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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis to students: “Education isn't limited to classrooms”

In his final event on his third day in Chile, Pope Francis met with the academic world at the Pontifical Catholic University, which is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. It's home to nearly 29,000 students. 

Upon arriving, the pope was welcomed by the university's president, Ignacio Sánchez, and made this gesture at the entrance.

A little more than 500 students awaited the Holy Father on the university patio. They welcomed him like this. 

Before entering the stage, the pope took his time greeting these sick people. 

President, Catholic University of Chile
“Your message permeates the university and all of our hearts.”

Pope Francis explained the university is an ideal space for practicing grammar of the dialogue of encounter, that which he advocates. It begins with dialogue with the most ancient communities, in this case, the Mapuche. 

“It is not so much a question of content but of teaching how to think and reason in an integrated way. What was traditionally called forma mentis. In this sense, it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed.”

The Holy Father asked them to create social awareness, advance the community and to not settle for what's taught in classrooms.

“Knowledge must always sense that it is at the service of life, and must confront it directly in order to keep progressing. Hence, the educational community cannot be reduced to classrooms and libraries but must be continually challenged to participation.”

The pope received five gifts from the university:A model of the “Chapel Country” university project that builds urban chapels in the peripheries of Chile. To date, they've built 50 chapels.

A “Commitment to peace” document, with 260 initiatives for advancing social inclusion.

A Christian anthropology book, written by Pedro Morandé. Pope Francis seemed to enjoy this one, which was presented by the author's daughter. The Holy Father spoke at length with her. 

A painting of the Holy Shroud, and a medal from the university's centennial. 

For his part, the pope presented the university with a nautical facsimile. 

This visit concluded the pope's public agenda for his third day in Chile. Once he had bid farewell to attendees, he returned to the popemobile en route to the nunciature.