Lombardi: Pope's message in Africa focuses on reconciliation, creation

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Lombardi: Pope's message in Africa focuses on reconciliation, creation

By Linda Bordoni/ Vatican Radio

As Pope Francis ended his first day in Kenya, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, shed light on the Pope’s Apostolic Voyage to Africa.

The Holy Father “desired very much to come to Africa,” Fr Lombardi said, noting that it was Pope Francis first visit ever to the continent. The three countries the Pope will visit – Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic – are “really representative of the situation of Africa.”

Commenting on the downpour of rain that greeted the Pope in Nairobi, Fr Lombardi, laughing, called it a “big blessing – because there was a big rain.” He continued, saying the rain was also a sign of creation, which must be appreciated in its different aspects: we have “to be happy with the rain and the sun.”

The weather highlighted one of the important themes for this Apostolic Voyage, the care of the creation, which was focus for the Pope’s encyclical Laudato sì. “We know that the encyclical Laudato sì is a very important document of his pontificate, and that the entire planet was interested in this encyclical,” said Fr Lombardi. “But Africa is a continent for which this encyclical is speaking very profoundly, very strongly.” He said the good relation between people and nature, and the good stewardship of creation, is “a fundamental aspect of the message the Pope will bring” to Africa.

Another important aspect of that message, Fr Lombardi said, is “the need to overcome the divisions, and to work for reconciliation, for dialogue, overcome the ethnic and the religious tensions and the differences.” He mentioned especially the dialogue with Muslims in Africa in order “to fight terrorism and the violent problem of confrontation that have been experienced here in Kenya, as in other lands in Africa.”

Speaking of the events of recent days, Father Lombardi said: “the Pope is a man of faith, obviously,” who reads history in a spiritual way: with profound suffering on account of hatred and violence, but also with hope that dialogue, mutual forgiveness, and reconciliation can prevail. Father Lombardi said the Pope’s message “is a message of hope [and] of dialogue, notwithstanding the problems and difficulties.”

Thu, 11/26/2015 - 11:36
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