Next Tuesday, almost twelve million of children and young people return to the training centres. The Pope thinks that he does not supplant Minister Pedini with illegal interferences, if he sends a very warm greeting to professors and students.
Italian professors have, in their history, classic cases of exemplary love and dedication to education. Giosuč Carducci was an university professor in Bologna. He went to Florence to some commemorative acts. One day, in the afternoon, he went to say good-bye to the Minister of Public Instruction. 'No, no - said the Minister –, stay also until tomorrow'. 'Excellence, it is not possible for me. Tomorrow, I have a class in the university and the boys will be waiting for me'. 'I exempt you'. 'You can exempt me, but I do not exempt myself'. Professor Carducci really had a concept as high about education as about students. He belonged to the class of those who say: 'to teach Latin to John, it is not enough to know Latin, it is also necessary to know John and love him'. And also: 'As much is worth the lesson as the training'.
To students of elementary education, I wanted to make them remember their friend Pinocchio: not the one who one day did not go to school to go and see the marionettes, but the other one, the Pinocchio who took a liking to school until the point to be the first in entering and the last one in leaving the classroom every day throughout the scholastic year.
But my more affectionate greeting goes to the secondary education students, mainly to those of high courses. These ones do not have only the immediate problems of the study, but also in the future; those that appear once finished the studies. In Italy, as in other nations of the world, nowadays, the doors are opened widely for those who want to enter the secondary and university training centres; but once they have got the diploma or the doctorate and left the training centres, there are only few, very few possibilities; they do not find a job and they cannot marry. They are problems that the society of today must study seriously and try to solve.
Also the Pope has been student of these centres: primary, secondary school and university. But I only thought about the youth and the parish. Nobody came to tell me: 'You will become a Pope'. Oh, if they had told it to me! If they had told it to me, I would have studied more, I would be prepared better. Instead, I am old, now; there is no more time.
But you, my dear young people, who study, you are really young, you have time for it; you have youth, health, memory, intelligence: work hard to have benefit from all these things. The future leaders will come from your training centres; many of you will become ministers, deputies, senators, mayors, advisers, or engineers, doctors; you will occupy positions in society. And today, who occupies a position must have the necessary competition, it is necessary to be prepared. General Wellington, who defeated Napoleon, wanted to return to England and see the military school where he had studied, where he had been prepared; and he told the cadets: 'Look, the battle of Waterloo was won here'. I tell you the same, dear young people: battles will appear in the life at 30, 40, 50 years old, but if you want to overcome them, you will have to begin now; you will have to be prepared since now and now you will have to be constant in your studies and your classes.
Let us pray to the Lord to help professors, students and families who look at education with the same interest and equal preoccupation than the Pope.