Nuncios Meet to Find Ways to Help Africa

Assembly Convoked by Vatican Secretary of State

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The apostolic nuncios of Africa are meeting at the Vatican to find ways to keep the world’s attention on that troubled continent.

The assembly, which opened today, was convoked by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano to “express the spiritual closeness of John Paul II and the solidarity of the universal Church to the peoples and local Churches in Africa,” said a statement from the Vatican press office.

The text added that the papal representatives in the African countries are trying to respond to “the urgent need — continually mentioned by the Holy Father — not to abandon this continent so that, by using its many and abundant natural and human resources, it can overcome the serious evils that afflict it and become the protagonist of its own integral development.”

Attendees at the meeting include Argentine Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for general affairs; Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states; and officials in the Roman Curia.

During the meeting, there will be “an exchange of information and participants will reflect on the political, social, economic, religious and ecclesial situation of the African continent and on the best ways to fulfill the delicate mission entrusted to them, a mission often marked by hardships and sacrifices,” the Vatican statement said.

Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization addressed the assembly today. The meeting concludes Saturday with an audience with the Pope in Castel Gandolfo.

The assembly will also honor the memory of Irish Archbishop Michael Courtney, apostolic nuncio in Burundi, who was slain last December.

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