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Parade Ground of the University of Santo Tomas, Manila
Friday, 13 January 1995


Dear Father Rector,
Dominican Fathers,
Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of Santo Tomás,
Distinguished Faculty and Students of the "University Belt",

1. I am deeply grateful to all of you for your presence here, and to Father Rector for his kind words of welcome. As a Pontifical University, Santo Tomás has a special right to the Pope’s attention. In fact, this is the third visit of a Pope to the oldest university in Asia: Pope Paul VI came here in 1970; I came in 1981 and now God gives me the grace of being here again to meet the "university world" of the Philippines. As a former University student and Professor myself, I feel a special affinity with you. I wish to encourage you to live the University experience with dedication and commitment, in the pursuit of human and academic excellence, with a great sense of responsibility towards your families and society, towards your future and the future of your country.

2. A University, and especially a Catholic university, cannot but be sensitive to the widespread and growing demand in society for authentic values, for sure ethical guidelines and for a transcendent vision of life’s meaning. A University therefore should not only impart knowledge according to the proper principles and methods of each area of study and with due freedom of scientific investigation; it should also educate men and women who will be true leaders in the scientific, technical, economic, cultural and social fields. It should thus be a community with a mission to train leaders in the all important field of life itself; leaders who have made a personal synthesis between faith and culture, who are willing and able to assume tasks in the service of the community and of society in general, bearing witness to their faith both in private and in public. May my visit therefore serve to encourage the Filipino academic community to reflect on "the priority of the ethical over the technical, of the primacy of the person over things, of the superiority of the spirit over matter" (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Lutetiae Parisiorum, allocutio ad eos qui conventui Consilii ab exsecutione internationalis organismi compendiariis litteris UNESCO nuncupati affuere, 22, die 2 iun. 1980: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, III, 1 (1980) 1654. ). The cause of the human person will only be served if knowledge is linked to conscience, if men and women of science preserve the sense of the transcendence of the human person over the world, and of God over the human person (Cfr. John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 18).

3. Most of you are still young, and youth constitutes a very special chapter in the book of life: there is enthusiasm, energy, hope and expectation. The "problems of life" have not yet come to stay. Instead, you are acquiring the skills and experience which will make you mature citizens of your nation and true sons and daughters of the Church – the Church which loves you and needs your co–operation.

What does the Church look for in Filipino youth? For help in saving your own generation from the futility, frustration and emptiness in which so many of your contemporaries find themselves. When I think of all the young men and women who should be the strength, the hope and even the conscience of society, but instead are caught in a web of uncertainty, or are desperately seeking happiness along paths that cannot lead to happiness – then I pray all the more that the young Catholics of the end of the twentieth century will come to an ever more profound knowledge of Jesus Christ and will be convinced of the marvelous challenge and adventure which he represents for every one of us.

4. In Christ and in his teaching you will find "the way, and the truth, and the life". In him you will discover the answer to all the fundamental questions. The world and the Church need young people who know that the beauty of living consists in giving oneself to others, in doing good to others. Let the light of Christ enlighten your consciences to true good, and to the evil of sin and everything that tarnishes true love.

 Young people of the Philippines, the modern world needs a new kind of young person: it needs men and women who are capable of self–discipline, capable of committing themselves to the highest ideals, ready to change radically the false values which have enslaved so many young people and adults. All this is possible with trust in the Lord, and with the help of good teachers, in the University and in your parishes and groups.

5. This University was founded in 1611 under the title of "Santo Tomás de Nuestra Señora del Rosario". The Blessed Mother is a special teacher for all of us. She teaches us the most important lesson of all: love of God and love of neighbor for God’s sake. May our Lady continue to love and protect all of you! May she be close to your families! May God bless you all, bless the youth of the Filipino people and all the Filipino country. I see that it was my great privilege to be here and to discover anew this phenomenon I knew before. By today I knew better. This great phenomenon of the world and of the Church and to the world and to the Church and this phenomenon is called Filipino people... to discover anew the Philippines that is this phenomenon that I admire and I should. And I congratulate all the missionaries who came to you, who brought you Santo Tomás University. I congratulate also for this special experience, for this dear Catholic university in the Philippines of Santo Tomás. I congratulate this great doctor as his disciple. And at the end I congratulate Cardinal Sin, and Cardinal Vidal, and the Bishops of your Church, this wonderful, wonderful Church of the Philippines. Thank you very much. Thank God for all of you.

John Paul II, he loves you and tries to bring you a blessing.


After the Holy Father's blessing:

Amen! Amen! Amen! Mabuhay!

I am very grateful for your gifts. All the gifts are expressing one gift. It is the gift of your hearts, of the hearts of the Filipino youth, young people, men and women. Very grateful.


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