The initiative for universities was promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) and the vicariate of Rome's office for pastoral care in universities. This year’s them was: "Intellectual charity, the way to renewed cooperation between Europe and Asia."
During the gathering there were satellite linkups with university students in the cities of Turin, Bologna, Manchester, Coimbra, Krakow, Prague, Tirana, Hong Kong, Calcutta, Manila and Islamabad.
At 5 p.m. the Holy Father arrived to pray the Rosary. He then extended greetings in various languages, both to the young people present in the Paul VI Hall and to those following events from the European and Asian cities.
"Intellectual charity," said Pope Benedict, "can unite the existential journeys of young people who, though they live at great distances from one another, nonetheless feel linked by their interior quest and the witness they bear." Briefly abandoning his prepared text, he then added: "perhaps I should write a new chapter of my Encyclical 'Deus caritas est' on the subject of intellectual charity."
The Pope called upon the university students to make an "original and creative" contribution to "building a new humanism, based on fruitful dialogue between faith and reason."
"The mystery of the Cross is not removed from the theme of intellectual charity, on the contrary, it illuminates it," he said. "Christian wisdom is the wisdom of the Cross. Christian students and, even more so, Christian teachers, interpret all reality in the light of the mystery of God's love, which has in the Cross its highest and most complete revelation.
"Dear young people," he added, "I entrust you once again to the Cross of Christ: accept it, embrace it, follow it. It is the tree of life! At its foot you will always find Mary, Mother of Jesus. With her, throne of wisdom, turn your gaze upon Him Who was pierced for us, contemplate the infinite fountain of love and truth, and you too will become joyful disciples and witnesses. This is my hope for each of you."
.- On Saturday the Holy Father gathered by way of satellite link with thousands of university students from around Europe and Asia. Pope Benedict XVI joined a prayer vigil in the Paul VI Hall for the occasion of the fifth European Day for Universities. The Pope reminded the thousands of students gathered at the Vatican, as well as those joining him by satellite link that the Cross of Christ serves to illuminate all wisdom and learning for Christian students and teachers.