Pope Francis Inspires Loyola University Delegation with a Call to Embrace Roots, Justice, and Hope

Feature and Cover Pope Francis Inspires Loyola University Delegation with a Call to Embrace Roots Justice and Hope

On the morning of Monday, April 20th, Pope Francis welcomed a delegation from Loyola University, Chicago, in the Hall of the Popes at Vatican City. Below is a translated summary of his address delivered in Italian:

Pope Francis began by greeting the President and members of the Board of Trustees of Loyola University in Chicago, who were on a pilgrimage to the birthplace and formative grounds of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. He emphasized the significance of journeys in the human quest for life’s meaning, urging the delegation to maintain a continuous desire for pilgrimage. This visit to the origins of Saint Ignatius’ life and spirituality, he noted, should enrich and inspire their academic and personal growth. The Pope stressed the importance of returning to one’s roots to draw strength and progress, reiterating that the roots of Loyola University lie in the experiences of Saint Ignatius, who prioritized God and sought His will, thereby striving for service. He encouraged the delegation to let Ignatius’ path of discernment and commitment to justice guide their lives and activities, as Loyola University is deeply rooted in the Jesuit tradition of discernment and action.

Pope Francis called on the university to seek truth through deep reflection, attentive listening, and courageous action, urging them to persevere in being witnesses of hope in a world rife with division and conflict. He noted that conflicts, while inevitable, should be resolved from a higher level, fostering cooperation rather than confusion. The Pope highlighted the need for cultivating critical thinking, discernment, and sensitivity to global challenges, constantly questioning how the university can contribute to making the world a better place.

In an era of rapid changes and complex challenges, the Pope underscored the essential role of academic institutions. He stated that their task extends beyond forming fine minds to developing generous hearts and consciences that respect the dignity of every person. Education, he explained, involves the head, heart, and hands, emphasizing harmony between thought, feeling, and action. Education is not merely about knowledge transmission but about forming individuals who embody reconciliation and justice in every aspect of their lives. He encouraged forming “hard-working dreamers,” as dreams are vital for creativity and life’s poetry.

The Pope urged the delegation to nurture intellectual curiosity, cooperation, and sensitivity to contemporary challenges, carrying forward Saint Ignatius’ legacy. He stressed the need for people ready to serve others, work towards a future where everyone can achieve their potential, live with dignity, and find peace. Reflecting on the current global crises, Pope Francis highlighted the importance of hope as an anchor, without which we cannot live. “Hope never disappoints!” he remarked.

He particularly commended intercultural and interreligious dialogue for fostering mutual understanding, cooperation, and building bridges between different traditions, cultures, and worldviews. Concluding his address, Pope Francis blessed the delegation and their journey of knowledge and service, asking them to pray for him due to the challenges of his role. He assured them of his prayers and requested theirs in return. “Thank you!” he said, closing his heartfelt message.

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