Vatican City (Fides Service) – The Pontifical Urban University (PUU) officially inaugurated this morning, 22 October, the Academic year 2003 -2004 under the banner of 25th year of Pope John Paul II’s Pontificate. A solemn Mass “De Spiritu Sancto” was presided by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and Grand Chancellor of the university, in the College Chapel in the presence of students and teachers. Afterwards in the Aula Magna there was an academic act dedicated to Mission in the Magisterium of Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his election to the See of Peter.
Addressing those present Cardinal Sepe recalled that the University has always distinguished itself for the specifically missionary character of its academic activity. The new Rector, Mons. Giuseppe Cavallotto, appointed this year on 12 September, focussed his address on the benefits received by the Church and the missionary university from this pontificate. This was followed by various talks: Christology and Mission by Prof. Maurizio Gronchi; Anthropological Aspects of Pope John Paul II’s Missiology by Prof. Gianni Colzani); Law and Mission by Prof. Luigi Sabbarese; Inculturation and Mission by Prof. Juvenal Ilunga Muya; Fides et Ratio from a point of view of Mission, Prof. Godfrey Onah. At the end of the Academic Act the Rector declared the academic year 2003-2004 open.
Although Urban College was elevated to the rank of Pontifical University only on 1 October 1962 a few days before the opening of the Second Vatican Council by Pope John XXIII, it was established by Pope Urban VIII with the Bull "Immortalis Dei Filius" 1 August 1627. From the outset to the present day the College has been a missionary institution at the service of the Church in her task of carrying on the mission by forming missionaries or experts in missiology and other disciplines, necessary for the Church’s evangelising activity. In 1966 Urban College has accepted affiliation with seminaries and institutes of Philosophy, Theology, Missiology and Canon Law especially in Africa and Asia, but also in America, Oceania and Europe. Today the College is affiliated with 89 different institutions with 11.000 students. Last year 2002/2003 Urban College had 1.500 students from 100 different countries and 206 teachers, one third of the from countries other than Italy. (S.L.) (Fides Service 22/10/2003 – lines 26; words 330)