Przejdź do treści

Meeting with the Holy Father Franciszek. New international experience of UKSW

The 100th anniversary of the establishment of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU/FIUC) was an opportunity to meet representatives of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University authorities with the Holy Father Francis and the authorities of the Roman Curia. On January 18-19 2024, the conference “The University and the Church – the future of the universities on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of FIUC” was held in the Vatican.

This amazing meeting with the universal Church gathered around the ideas and mission of Catholic and ecclesiastical universities and those drawing on universal Christian traditions strengthened not only international relations, but in particular built a deep bond of science and faith between the entities that are part of the International Conference of Catholic Universities – said Rev. Professor Ryszard Czekalski, PhD, the Rector of UKSW.

The conference gathered over 200 representatives of the scientific world concentrated around the International Federation of Catholic Universities established in 1924. Today, the organization brings together almost 245 academic organizations, universities and departments that operate on all continents. The canonical recognition of the organization took place in 1949. The topic of the meeting was the role of the universities in the Church and in the world the future of these institutions in the context of the challenges of the modern world. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Cardinal Jose Tolentino Calaca de Mendoca, Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education. Rev. Professor Ryszard Czekalski, PhD, the Rector of UKSW and Rev. Professor Marek Stokłosa, PhD, Associate Professor, the Vice-Rector for Research and International Cooperation also had the opportunity to meet the Prefect of the Dicastery. Representatives of UKSW extended an invitation to our university in May as part of the planned conference on the law of higher education and science organized by UKSW faculties – the Faculty of Law and Administration and the Faculty of Canon Law.

The culminating moment of the meeting of Rectors in Rome was the morning audience and meeting with the Holy Father Francis, who pointed out in his speech that “Catholic universities were born from the heart of the Church and are also its heart”. The Pope continued: “At a time when, unfortunately, education itself is becoming a business, and large impersonal economic systems are investing in schools and universities as if on the stock exchange, church institutions must show that they have a different way of thinking. An educational enterprise is not based only on excellent programs, efficient equipment, or good business practices. The university should be animated by a greater passion, expressed in a common search for truth, a greater horizon of meaning lived in a community of knowledge in which the generosity of love will be palpable”.

The Pope Francis, as usual, points out very simply – this is what he is famous for – but at the same time empathically, a clear signpost for the academic community, including the UKSW community, which, although not a Catholic university within the meaning of canon law, has a deep attachment to Christian values. We must always discover the human person in our academic work, adds Rev. Professor Ryszard Czekalski. – As the Holy Father teaches we must be able to open ourselves to new cultures, we must have a language open to new generations and new times, and we must skilfully translate the richness of the Christian tradition so that our university and all universities can be a place of dialogue and understanding – the Rector of UKSW sums up the meeting with the Pope Francis.

The Roman conference was also an opportunity for prayer and trust. The Rector entrusted the academic community of UKSW, our employees, PhD students, students and all friends of the university in prayer at the grave of Saint Peter and a doctor honoris causa of UKSW – Saint John Paul II, the Pope of the Youth.

29 January 2024