VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2011 (VIS) – Made public today was a video message of the Holy Father to students, staff and alumni of the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, for the four-hundredth anniversary of its foundation.

Speaking English the Pope gratefully recalls “the many clergy, religious and laity who, at Santo Tomas, have handed down to generations of Filipinos the faith, knowledge and wisdom to be found in the religious and secular sciences”.

“In particular”, he adds, “I salute the memory of your founder, Bishop Miguel de Benavides, and the great commitment of the Dominicans who have guided the institution through the many challenges of the past four centuries. As you know, the University of Santo Tomas is the oldest institution of Catholic higher education in the Far East and it continues to play a very important role in the Church throughout the region.

“I am confident”, the Holy Father concludes, “that, keeping in mind the faith and reason that are always part of a truly integrated approach to education, your university will continue to contribute to the intellectual, spiritual and cultural enrichment of the Philippines and beyond”.

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