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Students learn to search, listen and reflect on the Gospel at the Urbanian University

2014-06-12

The origins of the Pontifical Urbanian University date back to 1627, when Pope Urban VIII created a college that bears his name. Nearly 300 years later, in 1962, John XXIII made it into a pontifical university.

This institution plays a key role within the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples. Here, priests, seminarians and lay people from countries receiving missionaries spend years studying before returning home.

FR. ALBERTO TREVISIOL
Rector, Pontifical Urbanian University
"Our task is not to prepare people that have answers to their problems, prefabricated in the West. The university's main task is to search, and listen to instances that arise from different contexts, and to reflect on these instances using Church doctrine, using the Lord's Word, above all. We want to prepare people that, when they go back to their instances, will be able to generate answers.”

The students spend several years in Rome, taking classes on Theology, Philosophy, Canon Law and Missiology.

FR. ALBERTO TREVISIOL
Rector, Pontifical Urbanian University
"The intellectual formation has always been considered within Church life as indispensable for ministry. But everyone understands that, in a world that's constantly changing, with great social, intellectual, and theological challenges, in social contexts so varied in each country, intellectual formation becomes an integral part of the ministry itself.”

Students arrive in Rome with a scholarship from the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to a particular diocese. The campus environment is described as universal, making it easier for students to understand the reality of the Church today.

FR. MIGUEL OÑATE
Priest (Colombia)
"You find yourself in a classroom with a large number of priests and classmates from other parts of the world, that speak other languages. People that have gone through the same thing you have, but they have a different vision and cultural makeup. The first thing I learned is that the Church should have the face of each culture, but all of them united in the same faith in Jesus Christ.”

Students say they're grateful for this phase in their lives. They admitted that being far from family is difficult. But living in Rome also means being closer to others.

THEODORE CYEBWA KANYINDA
Seminarian (Dem. Rep. of Congo)
"There's a multicultural exchange, but we're also lucky to be close to the successor of Peter, to live next to the Pope, go to Mass, help during the Pope's Mass. That's something not many people can claim. Having easy access to the Pope, when my bishop sees him in TV or rarely when he visits, is an advantage for me. It's a good thing, one of the best things about studying in Rome.”

Some of the notable alumni that have walked the halls of the Pontifical Urbanian University include Cardinal Newman, recently beatified by Benedict XVI, or George Pell, the prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy and a member of the Pope's advisory council. 


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