Like other years during Holy Week in Rome, and after the enforced pauses in 2020 and 2021, students from over a hundred universities – mostly European, due to the limitations still present in many countries – will meet in Rome for UNIV 2022, an international gathering of university students who wish to spend Holy Week and Easter close to the Pope in Rome. The students will take part in the liturgical ceremonies for Holy Week and in several get-togethers with the Prelate of Opus Dei, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz.
This year, the organizing committee for UNIV has decided to reflect on the topic “Rebuilding Together: The Strength of Human Relationships.” Those taking part will reflect on the importance of the key human relationships of friendship, work and families. Through the conferences and other activities in the Eternal City they will strive to pinpoint ways to live these human ties better, by rediscovering their importance and value.
Referring to this year’s topic for reflection, UNIV 2022 spokesperson Clemens Schörghuber, from Austria, remarked: “In the last two years the world has changed radically. We all went from full classrooms, concerts and events with thousands of people, big family reunions, to a world of social distancing, in order to protect our own and other people’s health. We began to communicate through digital channels and tried to adapt as well as possible to this so-called ‘new normality.’”
“But as time went by,” he continues, “little by little this separation led us to realize that something wasn’t going right, that we wanted to be able to hug our relatives, share face-to-face time with friends and go for a walk with them. As is only natural, we began to feel the need for human relationships as they were before, although the simple fact of feeling their absence led us to ask ourselves some important questions: Why do we need human relationships? How do they affect our happiness and contribute to our overall health?”
UNIV 2022 is organizing cultural events in various places in Rome: conferences, colloquiums, exhibitions, round tables with speakers who include Spanish psychiatrist Enrique Rojas; Susan Hanssen, professor and chairperson of the Department of History at the University of Dallas; Christina Crook, Canadian communicator and journalist, and the author of two books entitled The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World and Good Burdens; and Adeline Khouri, civil engineer and executive director of the Virtuous Leadership Institute in Beirut.
The UNIV meetings were born in 1968 under the inspiration of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei. During these past 54 years, over 100,000 university students have come to Rome to take part. Every year the students also attend an audience with the Pope. This year, the one on April 13 will be particularly significant, given Pope Francis’s urgent call for peace, and the dramatic situation of so many people in Ukraine and in various parts of Africa.
The Prelature of Opus Dei also organizes Christian formational activities for those who wish to take part. The encounter is an opportunity during Holy Week to grow in one’s life of prayer, to get to know the city of Rome, to take part in guided tours of museums and art exhibitions, as well as visits to important sites in the Church's history right from the earliest centuries.
Websites with information about UNIV: