His Holiness the Pope Francis came to the Yotsuya Campus on November 26. It was a great honor to welcome Pope Francis, the first Jesuit Pope to Sophia University as being a member of Jesuit universities. It has been 38 years since Pope John PaulⅡlast visited. Meanwhile an event “Let’s talk with the Pope” took place on 18 December 2017, for students having an opportunity to chat with the Pope via video streaming.
Arriving on November 23, His Holiness toured Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Tokyo prior to visiting our university on his last day in Japan to send the message for students, faculty members and staff of Sophia University. About 700 people gathered at Sophia Tower, 101 lecture hall where His Holiness was first welcomed by a choir performance following everyone singing together “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.”
In an opening address, Chancellor Tsutomu Sakuma expressed “It is such an honor to welcome Your Holiness as a Jesuit university here in Japan. I would like to send my deepest gratitude for you to spending your time with us.”
Following the address, Pope Francis gave a “Message to Students at Universitas Sedis Sapientiae.” As his message was acclaimed with a grand applause, a souvenir of “Maria Kannon” figure (formerly owned by Sophia University Kirishitan Bunko) was presented to His Holiness from the President Yoshiaki Terumichi and the President of Catholic Students Association Takanori Suzuki. The figure was reportedly substituted the figure of Holy Mother Mary for the “Hidden Christians” of Nagasaki or Amakusa. In return, the Pope presented a relief in silver, the work inspired by the famous painting by Mario Mandolesi in the 16th Century, to President Yoshiaki Terumichi.
At last the choir performed “The Lord’s Prayer” (Gregorian Chant) as His Holiness departed the hall. At Main Street, many students awaited to farewell the Pope with Vatican and Sophia flags in hands and His Holiness responded to everyone from the car.
The talk by His Holiness was made available for public viewing being broadcasted simultaneously at few locations on campus as well as among four junior/high schools of Sophia School Corporation.
Address by Pope Francis at Sophia University video now available on YouTube
Full text of Address by Pope Francis is now available on our website.