“Courage, Get up African continent, the land that welcomed the Saviour when as a child he had to take refuge with Joseph and Mary in Egypt!”
These were the words spoken by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in Rome as he concluded the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.
Accompanied by Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of South Africa and newly appointed President of the Pontifical Council for justice and Peace Cardinal John Turkson, together with all the Synod delegates, the Holy Father concluded the special assembly sending the pastors back to their flock in Africa with a message of hope.
Echoing the words of the Gospel about the cure of the blind man Bartimeus by Jesus, he said Africa had suffered for too long from the slavery of famine and diseases. “It is time to arise and to walk in the light that Christ provides,” he said.
He Termed the synod as carrying a message of hope for Africa, hoping that the deliberations and the outcome would achieve true reconciliation, justice, and that agents of evangelization would be true salt of the earth and light of the world.
The colourful liturgy that was animated by choirs from Nigerian and Ethiopian, among others, concluded three weeks of intense deliberation, culminating with a release of a message by the Synod fathers, which urged Africans to rise from the times when Africa was described as ‘a dark continent to a new dawn where it must be a continent of light and hope’.
With the celebration, the synod fathers return to their respective countries and dioceses. A council of 15 people that was elected towards the end of the synod, together with the Synod secretariat will work on the final product of the synod for the Holy Father to exalt later.
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