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Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Ecclesia in Africa

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  • CHAPTER II
    • I. Brief history of the continent's evangelization
      • 35
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Homage to missionaries

35. The splendid growth and achievements of the Church in Africa are due largely to the heroic and selfless dedication of generations of missionaries. This fact is acknowledged by everyone. The hallowed soil of Africa is truly sown with the tombs of courageous heralds of the Gospel.

When the Bishops of Africa met in Rome for the Special Assembly, they were well aware of the debt of gratitude which their Continent owes to its ancestors in the faith.

In his Address to the inaugural Assembly of SECAM at Kampala, on 31 July 1969, Pope Paul VI spoke about this debt of gratitude: "By now, you Africans are missionaries to yourselves. The Church of Christ is well and truly planted in this blessed soil (cf. Ad Gentes, 6). One duty, however, remains to be fulfilled: we must remember those who, before you, and even today with you, have preached the Gospel in Africa; for Sacred Scripture admonishes us to ?Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life; and imitate their faith' (Heb 13:7). That is a history which we must not forget; it confers on the local Church the mark of its authenticity and nobility, its mark as ?apostolic'. That history is a drama of charity, heroism and sacrifice which makes the African Church great and holy from its very origins".43




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