Pope Francis to Speak with Loyola University Chicago Students, Others in Global Livestream

The event will be a 'direct conversation' between the Pope and university students from North, South, and Central America.

Pope Francis’ general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Jan. 26, 2022.
Pope Francis’ general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Jan. 26, 2022. (photo: Courtesy photo / Vatican Media.)

CHICAGO — Loyola University Chicago will host a livestream conversation between Pope Francis and college students from around the world next month as part of the Catholic Church’s preparations for the Synod on Synodality.

“I am honored to share news of an historic event involving Pope Francis as he reaches out directly in dialogue with young people across the Americas, facilitated by Loyola University Chicago faculty,” Jo Ann Rooney, president of Loyola University-Chicago, said in a Jan. 26 internal announcement the university provided to CNA.  

“The Pope and the students will address salient issues facing the Church and the world in our times—communion and participation, migration, and care for the planet,” said Rooney. “We look forward to an energetic and inspiring global conversation and are humbled to play a small part in the journey.”

The event, “Building Bridges: A Synodal Encounter Between Pope Francis and University Students” will be a “direct conversation” between the Pope and university students from North, South, and Central America. The event will be livestreamed Feb. 24 at 12 p.m. Central Time. It will be translated live in Spanish, English, and Portuguese.

Those interested may watch the livestream event by registering at the university’s website.

Hosting the event are the university’s Institute of Pastoral Studies, the Department of Theology, and the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage. 

“Loyola University of Chicago is honored to welcome Pope Francis, the first Jesuit and Latin American Pope, and university students from across the Americas committed to social justice, serving others, and finding God in all things,” the university said.

It comes as the Catholic Church is engaged in a two-year global consultation process to prepare for the 2023 Synod on Synodality. When Pope Francis launched this process at an Oct. 10, 2021 Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, he said it means “taking time to encounter the Lord and one another.”

According to the university, the event with the Pope originated when it reached out to Dr. Emilce Cuda, head of the Office of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, to lead a dialogue on the synodal process. At the university’s suggestion, Cuda invited Pope Francis to participate, and he accepted the invitation.

“The Pope will dialogue with these university students, highlighting the contributions of students who are themselves migrants and children of migrants,” the university said. “The students will share concrete educational projects that seek to justly transform environmental and economic realities and the manifold ways their educational commitments can contribute to integrate and empower existential peripheries.”

The university said more information on the event will be forthcoming.

Loyola University of Chicago, affiliated with the Society of Jesus, has about 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its spring semester classes are being held online through Jan. 31 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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