Seton Hall Leaders Meet Pope Francis, Celebrate IFCU Centenary
To celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), Interim President Katia Passerini, Vice Provost for Academics and Catholic Identity Monsignor Joseph R. Reilly, and Executive Director of Academic Affairs Bernadette McVey recently traveled to Vatican City to attend “The University and the Church: The Future of the Catholic University,” a two-day, international conference held from January 18-19, 2024 in commemoration of the IFCU’s centenary.
The conference brought together leaders – representing the more than 225 Catholic universities and higher education institutions part of the IFCU – to reflect, share and analyze the role of Catholic universities in the world, approaches to governance as well as the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.
On January 19, the trio had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis and, as part of a special audience granted to conference attendees, received an address from the Holy Father. Speaking to the rich history of the IFCU, Pope Francis stressed the unique and critical role Catholic universities play in preparing students not only for their careers, but also in cultivating a deeper understanding of their vocations and individual contributions to society as a whole.
“It is not enough to award academic degrees: it is necessary to awaken and cherish in each person the desire to “be”. It is not enough to prepare students for competitive careers: it is necessary to help them discover fruitful vocations, to inspire pathways of authentic existence and to integrate the contribution of each individual within the creative dynamics of the larger community,” Pope Francis wrote in in a prepared text.
“We were honored to participate in the centenary celebration of the International Federation of Catholic Universities. The Holy Father’s words aligned perfectly with Seton Hall’s commitment to foster collaborations — both locally and globally — that nurture the essence of ‘being’ in each individual,” Vice Provost Monsignor Reilly said.
Interim President Passerini added, “Through the International Federation of Catholic Universities, Seton Hall has the profound opportunity to reflect and contribute to the evolving landscape of Catholic higher education. We look forward to continued dialogue with our colleagues worldwide, cultivating meaningful culture exchange, mutual learning and a shared commitment to shaping the servant-leaders of tomorrow.”
Emphasizing the importance for Catholic universities to ‘be in the forefronts of efforts to build the culture of peace,” Pope Francis encouraged Catholic universities to continue their collective cooperation and shared missions of teaching, research and giving back to their communities.
Seton Hall University joined the IFCU in 2021 and since then, has established many affiliations between the University and other Catholic universities around the world, as well as study abroad opportunities for Seton Hall students and international research and pedagogy collaborations for faculty. In 2022, Interim President Passerini was elected to the Administrative Board of the IFCU, on which she is now serving a three-year term as the representative of North America on the Board.
Categories: Faith and Service