«The African Synod»
A Play written by Mons. Hypolite Joe-Adigwe
(Nigeria
)

Act I, Scene 1

 A gathering of different people, dressed in different types of traditional dresses, men women and children; chiefs, rich, poor; priests, sisters, leaders of African Traditional Religion (ATR), all move into the stage, chanting and dancing with drum, and other musical instruments.   

 1.       Africa, we love you Africa  (2 times)

We love you Africa

We honour Africa

We cherish Africa

The silent Africa

The suffering Africa

The humbled Africa

My great land Africa

Africa, we love you Africa.

 

2.         Africa, we need you Africa  (2 times)

Unite us Africa

Defend us Africa

Develop Africa

Liberation, Africa

Freedom, Africa

Africa, we need you Africa.

 

3.         Africa, your freedom, Africa  (2 times)

We'll fight for your freedom

We'll die for your freedom

We pray for your freedom

We work for your freedom

We live for your freedom

We build on your freedom

Africa, your freedom Africa

As they sing and dance, all begin to disperse, leaving only Bishops, Priests, Sisters and Brothers behind.

Bishop Zugama: Africa must stand, we must play our part.  The church must know that there is a continent called Africa.

Bishop Mosogo: Africa must know that there is a divinely established institution called "The Holy Roman Catholic Church".

Bishop Zugama: Hold it.  We are not going to follow it that way.

Bishop Mosogo: Which way?

Bishop Zugama: I hope, My Lord, you are not going to start off with one of those ancient ideas of the past.

Fr. Tobi: Whichever way we may like to go, My Lords, it is very important that we inform our people about the Holy Father's proposal to hold the African Synod.

Bishop Sule: You are right.  Our people should be properly briefed.

Fr. Tobi: If you don't mind, Your Excellencies, you may  like to address the people yourselves and tell them exactly what you expect of them.

Bishop Zungu: (Turning to all the Priests, Sisters and Brothers,)

As the president of the Pan-African Bishops Conference, I hereby mandate and send you to go into all Africa and tell everybody about the Synod.  Tell them to contribute ideas.  Compile these and forward to us.  The Church has come to stay in Africa.  We must work for that.

Act I, Scene 2.

The Priests, Brothers and Sisters Assemble and plan their action

Fr. Sani: We have got a mandate - to mobilise our people and give something of our Church to the world, and to ourselves.  How do we go about it?

Fr. Gobadi: The mandate is good, but have we the necessary instruments?

Fr. Sani: What type of instruments?

Fr. Gobadi: Don't pretend not to know, Fr. Sani.  We need money.  Have they given us the money with which to run the show, or do they expect us to climb the Iroko tree with bear hands?

Fr. Sani: This is a very important assignment.  Let money not distract us from doing what we know have to be done.

Fr. Jokomo: It is good for you to say that.  But how do we do that without money.  It is always like that.  You are given an important assignment, and you are not given money for that.  Then you go about begging, starving, or doing a hap-hazard work.

Sr. Ogonna: You priests always talk of money.  Why don't we first of all map out what we shall do and how we shall do it.  First things first.

Fr. Gobadi: It is easy for you to say so because you are a Sister. 

Sr. Ogonna: Fr. Gobadi, why do you say that?

Fr. Gobadi: Yes, Sr. Ogonna, I know what I am saying. Tomorrow  when I get an assignment with you, you will let me pay all the bills, you will join me in my car to attend meetings and contribute no kobo for the petrol.  If the car breaks down on the road, you will just pick your bag, put on your "take-cover" and tell me "see you tomorrow".  All laugh. And indeed tomorrow, I will see you off in another car with another person. True or false?

Fr. Sani: Now jokes over.  I think that Sr. Ogonna has made a point. 

Fr. Tobi: Who says woman are not powerful.  All laugh.

Fr. Jokomo: Even when they are Rev. Srs.  Louder laughter.

Fr. Sani: Thanks for more jokes, but let us go ahead with our business.

All: Yes.

Fr. Sani: We shall get down to the base.  Study groups will be formed at each parish.  This group will get down to stations and organise study committees.  The Parish Priest will be the co-ordinator of the parish study group.  All societies and organisation will be involved.  There is nobody in any parish who will not hear of the Synod and play his role.

Sr. Angelbertus: Where does the Religious come in.

Fr. Gobadi: Take it easy.  One after the other.  By the way, are you not part of the parish?

Sr. Angelbertus: We want our own separate contribution.

Fr. Gobadi: Sr., Let Fr. Sani land.

Fr. Sani: Each lay apostolate organisation at the diocesan level will form a study group.  Here, the Religious come in.  They too will form their own study groups, and have a co-ordinating body to bring the report of all the congregations in the diocese into one single report.

Fr. Gobadi: That will be good.

Fr. Sani: The diocesan co-ordinating body will gather the reports of all parishes and prepare a diocesan report.

Fr. Jokomo: Then what will be the next step?

