Pope Francis took the opportunity of a festive and musical atmosphere to launch the international Pontifical Foundation “Scholas Occurrentes” with strong appeals for educating girls and protecting the environment.

The event took place on the evening of Thursday 19 May at the Pontifical Urban University, known as the Urbaniana, which lies within walking distance of St. Peter’s Square.

Since its inception, Scholas has become a worldwide network of schools that share assets, with common objectives and special attention to those most in need. Scholas Occurrentes’ roots are to be found in educational projects created for children in impoverished areas in the city of Buenos Aires, at the initiative of the then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.

Educating girls

Bono, the well-known singer of musical group U2, was the celebrity guest at this launch. During the occasion, he and the Holy Father emphasized the importance of educating girls.

“Girls’ education,” Bono said, “is a superpower to fight extreme poverty, and I would like to ask Your Holiness if you think that women and girls have the same important role to change the world and climate change.”

Pope Francis agreed. “We speak of Mother Earth, not Father Earth,” he said smiling.

Match for peace

During the meeting with students, it was also announced that there will be another football match for peace in memory of the late Diego Maradona, a world-renowned soccer legend.

The match will take place on 10 October in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.

Giving Laudato si’ real force

During the encounter, a young person asked how Scholas should help implement Laudato si’ in the world.

For Laudato si’ to have real force, the Pope said, poetry, along with struggle and risk, are needed.

“It is learned through contemplating nature, and through struggle,” the Pope said. He noted how women and Scholas can be very powerful in protecting our Common Home.

“To defend nature,” he said, “is to defend the poetry of Creation.” He also urged the young people to defend and struggle for harmony.

“Women know more about harmony than we men do. And Scholas, organised in this way, with this fraternity between you, has the capacity to create poetry and to bring about change.”

The Pope encouraged the young students to take action before it is too late.

ENDS

Source: Vatican news article by Deborah Castellano Lubov 

Image: Vatican News Media