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Friday, 1 August 1969


It is with pleasure, dear friends, that We spend a few moments with you, to bring you Our congratulation and Our encouragement.

Your Centre works mainly for human promotion in a better organized society; you prepare yourselves here to collaborate, each in his own way, to the great enterprise of development. Your first concern is for the human person, with his urge to be recognized as a free man, with responsibilities, ready to take his full and rightful place in society. That place requires a good and honourable family life, decent working conditions and a just and adequate payment, a share in civic activities, and in lawful recreation - in a word, his complete and harmonious self-fulfilment.

As Our Lord reminded us in the parable of the talents, every man and woman, no matter how humble, in expected to do his utmost and exploit his abilities to the full. In our modern world, so fascinated by the marvellous achievements of science, immense effort is necessary to give due importance to the heart of man, to develop his ability to love, to share, to give, to receive, for, without this, material development may lead to a society dangerously under-developed in spiritual things.

In this regard, We cannot fail to emphasize the primary importance of the efforts being made in Africa to enable women to make an ever increasing contribution to the new civilization being built up here. As We wrote in Our «Message to Africa», «Today, the African woman is summoned to become ever more aware of her personal dignity, of her role as mother, and of her right to take part in the social life and progress of modern Africa» (Africae terrarum, n. 36). Rest assured, dear friends, that everything you do to help the women of your country take responsibility as educators in your families, your villages and your communities, will help guarantee the physical, moral and spiritual health of your society.

You are working together to bring about respect for the human person and for his right to life, to health, to work, to freedom and to religion. Your collaboration is for all persons, without distinction of class, race, or religion; and this, in the Christian ideal, is love for all men, that charity taught by Jesus: «By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if your have love for one another» (Jn. 13, 35).

May these words of Our Lord inspire you to persevere in your work, even when it is difficult, and encourage you in your high ideals. And may His richest blessings descend upon each one of you and your families. 


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