The academic year began yesterday with Pope Benedict celebrating a Mass for the dozen or so Roman Pontifical Universities. The pontiff’s message to the students gathered for the liturgy was that our post-modern age needs a new evangelization and masters of the faith. He called on them to use their time in Rome to prepare for that mission.
Benedict XVI told the students that in our time it is more pressing than ever to consider the "new problems" of our modern age in the light of Christian revelation and to present truth "in a manner adapted to various cultures.” To accomplish this, the Pope said, “the need is felt for a new evangelization, and which needs masters of faith and appropriately-trained heralds and witnesses of the Gospel."
"The time you spend in Rome can and must serve to prepare you to undertake ... the task that awaits you in the various fields of apostolic activity,” the Holy Father said.
“In our own time, the Church's evangelizing mission requires, not only that the Gospel message be spread everywhere, but that it penetrate deeply into the way people think, into their criteria of judgment and their behavior. In a word," he concluded, "all the culture of modern man must be permeated by the Gospel."
The Pope also reminded the students that Rome is a city "rich in historical memories, in masterpieces of art and culture, and above all in eloquent Christian testimony.” He counseled them to let this Christian culture form them so that they will be prepared to give witness to the Gospel.