The Church in Africa in service to reconciliation, justice and peace
“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world” (Mt 5: 13, 14)
In keeping with the desires of the episcopate of Africa, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, officially convoked the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which is to take place in the Vatican from 4 to 25 October 2009. After due consultation, the Bishop of Rome, the Head of the Episcopal College and President of the Synod of Bishops, chose as the topic for this synodal gathering: The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace: “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world” (Mt 5: 13, 14).
(…) 146. The Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops is an important moment for the Church-Family of God in Africa. It is a kairos (cf. Mk 1:15). St. Paul the Apostle writes in his Letter to the Corinthians: “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). This is the acceptable time for reconciling each person to God and one another. This reconciliation will bring about justice and peace. Just as Jesus accomplished his mission through bearing his cross, all Christ’s disciples in Africa, who have received “the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess 1:6), must likewise in their flesh break down “the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14). In effect, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, … because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:3-5). Christ is the one who guides “our feet into the way of peace.” (Lk 1:79) and entrusts to the Church the “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18).
147. The need for reconciliation on the continent is today more urgent than ever. The reconciliation which will regenerate the human family, sought so much by Africa, is obtained in a justice which is more than human and a peace which is more profound than the absence of war or the silence of arms. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has invited the faithful to implore the Holy Spirit, who is the source of reconciliation in the Son and who works in people’s hearts. “The Spirit is also the energy which transforms the heart of the ecclesial community, so that it becomes a witness before the world to the love of the Father, who wishes to make humanity a single family in his Son.” Convinced that “in the midst of conflict and division, we know it is (God) who turns our minds to thoughts of peace,” people make an offering of their suffering and activity so that “those who were estranged join hands in friendship, and nations seek the way of peace together” (cf. 2 Cor 5:18). Building the civilization of love is everyone’s responsibility.
148. The Church-Family of God in Africa, faithful to her vocation to announce the Good News of the Gospel, desires to open herself more and more to the mission ad intra on the continent itself and ad extra towards the Churches of other continents in contact with her. So that this openness can be a “witness … to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8), Christians and Christian communities on the continent wish equally to open their hearts to immigrants from other countries and continents. In their work, the force of the Gospel will provide energy for the Church-Family of God in service to reconciliation, justice and peace.
149. With Mary, the Church in Africa is open to the action of the Holy Spirit so that, in and through her members on the continent, the face of the earth might be renewed:
Holy Mary,?Mother of God, Protectress of Africa,?You have given to the world the true Light, Jesus Christ.
Through your obedience to the Father and the grace of the Holy Spirit?You have given us the source of our reconciliation and our justice,?Jesus Christ, our peace and our joy.
Mother of Tenderness and Wisdom,?Show us Jesus, your Son and the Son of God?Guide our path of conversion?So that Jesus might shine his glory on us?In every aspect of our personal, familial and social lives.
Mother, full of Mercy and Justice,?Through your docility to the Spirit, the Counselor,?Obtain for us the grace to be witnesses of the Risen Lord,?So that we will increasingly become?The salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Mother of Perpetual Help,?We entrust to your maternal intercession?the preparation and fruits of the Second Special Assembly for Africa.
Queen of Peace, pray for us!
Our Lady of Africa, pray for us!
(conclusion of the “Instrumentum Laboris” – African Synod)
OTHER LINKS :
- Pope says African church must oppose ‘toxic waste’ of materialism
- Pope: “Church in Africa, the leaven of reconciliation”
- Pope Benedict XVI: Africa, an Enormous Spiritual “Lung” for Humanity
- A video presentation of the second synod of Bishops (Africa)