Vatican City, Mar 15, 2009 / 11:03 am (CNA).- Before tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI asked all present to pray, “invoking Mary, Mother and Queen of Africa,” for his upcoming apostolic voyage to Africa. The Pope described himself as a pilgrim in Africa proclaiming Christ crucified, who renews the world.
The Holy Father referred to the reading for the Third Sunday of Lent from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, saying “Paul stresses that he has nothing to offer and to give than the Good News of his Cross.”
“This is the grace of the Gospel that is capable of transforming the world; this is the grace that can renew Africa, because it generates an irresistible power of peace and of profound, radical reconciliation,” the Pontiff explained. “The Church, then, does not pursue economic, social and political goals; the Church proclaims Christ, certain that the Gospel can touch the hearts of all and transform them, thus renewing persons and societies from within.”
Benedict announced that he will visit Yaoundé, Cameroon and Luanda, Angola and asked for prayers from all to his patron saint, St. Joseph. During his visit to Africa from March 17-23, Benedict XVI will celebrate his name day on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19.
“St. Joseph,” Pope Benedict said, “warned by an angel in a dream, had to flee with Mary to Egypt, in northeast Africa, in order to protect the newborn Jesus, whom Herod wanted to kill. This fulfilled the Scriptures: Jesus trod in the footsteps of the ancient patriarchs, and, like the people of Israel, he returned to the Promised Land after being in exile in Egypt.”
“I entrust to the heavenly intercession of this great Saint the upcoming pilgrimage and the populations of Africa as a whole, with the challenges that mark them and the hopes that animate them,” the Pope added. “In particular, I think of the victims of hunger, of disease, of injustice, of fratricidal conflicts and of every form of violence that continues to afflict adults and children, without sparing missionaries, priests, religious and volunteers." (Continued here)