Fr. Sani: Diocesan Reports will be collated by a provincial committee, and then forwarded to a National Committee for a final document that will be presented to the National Bishops Conference.

Fr. Jokomo: I think this plan is very good.  The National documents will then be put together by the Pan African Committee for necessary action.

Fr. Sani: Exactly that.

Sr. Angelbertus: Sisters must be represented at all levels of these groups.

Fr. Sani: Do you accept these proposals?

All: Yes.

Fr. Sani: Then a small committee will now be formed to prepare these proposals for presentation to the Bishops.  They should approve it before we go to the next step.

Fr. Gobadi: No, Fr. I beg to differ at this point.  We know our Bishops.  They will keep the documents on their tables and will never have time to deliberate on them.  Up till now, we do not know what happened to the proposed African Council which would have been our thing. It has now metamorphosed into a Synod. We just go into action.

Fr. Jokomo: Yes.  I am in support.  We have got a mandate, so we go into action at once.  No further delay.

Fr. Sani: Is it your wish that we go into action at once?

All: Yes.  (They disperse, jubilating).  

 

Act I, Scene 3.

Fr. Jomoni sits with his parish coucellors and informs them of the Synod, and his plans.

Fr. Jomoni: You are all very welcome to the meeting of today.  Before we start, let us say some prayers:  All stand.  Can we ask Sr. Nkiru to lead us in the opening prayer.

Sr. Nkiru: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Sr. Nkiru: God of our Fathers, God of our Mothers, God of our ancestors, and of all who have gone before us, come down with your spirit and be with us today.  Give us the leg with which to walk, the tongue with which to talk, the eyes with which to see.  Give us the ear to hear your word, and when we have taken the nourishment that you will give us,  may our stomach be strong enough to digest it fully.  We ask this through  our senior brother Jesus Christ.

All: Amen.

Sr. Nkiru: Come, come, come, Holy Ghost come (2x)

Holy Ghost come, come, come

Holy Ghost come, come, come come, come.

All join and sing in different languages.

Fr. Jomoni: We have been working on the report in respect of the African Synod.  The final report is almost ready, but we must take a look at the liturgical committee's action.  We shall now demonstrate how the Mass should be said.  This is only a demonstration, for your comment.

The Fr. moves out, and then comes in with groups of dancers, himself wearing traditional regalia, dancing gracefully to the traditional music.  He dances up to the place of sacrifice, reverences it, and goes to a special seat prepared for him, sits down and signals to all to sit.  He then prays:

O God of our ancestors, (people bring out photographs etc of their ancestors) the God who made the land on which we are standing (people trample their feet on the ground),  the sky is  your handwork (they look up to the sky), you let rain fall on earth every year (they bring out water containers, place them before the priest and kneel down), bless this water with your mighty hand (they fall to the ground), and let it drive away all the wickedness of the evil one (they make sound as if wicked ones were fleeing).  Wherever this water is sprinkled, may it bring joy, happiness, many children, good health, food and drink and celebration of the life you have given to us.  (The people dance with joy and end with the chanting of Alleluia, almost in frenzy.  Father, you are the owner of this house and we are your servants.  (They tidy up the place).  The children we have are yours (Children come out and dance).

Then one old man, Chief Domeyi stands up and signals to the children to stay by the side.  He then addresses the crowd.

Chief Domeyi: We have seen this new way of worship.  What is not clear to me is whether this is still the way that the Catholic Church worships or not.

Mrs. Adumoye: Why don't we hold on a while and let us see where they will land.  This is only a beginning.

Chief Domeyi: The eye can already discern a ripe corn.  To open it is only "Long-throat".  The chicken that will turn into a cock begins from the egg.

Mr. Duze: This is what we call inculturation.  It must run throughout our Christian life.  Another point we must look into is the question of marriage.  This question of one man, one wife, is good if the wife gets a male child.  But where that is not the case, it is in our tradition that the man takes a second wife.  Polygamy is our culture.

Miss Aguda: Me, I will not be anybody's second wife.  Don't you read what the Europeans write about the emancipation of women?

Mr. Duze: It is the same Europeans who tell us that the Church is wrong if she does not allow us to marry second wife.  They said that if we push on, and put in more pressure, the Vatican will yield.

Chief Domeyi: Let us forget for now what the Europeans tell us.  Let us search and find out what we want to say to ourselves, to the world, to all, about the church and about ourselves.

 

  

Act I, Scene 4.

  At the Assembly of Priests, Religious and Laity, Fr. Sani brings out copies of all the reports beautifully bound together and presents them to the people.

Fr. Sani: My dear people of God,

Fr. Jokomo: Wait.  Enough is enough.  You are already talking the Roman language, or shall I say, Western language.  (He now greets the people in the traditional manner, and all respond vigorously, and begin to clap for him.  Now turning to Fr. Sani, he said): You can now go ahead.

Fr. Sani: It is my pleasure to inform you that our report is now ready. If I have your mandate, I will present it to the Bishops at their next assembly.

