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Meeting of the student groups in Castelgandolfo 2014

theology of the cross













On Lake Albano at the gates of Rome took place from 21.-24. August  in Castelgandolfo this year's meeting of the two student groups of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. instead of. During the three-day meeting, its members dealt with the topic of the theology of the cross. The Bonn dogmatist Karl-Heinz Menke spoke as a guest speaker this year.

The conference began on Thursday evening with the joint Vespers and dinner, which was followed by a cozy get-together. After the celebration of Holy Mass, the two circles met separately on Friday. In the morning, the New Students were able to officially welcome two new members in order to clarify organizational questions and to tell each other about their situation and experiences.

The spokesman for the student group, Fr. Prof. Stephan O. Horn, then spoke about the activities of the foundation and the student group, which met for the 10th time in Castelgandolfo in 2014 and thus celebrated a small anniversary. It was the seventh meeting for the new student group here. Based on Father Stephan's review of the genesis of the new student group, its members discussed in detail in the afternoon about their own self-image and future direction.

After vespers and dinner together, many enjoyed the warm evening hours and the beautiful ambience with an ice cream or a cool wine on the piazza in Castelgandolfo.

Saturday was all about this year's topic "Theology of the Cross", which the school group and the new school group dealt with together. Curia Cardinal Kurt Koch, mentor of the New Student Circle, who took a total of three days, had already celebrated Holy Mass in the morning and in his sermon emphasized the importance of the cross for Christians. After an introductory prayer by the Cardinal, Professor Menke gave his first lecture entitled "The True Thorn Bush or: The Cross as Self-Revelation of the Trinitarian God" and unfolded what the self-revelation of God as a historical event on the cross means. This was followed by a lively discussion.
After lunch, the group was able to visit and marvel at the Vatican Gardens in Castelgandolfo as part of a guided tour. A second lecture by Professor Menke followed in the afternoon. The theme was "The Cross as the Center of History, or: What Christ Has Done for All People of All Times."

In the evening Fr. Antoine Saroyan, an Armenian student of Pope Benedict from Syria, reported on the situation of persecuted Christians in his homeland and other countries in the Middle East. They expect us Christians in the West to pray for them, think of them and help them. Cardinal Koch lamented the silence of Christians in Europe in the face of their plight.

On Sunday, after breakfast, everyone set off together for Rome. There celebrated Pope em. Benedict XVI with the members of the student circles in Campo Santo at 9.00 a.m. Holy Mass and preached the homily.

In a ceremony that followed in the auditorium of Campo Santo, the speakers of the new student group, Dr. habil. Michaela Hastetter and Prof. Dr. Christoph Ohly, Father Stephan Horn, to his great joy and surprise, published a commemorative publication entitled "Service and Unity. Reflections on the Petrine Ministry from an Ecumenical Perspective" on the occasion of his 80th birthday. It was a great sign of appreciation and personal gratitude towards him that Pope Benedict XVI. himself gave the laudatory speech to his former student and heartily congratulated him.

The Pope Emeritus then took the time to personally greet each individual member of both groups of students. He followed their short reports very attentively and received a variety of greetings from their home towns. This meeting was a great joy and honor for the members of both student groups.

Manuel Wluka

Photos: Masses with Cardinal Koch,  Weihbischof  Jaschke, student group in Castelgandolfo, Board of Trustees




















Photos: NSK and SK in Castelgandolfo, Menke's lecture,  Walk in the  gardens of Castelgandolfo





















Photos: Mass with Pope em. Benedict XVI, presentation of the commemorative publication













Photos: Michael Hofmann, Manuel Wluka










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