The Organization of Catholic Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (ODUCAL) is made up of 115 universities throughout the region, currently representing 1,500,000 students, more than 110,000 professors and more than 5,000 academic programs at different levels. This network of Latin American universities is, at the same time, the largest and most active organization of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (FIUC), a federation that groups 239 universities from the 5 continents.
The rectors of the universities that make up ODUCAL met in Rome to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Organization, and for this reason they had meetings with Pope Francis and Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education of the Holy See. One of the participants was the Vice President of IFCU and Rector of the Catholic University of Costa Rica (UCAT), Dr. Fernando F. Sanchez Campos, who also serves as Vice President of ODUCAL (sub region Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean).
Our Vice President, Dr. Sanchez, shared with us his impressions of the messages they received from the Pope and the Prefect for Culture and Education during these events in Rome and Vatican City.
"They were very fruitful meetings, full of fraternity and in which both the Holy Father and Cardinal Tolentino pointed out to us what they expect from our universities and their social role. The Cardinal asked us to turn our institutions into ’places of formation for solidarity’. This message was reinforced by the Pope’s words. He made us see the great responsibility that we universities have so that from our Catholic identity, which means universal, we assume a missionary attitude, ’going out’, and thus collaborate in the solution of the problems that most afflict our countries such as poverty, inequality, exclusion and ideological polarization. To this end, our mission was to form, not simply professionals, but ’social poets’, ’social choreographers’; people capable of working as a team and without excluding anyone in the construction of our societies. We take on this challenge with great enthusiasm," said Rector Sanchez.
The International Federation of Catholic Universities is preparing to celebrate its centenary with a jubilee year that will conclude with the General Assembly in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2025. With this great celebration in mind, Dr. Sanchez Campos, indicates that we should take the words of Pope Francis as "a beacon to illuminate the present and, above all, the future" of our Federation.