Sunday, April 15, 2018

Celebrating the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart

The Cardinal Secretary of State of His Holiness, Pietro Parolin, has sent a letter - in the name of the Holy Father - to the President of the G. Toniolo Institute for Advanced Studies, His Excellency, Mario Delpini, Archbishop of Milan, on the occasion of the 94th National Day for the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, which is being celebrated today and focusing around the theme: Heirs and innovators:  the young heroes of history.

Letter sent by the His Eminence, Pietro Parolin
Cardinal Secretary of State of His Holiness
celebrating the 94th National Day of the
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart

From the Vatican
5 April 2018

Your Excellency,

This year is characterized by renewed attention on the part of the entire Church for young people, who will be the focus of the work undertaken by the upcoming Synod of Bishops.  In this context, the 94th National Day for the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, which will be celebrated on 15 April, is a precious occasion to confirm and to strengthen the active commitment of the ecclesial community to serving new generations and, in particular, to offering them a qualified human, cultural and professional formation that is inspired by Christianity.  To understand the problems that face the conditions of youth today, the Toniolo Institute has conducted a number of useful studies in collaboration with the university.  These surveys show that, despite persistent difficulties, new generations are not resigning themselves to a system of economics that delays their entry into the working world, not surrendering themselves to the precarious conditions that dissolve the expectations of a life fully lived in view of forming new families and actively participating in social affairs.  Nor are they renouncing their desires for good, for justice and peace for all peoples.

The theme of the day - Heirs and innovators: the young heroes of history, effectively describes the polarity around which we must develop our approach to accompanying young people who are often disoriented, in spite of the fact that they are constantly connected to and in relationship with others.  It is paradoxical that, while they are immersed in a vortex of communications and by means of social media, they can truly feel that they are citizens of the world, they sometimes experience profound dis-satisfaction and loneliness.  Even though they connect with everyone and with everything, they seem to lack the ability to place themselves, with full awareness, in the course of history and to trustingly look forward to the future.  If the task of orienting and forming characters has always been the University's mission, today, it seems even more necessary that academic and cultural institutions need to offer young people the instruments they need to live in history, treasuring the enormous wealth of conscience and wisdom they have inherited from the past.  It is only from this legacy that the future of humanity can be renewed in a truly innovative way, enhancing the progress of science and technology within an integrated vision of the human person made in the image and likeness of God.

Therefore, the mission of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart appears more than ever a matter of supporting the momentum and the innovative abilities of young people.  It is a demanding task that can only be achieved by developing the human and spiritual heritage that moves within the ancient yet ever-new furrow of Christian wisdom with her four pillars: the passionate search for truth, wonder and contemplation in the face of beauty, the sincere desire to promote the good of every person through dialogue and acceptance, and constant commitment to making our common home ever more harmonious, supportive and peaceful.  We need courageous and resourceful personalities like the founders of this prestigious university, capable of grand dreams and daring visions.  Exactly one hundred years ago, Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo, who was already at the end of his earthly life, entrusted to Father Agostino Gemelli, Armida Barelli, Lodovico Necchi and Monsignor Francesco Olgiati the task of setting up a long-cultivated project: that of giving their lives to the establishment of a Catholic university.  That demanding torch, entrusted to people who many others considered to be dreamers, continues to burn more than ever today, enflaming hearts and illuminating the minds of many young people.

The Holy Father, who has a special place in his heart for young people and for their dreams, is grateful for the precious service that your University, guided and supported by the Heart of Jesus, continues to offer with competence and farsightedness to new generations of Italians in order to provide cultural formation that is fully human and authentically Christian.  While assuring you of his closeness and his paternal support, Pope Francis asks that you remember him in your prayers.  To Your Excellency, to the Venerable Rector, to your Ecclesiastical General Assistant, to the members of the Toniolo Institute, to the illustrious Professors, to the technical and administrative personnel and to all the students, he willingly imparts a special blessing.

I take this opportunity to confirm my distinguished esteem for Your Excellency, devoted in the Lord's service.

Pietro Cardinal Parolin
Secretary of State

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