.

Father Salvatore Currò, theologian and collaborator of the Special Secretary of the Synod of Bishops on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment”, underlined how the Church is on the move and its renewal and its possibility of communicating with young people is strictly connected. “Synodality” has expanded in its meaning thanks to other words such as listening, welcoming, reciprocity, thus becoming “missionary synodality” characteristic of an empathic Church that knows how to walk with everyone.

For Prof. Domenico Simeone, Professor of General Pedagogy at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, the journey, the path on the road to Emmaus becomes a metaphor for the educational process, accompanying the university students to make a transition from recipients to interlocutors of the educational, generative, and relational: teachers and students work together to learn. And he concluded his presentation with the quote by Fr. Milani: «The students here study and think, but I also study and think with them. […] normally we come to the truth together. When there remains some divergence, the good we want helps us to solve it and to live together without tragedies. Because this good is made of mutual respect». (Letter to a friend, Christmas 1965).

The Eucharistic Celebration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, where the very young priest Giovanni Battista Montini celebrated his First Mass, and listening to Don Angelo Maffeis, President of the Paul VI Institute, were two intense moments of encounter in reference to the Church and University relationship.

University Pastoral is a field of action because it has those young people who are talked about so much and of whom little is known since they live far from home and from ecclesial environments for study purposes. University students who experience complete anonymity and bleak depersonalization in university environments need traveling companions who know how to move from structures to relationships with wisdom, gratuity, and human competence before professional competence.


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