Pope Benedict received a group of Nigerian bishops at the Vatican this week a month before his own trip to Africa.
He touched on the theme of ethnic conflict in Africa and talked about divisions inside the church. But he went on to highlight the church’s growth in the African continent
“Almighty God has blessed the Church in your country with generous growth. This is especially visible in the number of new Christians who have received Christ into their hearts and accept joyfully the Church as "the pillar and bulwark of the truth."
The Pope urged the Bishops to continue promoting the church through pastoral missions of counsel and dialogue.
I see that you are well aware of the basic steps involved: teaching the art of prayer, encouraging participation in the liturgy and the sacraments, wise and relevant preaching, catechetical instruction, and spiritual and moral guidance.
Benedict is set to visit Angola and Cameroon in March on his first visit to Africa as pontiff. He’s expected to meet with leaders of both countries as well as leaders of the Islamic faith.