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Pope Says God's Love Triumphs Over War and Sin, Celebrates Mass with One Million


LUANDA, Angola, MARCH 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is calling Angolans and all Africans to acknowledge the presence of God within them, and to bring his love and forgiveness to all people around them.

The Pope said this today in a homily at a Mass in Cimangola, on the outskirts of Luanda. The Eucharistic Celebration was presided by the Pontiff with bishops of the IMBISA (Interregional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa), and was attended by one million people.

He noted the suffering experienced by the Angolan people as a result of war, and the consequent destruction of "families, whole communities, the fruit of men's labor, the hopes which guide and sustain their lives and work!"

He added that "this experience is all too familiar to Africa as a whole: the destructive power of civil strife, the descent into a maelstrom of hatred and revenge, the squandering of the efforts of generations of good people."

"When God's word -- a word meant to build up individuals, communities and the whole human family -- is neglected," the Holy Father explained, "and when God's law is ridiculed, despised, laughed at, the result can only be destruction and injustice: the abasement of our common humanity and the betrayal of our vocation to be sons and daughters of a merciful Father, brothers and sisters of his beloved Son."

He affirmed, "God is calling us to acknowledge the power of his presence within us," to take as our own "the gift of his love and forgiveness, and to become messengers of that merciful love within our families and communities, at school and in the workplace, in every sector of social and political life."

Conversion

Benedict XVI affirmed: "The Gospel teaches us that reconciliation, true reconciliation, can only be the fruit of conversion, a change of heart, a new way of thinking.

"It teaches us that only the power of God's love can change our hearts and make us triumph over the power of sin and division."

He added, "Only God can make all things new!" MORE


Spokesman Says Benedict XVI Gives Africa Hope


LUANDA, Angola, MARCH 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Pope gives Africa hope, the Vatican spokesman explained as he made an initial assessment of Benedict XVI's visit to Cameroon and Angola in an interview with Vatican Radio.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, commented on the Mass celebrated by the Pope today in Cimangola, on the outskirts of Luanda, in which more than one million people participated.

He reported: "It was a powerful homily. This homily was addressed to the Angolan people and also to all of southern Africa, because all of the bishops of IMBISA [the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa] were present."

The spokesman noted that the Pope "returned with strong emphasis to the gloom, the problems, especially war, but the [he] also opened a great deal to hope."

The Holy Father, the priest continued, "spoke of the values of African culture, of the values that Christianity can bring to Africa to build a Christian life, a Church with specific characteristics: this value of love of life, the sensibility of the family."

"These are all aspects on which the Church too can work in depth to be truly African," he said.

Mourning

The Pontiff also appeared deeply moved by the deaths yesterday of two young girls, who were trampled in the rush to enter Coqueiros Stadium in Luanda, Father Lombardi observed.

He said: "It is true. It is a terribly sad thing that casts a shadow of sadness over yesterday's great celebration. The event, as far as we understand, happened before the meeting, in the rush through the entrances to the stadium."  MORE

 


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