“You have but one teacher” says Our Lord today. This made me think of something that I witnessed on Boston Common on a cold and terribly rainy autumn day in 1979. In his first visit to the United States, Pope John Paul II wanted to give his attention to the some 175,000, who study in and around the city. I was working at Boston College, and hundreds of our students marched right down Commonwealth Ave. to the Common. We stood in the rain awaiting the Pope. He did not disappoint us. He gave a stirring homily. It went something like this (you have to imagine his English through a thick Polish accent): “Students of Boston” (big cheer).
Then, with rhetorical cleverness he went on to mention some of the great universities and schools (over 150) in, and around Boston – each received cheers from their students, who were present. He had us in the palm of his hands. “You study physics, and chemistry, and philosophy and languages, mathematics and history, literature and biology. I say to you: Study Christ!” At those stirring words a mighty cheer went up, and I could swear my feet lifted out of the mud.
—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.