ROSARY WITH THE EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS OF ROME
ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II
Saturday, 2 March 2002
Dear Young University Students,
1. I greet you with great joy at the end of this period of reflection and Marian prayer on the first Saturday of March. As I thank you who have come in large numbers to the Paul VI Hall, I think of those who are hooked-up with us in several European cities, thanks to the radio and television. I greet in particular the university students of Athens, Moscow, Strasbourg, Budapest, Valencia and Vienna. I thank very much the choirs and the orchestra for their contribution, and Vatican Radio and the Television Centre that cooperated in bringing about this important and inspiring event.
3. I warmly greet you, dear students of the universities of Budapest and Vienna. This moment of common prayer gives us the joyful experience that our faith crosses boundaries and unites peoples. Let us be guided on the journey of a true Christian life by Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church! In this way we will be ready witnesses for God, the Father of all humanity. I am glad that I will be able to meet many of you on the occasion of the World Youth Day in Toronto.
5. In greeting you, dear university students in Valencia, I think of all the teachers and students of the famous universities of Spain, especially those who day by day make their Christian identity concrete day after day in collaboration with the university delegates and chaplains make their Christian identity concrete. May our prayer with the Mother of the Lord this afternoon help you continue your task of evangelization and make shine through your life the Easter life that is Christ. I wait for you in Toronto!
6. The bond of common faith that unites young people from various European countries and different cultural traditions is a comforting reason for hope. So it has always been in the history of the evangelization of the "old" continent: the Gospel and the cultures have walked side by side. This is today the undertaking of the Church. Dear young people, I ask you at your universities to promote the dialogue between faith and culture, so that the Gospel leaven may stimulate and sustain the spiritual and moral quality of the research and studies. Best wishes, my very best wishes and courage!
7. Only new men and women can renew history. I expect to see many of you at the next World meeting in Toronto, and it will help you to understand even more this pressing apostolic challenge: to be, at the beginning of the third millennium "the salt of the earth and the light of the world" (Mt 5,13). I also make an appointment with the young people of Rome in St Peter's Square on Thursday, 21 March, for the traditional celebration and prayers to prepare for World Youth Day.
Dear young people, this evening the Blessed Virgin has gathered us from all the corners of Europe.
May our eyes converge on the image of Our Lady of Loreto, the Virgin of silence and listening, Mother of the Son of God made man. Let us always look to her, asking her for that same readiness for divine grace. Thus in each one of you the Almighty will also work great things.
With this wish I embrace you all, near and far - but for me, all of you are close! - as I warmly bless you and your families, your universities and young people all over the world.