Pope, Bishops, University Students Join in Rosary

Pontiff Presents Encyclical as Call for New Humanism

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- In the context of the synod of bishops on Africa, Benedict XVI joined with university students to pray the rosary "with Africa and for Africa."

The Pope and participants from the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops were joined via satellite by university students from nine African metropolises.

The Holy Father told the student that the synod, under way in Rome until Oct. 25, is "a reason for joy and hope."

"It expresses communion and nourishes it," he explained.

The cities that participated in the rosary via satellite were Cairo, Egypt; Nairobi, Kenya; Khartoum, Sudan; Antananarivo,  Madagascar; Johannesburg, South Africa; Onitsha, Nigeria; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Maputo, Mozambique; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. University students from Roman universities joined in as well.

Intellectual charity

"Meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary," Benedict XVI told the youth, "we have once again seen the true face of God who reveals to us his presence in the life of every people in Jesus Christ. The God of Jesus Christ walks with man, and thanks to him it is possible to build the civilization of love.

"Dear university students of Rome and Africa, I ask you to be operators of intellectual charity, which is necessary to face up to the great challenges of contemporary history, in the Church and in society. At university you must be sincere and passionate seekers of truth, building academic communities of the highest intellectual standard, where it is possible to exercise and enjoy that open and vast rationality that paves the way to the meeting with God."

The Pope exhorted the African students to take their years of study as "preparation to carry out a service of cultural animation in your countries."

"The new evangelization in Africa is also counting on your generous efforts," he affirmed.

The rosary was organized by the general secretariat of the synod of bishops and by the Pastoral University Office of the Vicariate of Rome.

The National Orchestra of the Conservatory of Music and of the Choirs of the Conservatories and of the Italian Universities accompanied the prayer.

Charity in truth

Benedict XVI symbolically presented the youth with a copy of his latest encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate."

In this regard, he told the youth, "I want to underline the importance of the education of young intellectuals and the scientific and cultural exchange between universities to propose and animate an integral human development in Africa and the other continents."

In the encyclical, the Pontiff said, "I recall the urgency of elaborating a new humanistic synthesis that re-establishes the links between anthropology and theology."

With the projector screens in Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father was linked to the capital of Egypt, where Sherif Samir, an engineering student and a Coptic Christian, gave a testimony on the link between the sacraments and university life. Then, in each of the assemblies, the presiding bishops blessed the students with holy water.

Seeing war

The Pope and the students prayed the glorious mysteries of the rosary. The Holy Father began with the Our Father and then the mysteries were led by students from Nairobi, Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Khartoum and Ouagadougou.

The litanies were led by students from Kinshasa in the local language.

Following the rosary, there was a procession of the cross.

Before the Pontiff's arrival to Paul VI Hall, the students shared testimonies on reconciliation, justice and peace -- the themes of the synod.

The testimony of Helcio Manuel Parruque, a student of electronics in Maputo, Mozambique, brought particular attention. He affirmed: "War destroys everything -- hope, smiles, the future, dreams, the economy. [...] Only someone who has seen war knows how necessary peace really is."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-27147?l=english