Jubilee for Universities

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.

Summer in Cupertino 2016

I’ve resisted the temptation to entitle this post, “How I spent my summer vacation” because for most of the summer I was working. June was time for helping with final exams in Rome, an activity that is not particularly picturesque unless you want to see students squirming and perspiring.

In July I headed back to the United States for a few weeks working on writing projects for rcspirituality.org, then visited home in August and went on vacation in and around Cupertino. We stayed in the beautiful Legionary retreat house, Our Lady of Santa Clara. This is a picture of the statue of the Blessed Mother on the back deck of the retreat center. It was just installed and blessed this year.

During my stay the Legionary brothers working in Cupertino renewed their temporal vows at Canyon Heights Academy. School families attended and later we had a pizza party at Round Table.

I should have entitled this post, “sharing the beauty” of California. Writing and researching is not very photogenic, so most of the photos are when I and other writers slipped away for an outing, as well as my vacation at the end of August. California is a beautiful state, so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking (or showing).

Point Lobos and Carmel Mission (where St. Junipero Serra is buried):

The campus of Stanford University and Stevens Creek County park:

The Japanese Friendship Gardens and Kelley History Park in San Jose:

Rancho San Antonio County Park, Cupertino, and the reservoir on Highway 17 at the end of the Los Gatos Creek Trail:

I also celebrated my birthday by going to the Computer History Museum, a wonderful experience for reconnecting with my inner nerd and feeling old: they had practically every PC, gadget, and game on display that I owned for the last forty-nine years. The Legionary community in Cupertino was also nice enough to get me a cake: