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 published: 2009-04-03

Looking at Africa with love

Pope Benedict XVI a missionary in Africa


Schönstatt in Afrika: Wanderung der Internationalen Auxiliar in Burundi

Schoenstatt en África: Peregrinación de la Auxiliar Internacional en Burundi

Schoenstatt in Africa : Pilgrimage of the International Auxiliary in Burundi

Schönstatt in Afrika: Wanderung der Internationalen Auxiliar in Burundi


Vigil am Heiligtum in Bujumbura

Vigilia en el Santuario en Bujumbura

Vigil at the Shrine in Bujumbura

Vigil am Heiligtum in Bujumbura

Fotos: Maruhukiro © 2009


ROMA; P. Guillermo Mario Cassone. During one week the Holy Father visited Cameroon and Angola, but he was thinking about and speaking to all of Africa. It was a pastoral visit, but with a projection to the social and cultural reality of the continent. He returned very impressed and at the same time happy.

The two things that impressed him the most:

  • the affection and the joy of the people who established a very cordial relationship
  • the piety and the sense for the sacred.

Following the footsteps that Paul VI had already begun and that John Paul II intensified with his many trips taking a message of hope, but at the same time speaking clearly to the Africans and the world in favor of the most needy, for life, and for the evangelical values such as the dignity of the person and of the people.

He was not afraid to announce the always valid content for men and the culture of all time that Jesus brought us, but with a direct application to the African reality.

Reconciliation, justice, peace

He stressed and reaffirmed reconciliation, justice and peace, as an ecclesial program for the Synod visits for all of Africa which will take place in October, and at the same time the urgent task of changing the relationships among the countries, the ethnic and diverse groups that form the great African mosaic. With a glance towards the rich countries he spoke firmly about the need for a true international solidarity, of not imposing politics that humiliate and exploit the poor, of respect for life at all its stages, and of helping to integrate the continent to the globalized world.

He stimulated the Africans to defend their identity and not to allow themselves to be dominated nor exploited as has happened in the past, to take care of their culture,to care for the resources of their land. He alerted them to new forms of slavery..

He stimulated the youth and women to be protagonists of new culture where the family is truly the greater good to promote and where there is an authentic social integration overcoming the many obstacles that still exist. He supported the multiple initiatives that are promoted such as education and assitance, recognizing the generous giving of self of the missionaries and volunteers from other countries who have given their life for this.

This is a short summary of the Pope’s trip.

A glance from Schoenstatt

We know that from the beginning of Schoenstatt, even before October 18, 1914, our Father and Founder educated the young seminarians, preparing them for the Pallotine mission in Cameroon, and that he himself would have gone if it had not been for his health. He stimulated the missionary group among the youth so that through their initiatives enthusiasm for the missions would grow.

In 1933, a few years after its founding he sent the first Sisters of Mary to Africa. Shortly after his release from Dachua, when he began his international trips, in 1947, he went to visit the Sisters of South Africa for 4 months. From there he wrote Afrikabericht (a report about Africa) with valuable reflections about what he experienced and observed during his stay.

He set aside a report of what developed later in the several countries of Africa and of Schoenstatt’s growing presence with it originality and diversity, as well as the many consecrated vocations, the development of the Movement and of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign..

I just want to stress two things of value for the International Schoenstatt:

  • Above all, the great openness of heart for the life that surges from the Covenant in the African countries and the enormous richness that it can contribute so that our Family will truly be multicultural and willing to integrate the originality of every continent and of every country.
  • On the other hand, to learn from their piety and sense for the sacred and alsoto live with their festive character, as well as to value their affect and ties that are manifested by their freshness and spontaneity.

Let us continue to accompany them with prayer and to concretely help the beginnings and the consolidation of our Family in all the African countries and may we open our hearts to allow ourselves to be enriched with their originality.

Translation: Celina Garza, San Antonio, TX, USA/amj



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