II ORDINARY SPECIAL ASSEMBLY FOR
The Church in Africa at the Service of
Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.
This Bulletin is only a working instrument for
17 - 10.10.2009
- ROSARY WITH THE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS (SATURDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2009)
ROSARY WITH THE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS (SATURDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2009)
- SPEECH BY THE HOLY FATHER
A second “Virtual tour in Africa”. It was the same General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, H.E. Mons. Nikola Eterović, closing the Fifth General Congregation to call the meeting of this evening, Saturday, 10 October, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. The Holy Father Benedict XVI presided over the Holy Rosary “With Africa and for Africa”. The Synod Fathers and the university students from Roman colleges were present at the meeting, connected by satellite to young university students from nine African capitals: Cairo (Egypt), Nairobi (Kenya) Khartoum (Sudan), Antananarivo (Madagascar), Johannesburg (South Africa), Onitsha (Nigeria), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Maputo (Mozambique), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). The meeting is organized by the General Secretary of the Synod of the Bishops and by the Pastoral University Office of the Vicar of Rome, on the occasion of the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The vigil will commence at 5:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m. the Holy Father entered the Hall to guide the Holy Rosary. The accompaniment was by the National Orchestra of the Conservatory of Music and of the Choirs of the Conservatories and of the Italian Universities. At the end of the vigil, the “Pilgrimage of the Cross”
[00194-02.01]  [Original text: Italian]
During the course of the meeting, the Holy Father made the following speech.
SPEECH BY THE HOLY FATHER
Venerable Synod Fathers,
Dear brothers and sisters, dear university students!
At the end of this Marian prayer meeting, I send my most cordial greetings to all, with a sentiment of particular recognition for the Synodal Fathers present.
I thank the Italian Authorities, who supported this initiative, and above all the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops and the Office for the University Pastoral of the Vicariate of Rome, who promoted and organized it.
Dear university friends of Rome, to you as well goes a sincere “thanks”, for having answered my invitation in so many. As you know, the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops is being held in the Vatican in this period. The fact of meeting together, the Successor of Peter and the many Shepherds of the Church in Africa with other qualified experts, is a reason for joy and hope, it expresses communion and nourishes it. The Fathers of the Church have already compared the Christian community to an orchestra or an orderly and harmonious choir, just like those that animated our prayer, and to whom go our thanks.
As on previous occasions, this evening too, we have used modern technology in telecommunications to “throw a net out” - a net of prayer! - connecting Rome to Africa. And thus, thanks to the collaboration of Telespazio, the Centro Televisivo Vaticano and Vatican Radio, many university students from the different African cities, with their Pastors also took part in the Rosary. I would like to send them an affectionate greeting.
Brothers and sisters of the French language, particularly you who have joined us from Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt, I send my most cordial greetings. I invite you to remain united in prayer with the Bishops of all of Africa who are gathered in Rome at the Synod, so that the Church may bring her effective contribution to reconciliation, justice and peace, to this beloved continent, and that she may be an authentic sign of hope for all African peoples, “salt of the earth... and light of the world”. May the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa, watch over you in peace and guide you to her son Jesus the Savior! May God bless you!
Dear Friends, I greet with affection the many young students, especially those from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan, who have joined us in our prayer to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. We have entrusted to her maternal protection the success of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. May her intercession sustain Christians everywhere, especially the peoples of Africa, and may her example teach us to turn to the Lord and persevere in prayer in our sorrows and our joys. I extend a special greeting to the young men and women of Africa who are present in my heart and in my prayers. May you always be uncompromising witnesses and active promoters of justice, reconciliation and peace.
I salute the university students gathered in Maputo with the rosary in their hands and the name of Mary on their lips, praying with Africa and for Africa, so that the Christian faithful, filled with the Holy Spirit, may accomplish the mission they received from Jesus: to be the salt of the earth and the light that guides the world to reconciliation and peace. Thank you, my friends, for your prayer and for your Christian testimony! May the Virgin Mother watch over you, and I entrust all the youth of Mozambique and the other African countries whose official language is Portuguese to her.
In preparation for today’s meeting, a conference was held in Rome, organized by the Office for Cooperation in Development of the Foreign Ministry and the Vicariate of Rome, on the theme “For a new culture of development in Africa: the role of university cooperation”. In expressing my appreciation and encouragement to continue with this project, I want to underline the importance of the education of young intellectuals and the scientific and cultural exchange between universities to propose and animate an integral human development in Africa and the other continents. In this context, I entrusted ideally to you, dear young people, the Encyclical Caritas in veritate, in which I recall the urgency of elaborating a new humanistic synthesis (cf No. 21) that reestablishes the links between anthropology and theology. Meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, we have once again seen the true face of God who reveals to us his presence in the life of every people in Jesus Christ. The God of Jesus Christ walks with man: and thanks to Him it is possible to build the civilization of love (cf op.cit. 39). Dear university students of Rome and Africa, I ask you to be operators of intellectual charity, which is necessary to face up to the great challenges of contemporary history, in the Church and in society. At university you must be sincere and passionate seekers of truth, building academic communities of the highest intellectual standard, where it is possible to exercise and enjoy that open and vast rationality that paves the way to the meeting with God. Know how to build bridges of scientific and cultural collaboration between your various universities, especially with the African ones. And to you, dear African students, I invite you in particular to live your period of study as a preparation to carry out a service of cultural animation in your countries. The new evangelization in Africa is also counting on your generous efforts.
Dear brothers and sisters, with this reciting of the Rosary we have entrusted the II Synod for Africa to the maternal intercession of the Holy Virgin. We place in her hands the hopes, expectations and projects of the African peoples, along with their difficulties and sufferings. To all of you who are linked to us from the different parts of Africa, and to all of you present here, I impart with all my heart the Apostolic Blessing.
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