Highlights From Pope Benedict XVI's Visit to Benin, Africa
and meditation on the Word of God. The Scriptures must have a central place in the life of the Church and of each Christian.
8) This morning, the Holy Father celebrated Mass for the feast of Christ the King. His homily was the last major address of the trip. He said:
-- Let us allow Christ to free us from the world of the past! Our faith in him, which frees us from all our fears and miseries, gives us access to a new world, a world where justice and truth are not a byword, a world of interior freedom and of peace with ourselves, with our neighbours and with God. This is the gift God gave us at our baptism!
9) In a brief message to entrust "Africae Munus" to the Church, the Holy Father reiterated one of the fundamental ideas of his papacy:
-- [The Good News] is not just a message or a word. It is above all openness and adhesion to a person: Jesus Christ the incarnate Word.
10) Before leading the faithful in the midday Angelus, Benedict XVI spoke of a new chapter for the Church in Africa. He also stressed the importance of the family:
-- Dear Brothers and Sisters of Africa, this land which sheltered the Holy Family, may you continue to cultivate Christian family values. At a time when so many families are separated, in exile, grief-stricken as a result of unending conflicts, may you be artisans of reconciliation and hope. With Mary, Our Lady of the Magnificat, may you always abide in joy. May this joy remain deep within the hearts of your families and your countries!
11) And ready to leave Benin, Benedict XVI left this final message:
-- I wanted to visit Africa once more; it is a continent for which I have a special regard and affection, for I am deeply convinced that it is a land of hope. I have already said this many times. Here are found authentic values which have much to teach our world; they need only to spread and blossom with God's help and the determination of Africans themselves.
The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus can greatly assist in this, for it opens up pastoral horizons and will lead to creative initiatives. I entrust it to the faithful of Africa as a whole, to study carefully and to translate into concrete actions in daily life. Cardinal Gantin, that eminent son of Benin whose greatness was so widely acknowledged that this Airport bears his name, took part with me in a number of Synods. He made a vital and much-appreciated contribution to them. May he accompany the implementation of this document!
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