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Pope’s mission Intention for August 2013

Vatican City, 01 August 2013: Pope’s mission intention for the month of August - that the local Church in Africa, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, may promote peace and justice.

The lack of peace and justice is evident in Africa. That was one of the reasons in favour of holding the second assembly of the African Bishops’ Synod in Rome in 2009, even though the first had taken place only 15 years earlier. The three principal elements of the theme chosen for the Synod, namely reconciliation, justice and peace, brought it face to face with its “theological and social responsibility”, and made it possible also to reflect on the Church’s public role and her place in Africa today.

However, The events of recent years have only confirmed the fact that there is neither peace nor justice in Africa. The big revolts in North Africa, with reversals of power, the elections in most countries without democracy or transparency, even leading to armed conflicts; the appropriation of power by certain individuals, and the refusal of change despite their advanced age; the pauperization of the masses; the use of children in armed conflicts; the rape of women; the persecution of Christians here and there…. are so many real indicators which show us the somber face of Africa.

And yet the gospel arrived in Africa a very long time ago, already in the first centuries. And many African countries have celebrated the centenary of evangelisation. However, the need for a real, in-depth evangelization is still to be felt. As Benedict XVI says in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Africae Munus, all this shows the need to ‘evangelise the African soul in depth.’

Even if it is true that Africa is ‘the spiritual lung of humanity’, it is also true that ‘fidelity to the proclamation of the gospel’ remains a challenge. For the gospel is the true source of peace and justice. At the birth of Jesus the angels sang ‘peace on earth’, and at the end of his life Jesus reassured his disciples: ‘Peace I leave you, not as the world gives’. If peace and justice have to be ‘built’, it is on the foundation which is Christ that this building will be done. How to set about it? For each local church to decide! That is our prayer, all this month, with the Pope, for Africa.
Source: VR Sedoc


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