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Enriched by listening

· The picture of a continent and expectations of the conference at the Urbaniana ·

Rector Alberto Trevisiol and the bottom line

“In the Pontifical University Urbaniana, which belongs to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, half the students come from African countries. It was then clear, after the Synod on Africa and the promulgation of the Apostolic Exhortation Africae munus , that we must step upto  the commitment called for by the Exhortation for the African people. And thus we found it natural to meet and reflect over the document and to speak in depth about Africa”, thus Alberto Trevisiol, Rector of the Pontifical Urbaniana University explained the genesis of the conference: “Listening to Africa: its context, its expectations, its potential”.

What is the bottom line of these three days?

Above all what has surprised everyone is the great participation, quantitative and qualitative, and especially the emotional. It was impressive to see how the assembly reacted and welcomed the statements with attentive appreciation. Certainly even more meaningful was the fact that Africa became closer to us as a lead character. Secondly, Africa, which desired to speak for itself, was welcomed. Finally, I would like to underline the depth the speakers' statements, which were touched on both from an intellectual and practical point of view, speaking as priests, pastors and men with wisdom. Men, especially who in the African style, used words not only to convey a message but to communicate an experience. And the conference unfolded through listening.

What were the most salient points of these three days?

Above the evidence of a dynamism underlying the problems in Africa. Africa is a continent which is on a social and Christian path. Above all, it is on a path which produces thought. And for us it is important to understand the meeting points of African theology and of hermeneutics which this theology gives to its own reality.  It is meaningful to further the faith lived in a cultural context, like that of Africa, which tends to free itself from many external burdens in order to gather the depth of the Christian message but also to touch the multiplicity of the cultures on the continent which,  as distinct as they are, in the end merge into an African quality which is easily distinguished. We have understood the need for a deepening of this reality and for a greater closeness: not only to bring Africa into our thoughts and our culture, but to mostly be graced with the country's enormous inner riches.

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