AFRICA / SÃO TOMÉ E PRÍNCIPE - "May the Blessed John Paul II continue to bless our land!": Pastoral note of the Bishop of São Tomé and Príncipe

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

São Tomé (Agenzia Fides) - "On Sunday 1st May we will be joining Rome in celebrating, at the same time, a Mass in front of the image of the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima, on a visit to São Tomé and Príncipe, during which we renew the consecration of the Diocese to the Heart of Mary ": Bishop Manuel Santos, CMF, Bishop of São Tomé and Príncipe says to Fides, sending his Pastoral Report published on the occasion of the beatification of John Paul II. In addition, from April 30 to June 4, the diocese will host the Pilgrim image of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima (see Fides 18/2/2011).
"John Paul II marked his time and his character will remain as a light that shines in the world of his time, bravely showing the paths of life, justice, mercy and Peace. He was a man without fear, with deep beliefs, his ideal of life was the Gospel” This is what is written in the pastoral note of Bishop Santos.
After having outlined the major milestones in the life of Pope John Paul II, the Bishop of São Tomé and Príncipe reflects on some features of his holiness: he was a man of intense inner life and able to communicate with those who were far from the Church, he was a prophet through daring interventions in the name of justice and peace, he always showed a great love for the poorest and most vulnerable, he was a witness of joy, in sickness and in health, always with great respect for life.
The Pastoral Note draws attention to the words spoken by John Paul II during his visit to São Tomé for a few hours, June 6, 1992. Upon arrival at the airport he stressed that his first duty was the one that Jesus gave to Peter, "to strengthen the brothers in faith”. A faith that the people of São Tomé, "have already been put to the test over the centuries, with so many ups and downs”, the Pope said, launching an appeal to promote a "culture of the common good”. During the Mass, he emphasized the importance of the family in the Church and in society, strongly condemning at the end of the Eucharist, slavery, which for centuries had been a plague for the lives of the santomensi. The need for a re-evangelization of the family and social life, as also the santomense culture, was underlined by Pope John Paul II in the meeting with the priests, and religious and pastoral operators. Finally, in his farewell speech, he invited the santomense people to work for the common good and for the future of the country.
"These words are remembered for the importance that they still have today”, writes Bishop Santos in his pastoral note, and continues: "Let us welcome these words and may we be encouraged to live more authentically the Gospel values in our lives; for all of us to be committed in the re-evangelization of our people, and for the family to get privileged attention in our pastoral and social deeds, and that we all strive for the common good in the desire to build a country with a future. And may the blessed John Paul II continue to bless our land”! (SL) (Agenzia Fides 27/04/2011)