Pontiff Urges Cameroon to Seize the Moment

Assures People Visit Will Remain Deeply Etched in Memory

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YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon, MARCH 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is affirming the signs of hope in Cameroon, and is encouraging the people to build reconciliation and peace, and work to eliminate poverty and injustice.

This morning, after celebrating a private Mass, the Pope went from the apostolic nunciature to the Nsimalen airport, where he said this in a farewell address to the Cameroonians.

Completing the first phase of his apostolic visit to Africa, and preparing to fly to Angola for the second part, he noted, «The warmth of the African sun is reflected in the warmth of the hospitality that has been extended to me.»

He thanked all who played a part in his visit, and above all, «those who have been praying so hard that this pastoral visit will bear fruit for the life of the Church in Africa.»

The Pontiff asked that all continue to pray «that the second special assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops will prove to be a time of grace for the Church throughout the continent, a time of renewal and rededication to the mission to bring the healing message of the Gospel to a broken world.»

Signs of hope

He affirmed, «Many of the scenes I have witnessed here will remain deeply etched on my memory.»

Of these, he underlined his visit to the Cardinal Léger Center, saying that «it was most moving to observe the care that is taken of the sick and the disabled, some of the most vulnerable members of our society.» He added, «That Christ-like compassion is a sure sign of hope for the future of the Church and for the future of Africa.»

The Holy Father also recalled his meeting with Muslims, stating, «As we continue on our journey towards greater mutual understanding, I pray that we will also grow in respect and esteem for one another, and strengthen our resolve to work together to proclaim the God-given dignity of the human person, a message that an increasingly secularized world needs to hear.»

He affirmed, «Truly this is a moment of great hope for Africa and for the whole world.»

Benedict XVI told the people of Cameroon: «Seize the moment the Lord has given you!

«Answer his call to bring reconciliation, healing and peace to your communities and your society!

«Work to eliminate injustice, poverty and hunger wherever you encounter it!

He concluded, «May God bless this beautiful country, ‘Africa in miniature,’ a land of promise, a land of glory.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-25425?l=english

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