By Fr. David Koonce, LC, Academic Vicerector

From 20 to 23 October 2022, I went to Tirana, Albania, for the General Assembly of the European Federation. We were hosted by the Catholic University of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Founded in 2004, this Catholic university provides a qualified service to Albanian society, characterized by the heavy legacy of the communist regime in power between 1945 and the 1990s, but also by a complex religious situation.

According to some studies, 30% of Albanians are Muslims, 23% are Catholics, 7% Orthodox, while almost 40% of the population declares themselves atheists. I had the pleasure of meeting Fr Jerome Ndo Mih, president of Our Lady of Good Counsel Foundation, the Organization that manages the University. He is one of our Alumni, having obtained the Licentiate in Bioethics, and now we are trying to activate some collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Pharmacy. These are still projects in the germinal phase, but we entrust our good intentions to Mary.

I believe that participating in this kind of meetings is very important – a real benefit for all – to share how much and how networking, as well as to better understand what perspective can be followed with the Federations and / or other Institutions.

The first benefit of networking is having a clear engagement strategy with other institutions, being present at institutional moments to identify and share possible common projects.

I am disposed to what Divine Providence wants to offer us through these networks. In addition, I was chosen as a member of the FUCE Board of Directors for the three-year period 2022-2025, representing the Roman Pontifical Universities. I hope that the experiences of the other two networks, the RIU and the Roman pontificals, and vice versa, can contribute to the FUCE, enrich the other two networks with the best practices of the FUCE. In this assignment, the words of Pope Francis in the exhortation Evangelii Gaudium enlightened me, where he says that it is not a question of occupying spaces, but of initiating processes (EG 223, ed). These are the first small steps on a long journey. But, you have to start somewhere!

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