Monday, March 16, 2015
"In Christ, this beloved continent of Comboni, where he wanted to end his life, needs courageous and prophetic political leaders, who can be inspired by the Gospel; Bishops and priests according to the heart of Christ; generous and responsible lay faithful, devoted children, who see their land not as a problematic and miserly place, but full of goodness and hope that one sows and builds". These are the words with which Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples concluded his homily during the Mass he presided on Sunday, March 15, at the closing of the Conference "Africa, a continent on the move".
From left at the altar:
Fr. Enrique Sánchez González,
of the Comboni Missionaries;
Cardinal Fernando Filoni;
and Fr. Alberto Pelucchi,
of the Comboni Missionaries.
The Prefect of the Congregation cited the two Special Synods that "thoroughly scrutinized Africa", in 1994 and 2009, which gave rise to the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa" and "Africae Munus". In particular, the latter focused attention on the need for reconciliation, the promotion of peace and justice in truth.
"Extremely appropriate words – said the Cardinal – in the context of a Continent plagued by numerous wars, violence and hatred, especially in the north , and in the Sub-Saharan Africa Region. And what about the other wars: Ebola, malaria, dengue, AIDS, and the many endemic diseases which affect people everywhere? Then there are tribal divisions, the looting of natural and mineral resources, the poverty of many which contrasts with the wealth of a few and corruption at various levels".
"Africae Munus" drew Africa to have courage, to stand up. "It is an appeal to the re-generation of the Continent – said Cardinal Filoni – almost an echo to that 'Plan for the regeneration of Africa', which was conceived by Comboni in 1864, 150 years ago. The central idea: 'regenerating Africa with Africa', today we can say that this continent now has about 536 ecclesiastical circumscriptions for an estimated population of 1.06614 billion inhabitants with 200 million Catholics ... the dream of Comboni, thanks to the work of men and women religious, laity, in these 150 years of missionary service has become reality".
Commenting then the readings of the day, Cardinal Filoni emphasized that Africa "needs encouragement and solidarity. It does not need migration, purchase of weapons, or looting. It needs solidarity: this is the new dream!", and concluded: "Christ is the source of its spiritual and moral regeneration. Africa should not be a 'problem', but a land that can grow and develop, and participate in international life".
The full text of Card. Filoni’s homily, in Italian