John Paul II Center alumna Paola Bernardini ’11 accepts new lecturer position

John Paul II Center alumna Paola Bernardini accepted a new lecturer position in the United States this past fall, teaching the next generation of priests about world religions at Saint John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, Florida.

Bernardini says teaching the young seminarians “has been a very meaningful experience.”

“I have seen their minds light up as they found out that there are more similarities among the world religions than there are differences. I think this has contributed to their growing in respect for other religious traditions while deepening their appreciation for their own religious identity,” said Bernardini.

“As the saying goes, ‘if you only know one religion, you do not know religion at all,’” she added.

Bernardini will welcome John Paul II Center Co-Director Rabbi Jack Bemporad to her campus in April for the seminary’s annual Faith and Reason conference where Rabbi Bemporad will deliver a talk on Pope John Paul II’s 1998 Encyclical (Fides et Ratio) from a Jewish perspective.

Previously Bernardini worked and studied at universities including Notre Dame and Harvard University. Her interest for different religions started very early, living in many different countries of the world. As a teenager, she was awarded the International Understanding Award by the European Council of International Schools for her effort at promoting dialogue among her peers.

Bernardini said her perspectives on Judaism were broadened as a Russell Berrie Fellow after the study trip in Israel- where one of the peak experiences involved sharing in the shabbat meal celebration with a Jewish family.