During the Year of Mercy special gatherings are organized for certain groups of the faithful, jubilees. A few days after returning to Rome I participated in the Jubilee for Universities, Research Centers, and Institutions for Artistic Higher Education. The event began on the afternoon of September 7th at the Pontifical Lateran University in the Aula Magna (Great Hall, dedicated to Pope Benedict XVI). It has a striking mosaic of Our Lord, Christ the Teacher. As part of the Jubilee a symposium was also organized in Knowledge and Mercy that was attended by academics from all over the world.
On Thursday, September 8th small group sessions were organized all over Rome, broken down by field of study (22 disciplines) and forums on topics such as university management. I attended the group session on theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. One of the most interesting talks was a Biblical reflection on the story of Jonah as someone resenting the Lord’s mercy because he doesn’t want to reconcile with those he despises and gradually comes to accept it, although the story remains open ended.
On Friday, September 9th there was a gathering of ecclesial movements and associations involved in universities at the Lateran University, and professors and employees from our two universities in Rome, the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum (where I work) and the European University of Rome, attended talks by the secretary for the Congregation for Catholic Education, and our Chancellor (and General Director of the Legion), Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil.
The Jubilee concluded at the General Audience with the Holy Father on Saturday morning. I admit I was tempted to leave a little early in order to catch the train, but an audience is not complete without receiving the Holy Father’s blessing. Receiving his blessing was especially important because he always extends it to the family members of those present, especially the sick, and many of my aunts and uncles are getting older and frailer and needed his blessing. In the end I received the blessing for everyone and made it home earlier than the train would have gotten me home because the bus connections all Providentially fell into line.