Vatican City (Fides Service) - On Friday 9 May Pope John Paul II received in audience in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican, participants at the International Congress promoted by the Pontifical Lateran University on the theme: “John Paul II: 25 years of Pontificate- The Church at the service of mankind”. “I return in thought to the three visits that the Lord granted me to make to you college in these years – the Holy Father said in his address. Every meeting of this kind reawakens in my soul the memory of experiences of university life of academic teaching at Krakow and Lublin…Every stage and lap of this university life and pastoral ministry, an essential point of reference for me has been concern for the person, placed at the centre of all philosophical and theological research”.
Recalling what he wrote in his first encyclical Redemptor hominis (14) (this man is the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission: he is the primary and fundamental way for the Church, the way traced out by Christ himself, the way that leads invariably through the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption”) the Holy Father said: “The message of the Gospel is for man of every race and culture, so it may be a beacon of light and salvation in the different situations in which he has to live. This perennial service of the ‘truth’ of man fascinates those who have at heart that he may learn ever more about himself and perceive, with growing awareness, his longing to meet Christ who is the full realisation of man. Here we have a vast field of action, also for those like you who intend to contribute with missionary dynamism to identifying new paths for the evangelisation of cultures”.
Lastly the Pope recalled that the Pontifical Lateran University, with all the other many ecclesiastical centres of study “constitute a singular gymnasium in which different generations of ‘apostles’ many have a personal experience of Christ, deepening their knowledge and preparing themselves to be, through the pastoral ministry, witnesses of his love.”SL (Fides Service 10/5/2003 EM lines 24 Words: 334)