UNIV Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Students from over a hundred universities went to Rome during Holy Week to participate in the UNIV Forum, which in 2018 celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Begun in 1968 under Saint Josemaría’s impetus, UNIV is a meeting place where young people seek to dialogue and reflect on issues that affect contemporary society. Their stay in Rome allows them to experience Holy Week in in Rome and to be close to the Roman Pontiff.

For this anniversary, Pope Francis sent a message to the students: “This advice from Saint Josemaria will be of great help to you: ‘May you seek Christ. May you find Christ. May you love Christ’ (The Way, 382). Strive to strengthen each day your friendship with Christ, asking yourselves frequently: ‘What would Jesus do in my place? What can I do to become more and more like Him and bring Him to others?’ Seek Him in prayer, in the sacraments, in all the circumstances of your life and also in the people around you: in your friends, family members, fellow students, and in the most needy and forgotten of the world, in whom Christ’s face is reflected in an especially clear way,” he advised the more than 2,500 participants. The letter is printed in its entirety in The Roman Pontiff section of this bulletin.

The young people gave Pope Francis the money from a collection taken up for social initiatives, and also a mosaic of our Lady Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church), for the Christians of Syria.

The topic for reflection was Rethink the Future. As Alain Kiwan, who came from Lebanon and is the president of UNIV this year, explained: “In May 1968, the young people of the world broke through all the barriers that, in their opinion, had created so many prejudices, taboos and stale traditions. After 50 years, can we say that society is fulfilling all our desires? We have to ‘rethink the future,’ asking ourselves why some of those dreams have not been fulfilled, and create together the world we want.”

UNIV 2018 offered cultural activities in various places in Rome, involving lectures, colloquiums, exhibitions and round tables. The speakers included: Anna Halpine, founder of the World Youth Alliance and CEO of FEMM Health; David Post, Head of Business Development Global Thermal Generation for Enel; Paloma Durán, director of the Fund for Sustainable Development Goals at the UN; Ignacio Vicens, professor at the Polytechnic University in Madrid; Kevin Majeres, professor at Harvard Medical School; Giorgia Pergolini, environmental policy consultant for the World Food Programme; Jack Valero, co-founder of Catholic Voices; and Benedetto Ippolito, professor of Philosophy at the Roma Tre University.

Romana, n. 66, January-June 2018, p. 162-163.

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