GREETING FROM THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO MANAGERS AND STUDENTS OF THE "AMBROSOLI" INSTITUTE OF CODOGNO (LODI)
Sala Clementina - Saturday, May 22, 2021
Thank you all, dear friends, and welcome! Thanks for your presence. This meeting should have taken place, I believe, last February, on the anniversary of the beginning of the epidemic in Europe, right in the city of Codogno. I thank the Manager for her introductory words. I thank the best known citizen, perhaps, of Codogno, Msgr. Fisichella, and I thank you all. Thank you.
As soon as I received your proposal, I saw that it was important to accept it, because your school, in the context of this ordeal, represents a sign of hope. First of all because it is a school, that is, an educational place par excellence. And second, specifically, because it is a technical-professional institute, that is, it directly prepares young people for work; and precisely work, employment, is one of the victims of this pandemic. So, you are a double sign of hope. But if you are concretely it is because, as the Manager said, “you have never lost heart”. This is crucial. I congratulate you!
In recent months I have received news of several very positive experiences lived by groups of teachers and students, in Italy and in other countries. Experiences that show that when teachers 'generativity meets students' "dreams" there is no virus that can stop them! You boys and girls have a strength within you, a desire that, if stimulated and accompanied with wisdom and passion by adults, bears surprising fruits. The Manager said it well: there is a need for teachers who are "masters" in the noblest sense of the term.
In particular, your Institute highlights the link between learning and doing, between studying and working, between the "head" and the "hands". One is missing: your heart. The three languages: that of the head, that of the heart and that of the hands. To achieve that consistency whereby you think what you feel and do, you hear what you think and do, you do what you feel and think. That total coherence… And these three dimensions must always interact in the school, as they are connected in the person, in the journey of life. Head, heart and hands: a circle to always keep open and dynamic.
The relational dimension between you students, and also with teachers, has been penalized in the long months of distance learning. Now I hope you can fully take it back. But I also invite you to learn from this lack: that, in a certain sense, this negative experience can teach something, namely the importance of the real, not virtual, interpersonal relationship. You boys and girls are children of the digital society, which has opened new paths to knowledge and communication; but we know well by now that there is the danger of withdrawing into oneself and of seeing reality always through a filter that only apparently increases our freedom. The experience of the pandemic, with this "abstinence" from friendships, may stimulate in you, who are aware of it, a greater critical sense in the use of these tools; so that they remain such, that is, tools, subject to our intelligence and will.
And another thing I want to tell you: surely you have heard many times: "young people, we must take care of young people because they are the future". Nothing: you are the present, you are the present. Don't think about moving towards the future: you will be the future if you are the present. You are the present in society. Without young people, a society is almost dead. You are present because you bring new life. Don't forget this.
Dear friends, thank you again for your visit. I wish you a good end to this school year - it is close! -, not only in terms of votes , but also and above all in terms of faces ! May each of you feel the desire to thank God for the opportunity of the school: a place to grow with the head, with the hands and with the heart; a place to learn to live relationships in an open, respectful, constructive way; place to become aware and responsible citizens. I bless you and accompany you with prayer. And you too, please, I ask you to pray for me. Thank you!
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation - Image Screenshot