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Monday, September 27, 2004


VATICAN CITY, SEP 25, 2004 (VIS) - The pontifical representatives from Africa and Madagascar, who have been meeting in the Vatican for three days with officials from the secretariat of State and various congregations of the Roman Curia, were welcomed today to Castelgandolfo by the Holy Father. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, organized this meeting to mark the 10th anniversary of the Synod for Africa and the sixth anniversary of the post-synodal document "Ecclesia in Africa."

  The Pope began his talk to the diplomats by recalling Archbishop Michael Courtney,  apostolic nuncio in Burundi who was assassinated last December. "May his heroic witness infuse renewed vigor in everyone working for peace in Burundi and on the entire continent of Africa."

  "I know," said John Paul II, "that you undertake your service with zeal and fidelity, in the midst of difficult situations, sharing the sufferings and dramas of the Churches and peoples to whom you were sent." Expressing his gratitude for their work, he added: "Know that the Pope and the Roman Curia are close to you, as witnessed by this meeting of ours."

  He underscored that "the Church in Africa must deal with old and new problems but it is also open to great hopes." Your work, he added, "is to accompany the development of ecclesial communities, favoring the integral progress of society and, above all, of sustaining the 'encounter of cultures with Christ and His gospel'."

  "In all of your commitments, "concluded the Holy Father, "continue to be witnesses to communion, helping to overcome tensions and misunderstandings, to defeat the temptation to particularisms, to strengthen the sense of belonging to the one and undivided People of God."
AC/NUNCIOS:AFRICA/...                        VIS 20040927 (280)

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