Loyola University Chicago

Office of the President


Loyola Welcomes Pope Francis in Conversation With Students

January 26, 2022


Dear Loyola Community,

As the semester unfolds, I am grateful for the ways our community continues to collaborate in scholarship and service inside and outside of the classroom. We will gather over the next weeks in dialogues around the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and critical issues during Black History Month. Over the course of the term, we look forward to in-person and virtual gatherings around justice in public health, medicine, business, and environmental sustainability. Such conversations are central to our mission.

Today, I am honored to share news of an historic event involving Pope Francis as he reaches out directly in dialogue with young people across the Americas, facilitated by Loyola University Chicago faculty.   

Building Bridges: A Synodal Encounter Between Pope Francis and University Students is a direct conversation between the Pope and university students from North, Central, and South America, including some from Loyola. The Pope and the students will address salient issues facing the Church and the world in our times—communion and participation, migration, and care for the planet. Hosted by the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS), the Department of Theology, and the Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, the real-time virtual conversation will take place Thursday, February 24 at 12 p.m. Central time.

The University community will have the opportunity to listen to the conversation between Pope Francis and these young people in a live stream. There will be more details on the event in the coming days, but one can get a sense of its energy from Francis’ invitational words regarding this synod: "Dear brothers and sisters, may this Synod be a true season of the Spirit! For we need the Spirit, the ever new breath of God, who sets us free from every form of self-absorption, revives what is moribund, loosens shackles and spreads joy."  

This collaboration with Pope Francis arises from the distinguished work of faculty in IPS, the Department of Theology, and the Hank Center. Their scholarship and leadership have positioned Loyola as an international center of Catholic thought and discourse. We are proud of their dedicated work in our Jesuit, Catholic mission, and they exemplify the work faculty across our University who, day in and day out, are called to advance academic excellence and foster deep listening, discourse, and reflection—qualities that sustain a vigorous and authentic exchange of ideas and perspectives.  

Loyola is deeply honored that the Holy Father, the first Jesuit and Latin American Pope, has chosen our University as the inaugural space for dialogue in this historic outreach to university students around the world. We look forward to an energetic and inspiring global conversation and are humbled to play a small part in the journey.


Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD