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|Ioannes Paulus PP. II|
Ecclesia in Africa
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12. By a singular design of Providence, the solemn inauguration of the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops took place on the Second Sunday of Easter, at the end of the Easter Octave. The Synod Fathers, assembled in Saint Peter's Basilica on that day, were well aware that the joy of their Church flowed from the same event which had gladdened the Apostles' hearts on Easter Day (cf. Lk 24:40-41): the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. They were deeply aware of the presence in their midst of the Risen Lord, who said to them as he had to his Apostles: "Peace be with you" (Jn 20:21,26). They were also aware of his promise to remain with his Church for ever (cf. Mt 28:20), and therefore also throughout the duration of the Synodal Assembly. The Easter spirit in which the Special Assembly began its work, with its members united in celebrating their faith in the Risen Lord, spontaneously brought to mind the words which Jesus addressed to the Apostle Thomas: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (Jn 20:29).
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