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I started school 77 years ago

· Holy Father meets students of Religious Teachers Filippini ·

On Thursday afternoon, 23 September, in the courtyard of the Papal Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo the Holy Father met students from the “Paolo VI” Pontifical Elementary School – run by the Religious Teachers Filippini and located in this town in the Alban Hills – and their parents. The following is a translation of the Pope's Catechesis, which was given in Italian.

Dear Children,

Dear Teachers, Dear Parents,

Dear Friends,

Welcome here to the Palace, to the Pope's house. I am very pleased to receive you at last, to see the “Paolo VI” Pontifical School, run by the Religious Teachers Filippini, and to be with you, at least for a moment. Spiritually we are always together, here, in this beautiful town of Castel Gandolfo. Now that I can see you, I am very happy.

Dear children, you go to school and learn of course, and I was thinking that it has been 77 years since I started to go to school. It was in a tiny village of 300 people, somewhat “tucked away” one might say; yet we learned the essentials. Above all we learned how to read and write, and I think it is a great achievement to be able to read and write, for this is how we are able to know what other people think and read newspapers and books. We can know what was written 2,000 years ago or even longer; we can learn about the spiritual continents of the world and communicate together. Above all, there is an extraordinary text: God has written a book, that is, he has spoken to us, human beings, and found people who wrote the book that contains the word of God. Thus, in reading it we can also read what God says to us and this is very important: to learn at school everything necessary for life and also to learn to know God, to know Jesus and to know how to live well.

At school you make many friends and this is beautiful; in this way a large family is formed. Yet, among our best friends the first one of them, whom we know, must be Jesus, who is the friend of all and truly sets us on the path to life.

Thank you for your presence, for your joy and my good wishes to you all.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 25, 2020