Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My Apostolic Journey to Benin this past week celebrated the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of its evangelization and enabled me to honour the memory of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, a great churchman and a noble son of that country. During Sunday Mass at the stadium of Cotonou I signed the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus and presented it to the entire Church in Africa.
The Exhortation gathers the fruits of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, held in Rome two years ago, and it offers guidelines for the Church’s future mission on the continent.
In the light of the Synod, the Church in Africa is called to deepened faith and commitment in the service to reconciliation, justice and peace. I ask you to join me in commending all Christ’s followers in Africa to the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Africa, so that by their witness of fidelity to God’s word, their commitment to the spread of the Gospel and their efforts to build communion, peace and solidarity they can become protagonists of a new season of hope for that great Continent.
I offer a cordial greeting to the Sisters of Jesus and Mary taking part in a course of spiritual renewal. I also greet the international group of Marist and Marianist Brothers. My warm welcome likewise goes to the pilgrims from Indonesia. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, including the groups from Nigeria, South Korea and the United States of America, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.