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Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Ecclesia in Africa

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  • INTRODUCTION
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5. Subsequently, from 1977 to 1983, some Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, theologians and lay people expressed a desire for an African Council or African Synod, which would have the task of evaluating evangelization in Africa vis-à-vis the great choices to be made regarding the Continent's future. I gladly welcomed and encouraged the idea of the "working together, in one form or another", of the whole African Episcopate in order "to study the religious problems that concern the whole Continent".3 SECAM thus studied ways and means of planning a continental meeting of this kind. A consultation of the Episcopal Conferences and of each Bishop of Africa and Madagascar was organized, after which I was able to convoke a Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. On 6 January 1989, the Solemnity of the Epiphany — the liturgical commemoration on which the Church renews her awareness of the universality of her mission and her consequent duty to bring the light of Christ to all peoples — I announced this "initiative of great importance for the Church", welcoming, as I said, the petitions often expressed for some time by the Bishops of Africa, priests, theologians and rep- resentatives of the laity, "in order to promote an organic pastoral solidarity within the entire African territory and nearby Islands".4




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