Pope Francis has been advocating for more interculturalism and acceptance within the Catholic Church and started his mission at World Youth Day this year. Seton Hill University (SHU) has been hard at work living what Francis is preaching.“These young people are from every continent, they speak many languages, they bring with them different cultures, and yet they also find in Christ their highest aspirations, held in common, and they can satisfy a hunger for a pure truth and an authen- tic love which binds them together in spite of differences,” said Pope Francis during his address at the welcome ceremony for World Youth Day this year.
Francis has recently been encouraging the acceptance and participation of different cultures within the Catholic Church. In the past, the church has not as proactively attended to this matter, but Francis is making it a major part of his papacy. He sees the world’s youth as the key to promoting the acceptance of different cultures and is stressing the importance of interculturalism to them.
“Our world civilization has gone beyond its limits,” said Francis in his address to the Argentine Youth on World Youth Day. “We are now faced with a philosophy and a practice which exclude the two ends of life [the youths and the elderly] that are most full of promise for peoples. There is a cultural euthanasia, because we don’t allow them to speak…”
Francis believes this so strongly, that it is intertwined into every aspect of World Youth Day. Even at mass, he stressed that we are called as individuals, but also as a community, “When we face challenges together, we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had.”
Like Francis, SHU recognizes the importance of celebrating different cultures and including the youngest and the oldest in their events. Intercultural Week exemplifies and celebrates the recourses the university has through events like the Intercultural Mass, Kristallnacht Remembrance Service, and the Intercultural Food Festival.
“These events are an opportunity for us to see the people that are gathered and the diversity among us. They give us a sense of community and deeper understanding and acceptance of diversity,” said Sister Maureen O’Brien, the Director of Campus Ministry at SHU.