Pope: Africa Needs Our Generosity and Prayer

Benedict XVI Departs for Benin

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ROME, NOV. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).- This morning Benedict XVI began his 22nd international trip, which takes him to Benin for the signing and publication of the postsynodal apostolic exhortation «Africae munus,» a trip that coincides with the 150th anniversary of the evangelization of the west African country.

The Pope was seen off at the Leonardo da Vinci international airport of Rome-Fiumicino by Mario Monti, the new Italian prime minster.

The Pontiff’s Alitalia A330 plane took off at 9 a.m.. His arrival at the Cardinal Bernardin Gantin international airport of Cotonou, Benin, was scheduled for 3 p.m..

As Benedict XVI left Italian territory he sent a telegram to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

«At the moment that I prepare to undertake an apostolic journey to Benin, moved by the intense desire to meet with brothers in the faith and the inhabitants of that beloved country, I am pleased to address to you, Mr. President, the expression of my deferent farewell which I accompany with fervent prayers for the good and prosperity of the whole Italian nation.»

The Holy Father also made an appeal for Africa at the end of the general audience Wednesday, when he addressed French-speakers with this invitation: «On Friday, I will visit the African continent. Do not forget it in your prayers and in your generosity! May God bless you!»

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