Pope Francis today, Monday 25 April, received in audience a group of students from the Catholic Chaplaincy at Queen’s University in Belfast, as they celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Chaplaincy. In his prepared remarks that were handed over to the group, the Holy Father encouraged them to cultivate the culture of encounter in their academic community.
“If we truly believe in Jesus, we must do what Jesus does: encounter others, encounter our neighbours, in order to share with them the saving truth of the Gospel,” Pope Francis wrote.
“The Christian faith is fundamentally about an encounter with Jesus Christ”
He noted that building a culture of encounter in the service of God’s kingdom is “personally demanding”, but at the same time exciting, as “it allows us to weave a web of relationships which can make our lives together ‘a genuine experience of fraternity, a caravan of solidarity, a sacred pilgrimage’.
“Building a culture of encounter is not simply about seeing, but looking; it is not about hearing, but listening; it is not about just meeting or passing people by, but stopping to engage with them about the things that really matter.”
Pope Francis, therefore, encouraged the students to become promoters of this culture of encounter in their academic environment, thus contributing “to building up Ireland’s noble traditions of hospitality, reconciliation, fidelity to the Gospel and steadfastness in the pursuit of holiness”.
Source: Vatican News article by Lisa Zengarini and image from Vatican Media