This week, I attended the inauguration of the Academic Year of the “Urbanianum”, the Pontifical University established in the 17th century to prepare priests for mission overseas. Today, its role is as a university for seminarians, religious and priests from around the world, particularly Africa, Asia and Latin America. As I looked around the Aula Magna, re-named after Benedict XVI, I saw amongst the 450 guests a microcosm of the 110 different countries present amongst the university’s student body. A choir began proceedings singing in one of the many languages of the Democratic Republic of Congo; we heard prayers in Chinese, Hindi and Swahili (as well as English and Italian); we were informed about the 24 trips out of Italy made by Pope Benedict XVI in his 8 year Pontificate; student prize-winners came from China, India and South Africa.
I have no doubt that many of the future leaders of the Catholic church are now studying at the Urbanianum, inspired by the example of the first Pope from the New World. The global Holy See network offers us another facet of the phenomenon of globalisation, as well as being a factor in it. The people who belong to it make it an increasingly global player.
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