VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2009 ( Benedict XVI entrusted the fruits of the Africa synod to the faithful on the continent, urging them to the "salt and light" of their homeland.

The Pope said this today before praying the midday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, and after celebrating the concluding liturgy of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

The three-week assembly, which gathered 33 cardinals, 79 archbishops and 156 bishops, considered the theme "The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace."

"The synodal fathers, who have come from every country in Africa, have presented the rich reality of the local Churches," the Pontiff said. "We have shared their joys for the dynamism of the Christian communities that continue to grow in quantity and quality.

"We are grateful to God for the missionary élan that has found fertile ground in numerous dioceses and that is expressed in the sending of missionaries to other African countries and different continents."

The Holy Father said that special importance was given to the topic of the family, which he recalled is the "primary cell of society, but which today is threatened by foreign ideological currents."

He also recalled the that the synod addressed Africa's "great need of reconciliation, of justice and of peace. Precisely to this the Church responds re-proposing, with renewed impetus, the proclamation of the Gospel and the action of human promotion.

"Animated by the Word of God and the Eucharist, she strives make it so that no one is deprived of the necessaries for living and that all may lead an existence worthy of the human being."

Apostolic trip

Benedict XVI recalled the apostolic trip he took in March to Cameroon and Angola, during which he presented the working document for the Africa Synod.

He continued: "Today I would like to turn to all the people of Africa, in particular to those who share the Christian faith, to consign to them in spirit the Final Message of this synodal Assembly.

"It is a message that comes from Rome, the see of the Successor of Peter, who presides over the universal communion, but one can say, in a sense that is no less true, that it has its origin in Africa, whose experiences, expectations, plans, it gathers and now returns to Africa, bearing wealth of an event of profound communion in the Holy Spirit."

"Dear brothers and sisters who listen to me from Africa," he urged. "I entrust to your prayers in a special way the fruits of the labors of the Synod fathers, and I encourage you with the words of the Lord Jesus: Be salt and light in the beloved African land!"

The Pope then noted that a Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops will take place next year at the Vatican, and that he will present the working document for that meeting during his visit to Cyprus in June 2010.