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Pope’s Message


VATICAN, July 31st 2006

A Sua Eccellenza Reverendissima
Assistente Ecclesiastico del FIAC
Via della Conciliazione, 1
00193 ROMA

N. 39.305

Most Reverend Excellency

on the occasion of the 3rd African Continental Meeting of the International Forum of  Catholic Action, that will be held in Lugazi,  Uganda, I am glad to send to all the promoters and participants the blessing greeting of His Holiness Benedict XVI.

The Holy Father wishes to express His approval for the good initiative and the interesting theme of the Congress: “The future of Christianity in Africa and in the world.”  As main biblical reference you have appropriately chosen the same word of the Lord assumed by Lineamenta for the 2nd Special Assembly of the  Bishop Synod for Africa: “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world” (Mt 5,13-14). So this  meeting is wisely on the path of the Church in the African continent, being a meaningful moment towards the important synodal meeting.

The climax of the Congress will be the Eucharistic Celebration in the Ugandan Sanctuary of the Martyrs at Namugongo. To celebrate Saint Carlo Lwanga and his saints Compagnions means to confirm the choice to walk on the footpaths of these Christian lay people – youth and adolescents- who  witnessed their faith till the bloodshed for the Gospel. For them Jesus Christ was not the symbol of a vague abstract value, nor simply a great character of the past, but a Person alive and concrete, an absolutely singular Person, who makes each baptised state together with the apostle Paul: “ He loved me and He offered Himself for me” (Gal 2,20). To believe means, in fact, to belong to the Lord,  be conquered by His love, commit ourselves to be with Him and for Him, light and salt of the Earth, yeast of the society. This is how lay Christians can offer their specific contribution to build the society of love.

In a special way the members of  Catholic Action know how they are committed to put into practice the triple mandate – contemplation, communion, and mission – that the venerable Pope John Paul II entrusted  them, on the occasion of the great pilgrimage to Loreto, on September 5th  2004. Since this message was addressed to the whole Association, it represents a sort of “spiritual testament” for the members of  Catholic Action. On the same line, the Holy Father Benedict XVI encourages to show by a life of faith and of praise to God that “all  Christians are called at the mystical union” with Christ ( Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2014) to cultivate “a spirituality of communion” living humbly and grateful in the Holy Church, in syntony with the Pastors and with all the people of God, to witness the beauty of a living faith, that transforms the  daily life  and offers itself in an attractive way to all those who demand the reason of hope, that lives in us believers (cfr 1 Pt 3,15).

To all those who will take part to this meeting, the Holy Father reminds the programme that the Servant of God, Paul VI, indicated during His memorable apostolic visit in Uganda, in the Sanctuary of Namugongo,when he said: “ First of all,  have a great love for Jesus Christ, try to know Him better,  remain united to Him,  have a great faith and a firm trust in Him. Second, be faithful to the Church, pray with it, love it, make it know, and be always be ready as the martyrs did, to offer a sincere testimony in its favour. Third, be strong and brave, be glad, be always happy and joyful. ” (cfr Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, VII [1969] 589).

Assuring His prayers so that Catholic Action may grow and spread in the Ecclesial communities of Africa, also thanks to this 3rd African Continental Meeting, the Holy Father gives  your Excellency and all the participants His special Apostolical Blessing. I also send you my warm wish for a fruitful work and I take the opportunity of this circumstance to confirm myself
Your most devoted in the Lord

Angelo Card. Sodano – Secretary of the State