AT THE END OF THE RECITAL OF THE ROSARY
WITH THE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Saturday, 1 April 2000
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With greet affection I greet all of you who have taken part in this moving celebration and the recitation of the Holy Rosary on the First Saturday of April. I thank you for your presence. Our prayer has been guided by the theme "Christ, the Redeemer of man". This important theme will direct your reflection on the topic planned for the next gatherings of university students scheduled during this Jubilee Year.
1. Dear university students of Rome, thank you for organizing this meeting. An affectionate greeting to each of you, to your spiritual directors and, first of all, to Bishop Rino Fisichella, Auxiliary of our Diocese. It has become a tradition for us to meet during the Lenten season to recite the Holy Rosary in preparation for World Youth Day. I invite you now to take part in that event in large numbers, and to give a generous welcome to your friends who will come from all over the world.
This evening, however, is a special occasion, because it is part of the Jubilee Year and, thanks to the modern communications media, sees your young colleagues participating on every continent. I want to send them all a very warm fatherly greeting.
2. My cordial greeting goes to you, American college students, gathered in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. I extend a special word of gratitude to Cardinal Hickey, Archbishop of Washington, who is there with you.
Dear students, thank you for being a part of this prayer. Continue to bear witness in your college life and your daily activities to your faith in Christ. Defend and promote respect for the dignity of every human being. The Church and society need such apostles at this time of extraordinary developments in the fields of information technology and biomedicine.
3. I greet all of you, young people from different universities in the Philippines, gathered in the Chapel of St Thomas University in Manila. Dear university students, I am very happy that you are taking part in this event. I greet Bishop Yalung and Bishop Tirona who are presiding at your celebration.
I remember with deep emotion the World Youth Day in 1995. I still keep in my heart the memory of your joy and your fidelity to the Gospel. With great affection, the Pope is close to you, and he has confidence in your evangelizing efforts, especially among your peers and in the world of culture.
I look forward to seeing you in Rome for the Jubilee events dedicated to young people.
4. My thoughts now turn to the Shrine of Fátima in order to greet you, university students of Portugal, who have gathered there from all over the nation. You are being led by Bishop Tomás da Silva Numes, Secretary of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, to whom I send a fraternal greeting.
Dear university students of Portugal, it is important that you create times to meet one another, to discern more fitting ways for the Church to have a significant presence in the university. Dear young people, you face many challenges, but also great opportunities. Be courageous and faithful to the Gospel. May Our Lady of Fátima, which, God willing, I will have the joy of visiting this May, help you to be disciples and witnesses of Jesus Christ in her image.
I am waiting for you in Rome! Come and participate in our Jubilee meetings which are planned both for you young people and for the university.
5. From Portugal I now turn in mind and heart to Brazil, to greet you university students gathered at the Shrine of Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida, at the prayer vigil led by Cardinal Aloísio Lorscheider, whom I also greet with a fraternal embrace.
Dear Brazilian university students, I would like to thank you for taking part in such large numbers. I have great confidence in your generous and creative presence in the Church's life and in the university. During this Jubilee Year, strive with renewed fervour to proclaim Christ the Redeemer, the centre and root of all authentic culture. In this way you will also help to build up your society.
6. I now greet you cordially, dear university students gathered at the Shrine of Jasna Góra in Czestochowa. In particular I greet Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak and Bishop Henryk Tomasik, who have guided your prayer.
I thank you for your presence and your involvement in the academic apostolate. Your meeting today is in preparation for the traditional pilgrimage of university students from across Poland to Our Lady of Jasna Góra. I hope that in this Jubilee Year your pilgrimage will be the occasion for a renewal of your creative missionary spirit, so that you may be witnesses in all areas of university life. May the Jubilee's motto: "The university, for a new humanism", which I entrust to you this evening, spur and guide you in preparing your university communities for the Jubilee and the meetings with young people in Rome. I ask you to entrust to Mary the pastoral care of universities in Poland and the whole Church. Praised be Jesus Christ!
7. I once again turn to all of you in St Peter's Square. Before ending, I would like to greet those taking part in the pilgrimage of the Knights of Columbus, and, in a special way, Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn, the order's chaplain. I thank you for your participation and for your commitment to serving the Gospel. Continue generously to support the Church's work in universities in the most appropriate ways, so that contemporary culture can be inspired by the light of the Gospel.
As I invoke the heavenly protection of the Blessed Virgin on you, on those in this square, and on everyone who is joined to us by television and radio, I affectionately impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all.
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