VATICAN CITY, MAR 21, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for the Secretariat of State, read a message from John Paul II to participants in the 38th University Congress UNIV, whose theme this year is: "Projecting Culture: the language of music." Also present at the meeting, which was held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, was Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of the personal prelature of Opus Dei.

Before listening to the Pope's message, 4,000 students and teachers from more than 200 universities throughout the world who participate in the formative activities promoted by the prelature of Opus Dei, watched a film of the meeting of the Holy Father with UNIV participants in 1985, the International Year of Youth.

"Music, like all artistic languages," writes the Holy Father in his message, "brings man closer to God. ... Yet at the same time, art can on occasion transmit a conception of man, of love and of happiness that does not correspond to the truth of God's design. For this reason it is necessary to discern clearly."

The Pope also affirms that young people must "renew the languages of art and of culture," and have the courage "not to accept forms of behavior and entertainment marked by noise and excess."

After recalling that "the vocation of the lay faithful is holiness, animating temporal reality in a Christian way," John Paul II writes: "Dear university students and teachers, as St. Josemaria liked to repeat, work and study must be 'a constant prayer for you. It has the same loveable words, but a different tune each day. It is very much our mission to transform the prose of this life into poetry, into heroic verse'."

"May Mary Most Holy help you to encounter her Son Jesus Christ in the liturgy of this Holy Week and in the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist."
MESS/UNIV 2005/SANDRI VIS 050321 (330)