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Aleteia founder on “added value” of Catholic U grads: This is the Rome of today


Jesús Colina tells Class of 2019 students that they will transform the world … but how?

Aleteia founder Jesús Colina addressed the 2019 graduating class of The Catholic University of America at their graduation on Saturday, receiving as well an honorary doctorate from the prestigious university.

Colina told the students that they have been given the opportunity to graduate from a university in a city that could be considered the Rome of the modern world, the place where Peter and Paul would have come in order to spread the Christian message as far as possible. (And what would President Trump have tweeted after meeting them?, Colina joked.)

You will be leaders in your own field of expertise, not only in America, but also in the world. I do not know if you are aware of your responsibility. But I am! Even if inadvertently, you will transform the world. How? This is the question.

Do you know what your “added value” is, the journalist asked them? “Do you know how you can transform the world?”

Colina said he would answer the question drawing from his own experience. He reflected on what the “added value” is for a Christian or Catholic journalist in the field of media. It is not greater intelligence or greater skills, he said.

The same applies to any profession, Colina continued, suggesting that the true “added value” that a Catholic brings to his field is spelled out in the Gospel.

By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) You have heard this a million times, but I’ll repeat it once again: love is the answer.

Colina asked the graduates to reflect on how bringing love to their profession could transform the world …

… you have also received something else: your love for one another, and an invitation to love your enemy …

Let’s think, again, about the professional life of a journalist. As a journalist, you need to be faithful to the truth, even when it bothers you; you need to do serious research in order to point out, denounce, and condemn evil and corruption wherever you find it. But as a Christian journalist you will go further: you will love your enemy. You will respect your enemy, you will love even the people who are against you, against your political party, or even your football team…. Loving one’s enemies changes everything: if your “enemy” feels that you stand up for the truth and for what is good, and that you respect him, that you even love him, he will be able to listen, to read what you write, to open his mind. …

Think of your future work in politics, in the media, in court rooms, in hospitals… Surely, this university has provided you with exceptional skills and the best possible training. Here, you have also learned the highest ethical standards.

But you have also received something else: your love for one another, and an invitation to love your enemy.

This is your real added value, this is the key to transforming the world, like the first Christians did during the Roman empire. …

Those who give testimony of this kind of love have an incredible power of attraction. They are able to change the world. This is what happened in the Roman Empire and this could happen again. Love, your added value, will transform your world, and along with your world, the world.

Colina went on to discuss his experience here at Aleteia, noting that every month, across our eight language editions, some 40 million people reach out to us, most of them millennials.

What are they looking for? Why are they in contact with us? … They are not searching for information. Nor are they looking for ideologies. … They are looking for Christians who are authentically happy. Christians who have experienced the encounter with Jesus Christ, a real Person.

This encounter has made them joyful, confident, respectful of others, and often even really smart and funny. … 

As Pope Francis, Pope Benedict, and St. John Paul said, each one with different words, “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” (Deus Charitas Est, 1). This Person is Jesus.

So, Colina said, his advice for the graduates is really just one bit of advice:

Do you want to succeed in life? Do you want to find the secret of happiness? Do you want to be the best version of yourselves? Do you want to build a better America? Do you want to transform the world? Then remember this: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

LOVE is the only bit of advice I give you.

So, dear graduates, now you know what makes you unique: love. If you really love, you will transform your environment, you will transform America, you will transform the world. We really need you:

May your faith give us faith

May your hope give us hope

May your love give us love

Watch the video of the address here:


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