Pope Benedict XVI Leaves Africa After A Giant Mass in Cotonou. Pope Benedict XVI left Sunday the Benin, land of Voodoo, Catholicism and islam, after having provided a road map to the Catholic Church of the continent and celebrated a giant mass calling Africans to work for “reconciliation”. Welcomed warmly Friday in this small West African country, the Pontiff left Cotonou, the economic capital, shortly at 4:30 pm local.
After the second trip to Africa in six and a half years of his pontificate (Cameroon and Angola in 2009), Pope Benedict XVI said he was esteem and affection for this continent, “a land of hope” he said.
In the morning, he celebrated two hours during a mass before more than 50,000 people to the “stage of friendship” at Cotonou, while that 30,000 other followed the celebration on giant screens, according to Vatican figures.
His arrival in the Popemobile, Pontiff, 84 years, on a tower of track to the cheers and acclaimed when he took a very young child in his arms.
Shortly before each appearance of the Sun between clouds, the crowd applauded, launching of “Jesus!, Thank you Lord. I see Christ in the Interior of the Sun!“, it was excited Francine Bodjrenou, 43 years old faithful.
Many were dressed in loincloths with the effigy of Benedict XVI or with the reasons of the Beninese Church, waving small flags of Benin and the Vatican.
In his homily, he invited Africans to not worshiping power and money. He advocated the generosity toward those who have been and addressed to all the suffering, the sick, those who are affected by AIDS and other diseases, to all them forgotten society.
During the Angelus prayer, a mission he entrusted to believers to Africa: “while both families are separated, exiled, bereaved by conflict without end, be the craftsmen of reconciliation and hope“.
Reconciliation, peace and justice in Africa, continent shaken by political conflicts, ethnic or religious, were the themes of the African Synod of 2009 at the Vatican.
The Pope signed Saturday in Ouidah (40 km west of Cotonou), Voodoo heart and high place of Benin Catholicism, apostolic exhortation outcome of this meeting.
He gave Sunday this African Catholic Church roadmap for the next decades to bishops from across the continent.
He asks in this text of 135 pages Catholic position itself firmly on the reconciliation, the defence of the family and good governance.
On the sensitive issue of AIDS, on which it was expected, it is limited to there said that the problem requires a medical and pharmaceutical response but its before all ethical.
Africa accounts for 70% of the 34 million people infected with HIV in the world.
The continent is experiencing the most growth in the number of Catholics, but Evangelical churches are booming and compete with the Catholic Church of Rome.
The mass, which was also heard the main languages of Benin (fongbé, mina, bariba), ended in an atmosphere of celebration to the sound of a choir.
A good sister outlined a few dance steps, smiling, while many worshipers left the stage dancing.
Saturday at the Presidential Palace, Benedict XVI had denounced corruption, warned against the revenge, sometimes violent, peoples and called upon African leaders to do not deprive their populations of hope.
The Pope appeared to have resisted well to moist heat and appeared invigorated by the warm welcome reserved for him.