The Church in Africa is in need of “paths of missionary, ecological conversion, peace, reconciliation and transformation of the whole world”, Pope Francis said in a video message to the participants in the second Pan-African Catholic Congress on Theology, Society and Pastoral Life, taking place at the University of East Africa in Nairobi, from 19 to 22 July. The following is the English text of the Holy Father’s message, which was published on Tuesday, 19 July.
Sisters, Brothers of the Pan-African Catholic Theological and Pastoral Network:
I am delighted to hear about this meeting at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi.
I know that you are meeting for the II Pan-African Catholic Congress on Theology, Society and Pastoral Life.
It is a sign of hope that theologians, laity, priests, men and women religious, bishops have taken the initiative to walk together.
Coming together to discern what God is telling us today, not only to meet challenging needs with certainty, but also to make African dreams come true (social, cultural, ecological and ecclesial dreams) is already a sign of an outgoing African Church.
Continue your efforts.
In my visits to Africa, I have always been impressed by the faith and resilience of these peoples. As I commented during my trip to the Central African Republic in 2015, “Africa always surprises us.” Bring out the best of you in these reflections so that the result will be a surprise, so that that African creation that surprises us all can be born.
Because Africa is poetry.
The wisdom of the African ancestors reminds us for this important call that “mountains never meet, but people do.” Let us continue on. Together. Accompanying one another, helping one another, and growing together.
May a wisdom theology, as you propose, be the good news of mercy for the poor and nourish people and communities in their struggle for life, peace and hope.
May the Holy Spirit inspire you — may paths emerge from this congress that the Church needs: paths of missionary, ecological conversion, peace, reconciliation and transformation of the whole world.
And I bless you all. God bless us all.
May the Virgin be with us.
And please don’t forget to pray for me.