Meeting of the student groups in Castelgandolfo 2011
"In this time of God's absence, when the land of souls is arid and people still do not know where the living water is to come from, we want to ask the Lord to show himself! We want to ask him to give to those who seek the living waters elsewhere shows that it is he and that he does not allow the life of men, their longing for the great to be drowned and suffocated in the provisional."
"We want to ask him, especially for the young people, that the thirst for him will come alive in them and that they will recognize where the answer is. And we, who have known him from youth, may ask for forgiveness that we so little to carry the light of his countenance to the people, that so little comes from us the certainty: 'It is he, he is here and he is the great thing that we are all waiting for.' Let us ask him to forgive us, to renew us with the living waters of his Spirit..."
Opening words of Pope Benedict XVI. in the Sunday service on 28.8. in view of Psalm 63 (22nd Sunday in Ordinary A, responsorial Psalm)
Student meeting in Castelgandolfo with Pope Benedict 2011
At the 2010 meeting, Pope Benedict and the group of students decided to devote their reflections to the theme of the new evangelization the following year. This was obvious because of the rapid secularization that has been taking place in Europe in particular in the last few years prevailed for decades. It was not for nothing that Benedict XVI. founded a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and later convened a Synod of Bishops, which will meet in Rome in autumn 2012.
We were able to win Prof. Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, who held the chair for philosophy of religion in Dresden and has since retired, as a speaker. She spoke on the topic "Athens and Jerusalem. Or: New evangelization with the help of reason? A look at recent philosophical developments". In doing so, she took up a theme that Joseph Ratzinger had seen early on. She was now able to show in modern authors the conviction that reason could open a way to evangelization.
As a second speaker we had invited Mr. Otto Neubauer, who is a member of the "Emmanuel" community and heads an academy for evangelization in Vienna. He was involved in a number of large "city missions" in large cities and was able to draw on decades of experience and bring new ways of preaching into view. He gave his lecture the title "An ever new evangelism - where poverty becomes a bridge to the people".
Before the presentations were presented and discussed in front of the Holy Father and the group of students on Saturday, August 27th, Pope Benedict reported with palpable joy on his experiences at the World Youth Day in Madrid. On Sunday he celebrated the Eucharist in the Centro Mariapoli with the circle of students and the new circle of students. Cardinal Schönborn delivered the homily.
After breakfast, Professor Clemens Sedmak, head of the International Research Center (IFZ) in Salzburg, and Prelate Hans-Walter Vavrovsky, head of the Salzburg educational center Sankt Virgil, presented the recently published book "The Soul of Europe. Pope Benedict XVI. and the European identity". The work , edited by C. Sedmak and St. O. Horn at Pustet in Regensburg, contains the results of the first Benedict Academy in Salzburg (September 19-22, 2010).
At the Angelus, the Pope personally welcomed the members of the New Circle of Disciples. Finally, in the afternoon, the student group met with the new student group for a final, detailed discussion on the subject of new evangelization. It was a successful and fruitful meeting.
Fr Stephan Otto Horn
Photos: Michael Hofmann
The New Student Circle 2011 in Castel Gandolfo
The New Student Circle Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. was again invited to Castelgandolfo at the end of August 2012 for the Pope's student group meeting. It was on the theme of the new evangelization. Simultaneously with the student group of Pope Benedict XVI. the new student circle also met. The last annual meeting at national level took place in the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz in the Vienna Woods.
In consultation with Pope Benedict XVI. Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, Professor Emeritus for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Dresden, and Otto Neubauer, Director of the Evangelisation Center of the Emmanuel Community in Vienna, can win as speakers.
As usual, Friday evening was used for an initial exchange and organizational matters. In this way the theological work of the New Student Circle takes on form. In addition, the new student group agreed to hold the next national meeting in spring 2012 in Trier. It is the 500th anniversary of the exhibition of the Holy Robe in connection with the Reichstag in Trier in 1512.
As always, Saturday was dedicated to scientific exchange. While the group of students met together with the Holy Father and Prof. Gerl-Falkovitz and Otto Neubauer in the papal residence, the young theologians were able to study the manuscripts of the lecturers at the same time, who made their texts available in advance, for which the young scientists thank them. Beforehand, the conference participants had exchanged their own experiences in connection with the new evangelization. All participants felt that it was particularly enriching that over the course of the day there was still the opportunity to talk to Prof. Gerl-Falkovitz and Mr. Neubauer in a large group together with the school group. This was made possible on Sunday afternoon after the Holy Father personally greeted the members of the New Circle of Disciples after the Angelus prayer. After Holy Mass and breakfast with Pope Benedict in the morning, three new members were accepted into the circle of young theologians, which is also growing internationally.
Photos and text: Manuel Wluka