From the Synod to the Jubilee
Jubilee 2000 Search



One can say that preparations for the Jubilee began in Africa with the continental Synod of 1994, and were further developed with the visit by the Pope in September of the following year, when John Paul II charged the bishops of all dioceses with the task of carrying out the pastoral programs presented at the Synod. But Africa remains a continent made up of many specific cases, to be examined singularly. Exemplary, in the re-birth of a country bloodied by conflict, is the case of Angola, where the Bishops noted a sign of hope in the preparations for the Jubilee after years of civil war. The pastoral action of 1997, the first year of preparation for the appointment of the year 2000, was launched with a Note by the Archbishop of Luanda, Cardinal Alexandre Do Nascimento, focused on the figure of Christ and on the need to intensify the already started programme of catechesis. In the month of September, dedicated throughout the country to the study of the Bible, meetings were held which culminated in a large national celebration. Young people are taking part in pastoral courses which will end in spring with a national event. (Christ Saviour (from the temptation of violence and false idols, from misery, from hypocrisy…) and Christ prince of peace, were everywhere at the centre of study and reflection.

The Jubilee path of the Churches of the Maghreb proceeds in a situation characterised by signs of suffering. The Bishops of NAREP, (North African Regional Episcopal Conference), asked their faithful for a commitment to conversion and to study the faith focused on three objectives: strengthening the faith of man, giving greater concreteness to the presence of the Church in society, creating a more felt reality of community. In a situation of mourning and fratricidal war, North African Catholics are looking at the Jubilee as a «feast» which can break the spiral of violence and tensions. For the Bishops of South Africa, The Jubilee is a time for purification, mission, evangelisation; in nearby Zimbabwe, the Episcopal Conference focused on catechesis in 1997, while in 1998 it decided to promote a reflection on the life of the believer. In Rwanda, Jubilee celebrations will coincide with the country's centenary of evangelisation , and will provide the occasion for a collective examination of conscience in view of a real change after years of terrible wars and massacres. As far as Mali is concerned, 1996 and 1997 were years which saw the Church committed to the reflection of themes including evangelisation, justice and peace; while in 1998 and the following years Jubilee preparations will be focused on catechesis and parish celebrations. In the Ivory Coast, the eve of the Jubilee is being lived in the sign of reconciliation and ecumenical commitment. In the diocese of Abidjan liturgical, biblical and catechetical notes were circulated to familiarise the faithful with the themes of the Jubilee. Finally, in Tanzania, the incarnation of Christ in the African family was the theme of reflection for the whole of 1997.