Fr. Jokomo: You do not have our mandate to proceed to further action.  (There is commotion and confusion and noise.  Fr. Sani moves round to calm the people. When eventually all become quiet, Fr. Sani say):

Fr. Sani: Have we freedom of speech in Africa?

All: Yes.

Fr. Sani: Are we afraid of what Fr. Jokomo is going to say.

All: No.

Fr. Sani: Then let us hear him.

Fr. Jokomo: Thank you very much.  Many years ago, we proposed to hold an African Council.  We brought this idea to our Bishops.  It died somewhere on the road.

Sr. Nkiru: That is true, I can remember.

Fr. Jokomo: We pressed.  Suddenly, the Pope announced that he was going to convoke a Synod of Bishops, Special Assembly for Africa.  Take note of the name -  Synod of Bishops.  So it is neither an African Council, nor an African Synod, but rather the Synod of Bishops.  The Synod is completely under the Pope and the Roman Curia.  However,the topic it will treat is African, but that is as they want Africa to be, not as we want it. 

Fr. Sani: I can see the trend.

Fr. Jokomo: Don't you see that the Pope is gradually taking it over.  Now listen: to complete the hijack, it has been announced that the Synod will not take place in Africa, but rather in Rome.

(Greater noise, uproar, and gesticulation of protest from all sides.  Fr. Jokomo tries to calm the people.  He does not succeed.  The Special Assistant walks in and says):

Special Asst: Praise the Lord!

All: Alleluia!         )  3 times.

Special Asst: Amen!

All: Amen!

Special Asst: (Sings): 

He's a miracle working God ,

He's a miracle working God,

He's the Alpha, and Omega,

He's a miracle working God.

 

All: He's a miracle working God .......

Fr. Jokomo: Thank you very much.  Now, Fr. Sani, you will not present these document to them.  This is the sweat of our brow.  If they want their own Synod, they can go to Rome and prepare their own papers.  We shall boycott that Synod and hold our own here.  (All clap in agreement.  Fr. Sani is sad.  Special Asst. makes attempts to speak to them.  Nobody listens.  Then he goes to Chief Domeyi and discusses briefly with him.  In the meantime, some people start to go away.  Chief Domeyi calls on the people, signalling to them to come back. He greets in the tradition manner.  Those going out run back. He says).

Chief Domeyi: We have an eminent son of the soil here with us.  Let us listen to him before we disperse.  (Every place is calm.  The Special Asst. speaks).

Special Asst: Are we all Christians?

Many: Yes.

Chief Domeyi: The majority of the people here are Christian.  But some are of the African Traditional Religion.  But we are all of the same mind.  So go ahead.

Special Assst: We belong to the universal church.  There is only one Catholic Church.  We cannot begin to balkanise, nor should we cut ourselves off from the stem.  There is no church of African, Church of Europe, Church of Asia, Church of America, Church of Australia.  There is only one Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.  We do not have the Church OF Africa, we have the Church IN Africa, Ecclesia in Africa.  Why must we cut ourselves off from the stem simply because the Mother Church has willingly opened the gates of our common headquarters to us.  Do you not see the advantage of the Universal Church focusing on us as we discuss?  Would we not want to hear from our common experts who are there at the headquarters?  Would we not want the Pope to be there to listen to us as we talk?  Of course I know, if this synod is to be held in Africa, and if we are able to agree on the venue, if we can obtain visas for all who should be there, and if there will be no coup d'etat during the Synod, it will have its advantages.  The world press would focus on Africa more intensively.  But then, are we not used to their focusing on forests, hungry children, monkeys, dirty sheets etc and calling it Africa?

Let us think twice.  Let us go to Rome.  After that, Rome will come to Africa.  To Rome we must go!

All: (Chant)  To Rome we must go...

   

 

 

Act II, Scene 1.

Seats are arranged in a conference form.  The Bishops move into the hall from different directions to take their seats at the hall.  In general, they move in a dignified manner, but here and there, you have one or the other who comes in a casual manner.  Some Theologians, Frs., Srs., Lay-people are seated at the back.  A commentator explains .... On coming in Bishop Mosogo meets Bishop Zugama and Fr. Tobi. They greet.

Bp. Mosogo: I love to belong to the Church, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the Universal, Apostolic, Infallible, ever present Church.  I feel so high.  I am so glad.  Look at the splendour, look at everything!

Bp. Zugama: I love to belong to Africa, the humiliated, suffering,distressed and depressed continent.

Fr. Tobi: My lords, if you don't mind, we belong to both.  We are Catholics, we are Africans.  We are African Catholics.

Bp. Zugama (Humorously)  OR Catholic Africans (they laugh)

Fr. Tobi: It is time for you to take your seats.  They move vacant seat close to Sr.Ogonna. Sr. Ogonna moves quickly to that seat and Fr. Tobi, without knowing sat on it too.  There was laughter.

Fr. Gobadi: The Sisters are already driving us out and taking our place (laughter) even before the Synod ends.  (laughter).

Commentator: The Synod Fathers are all seated.  I announce the arrival of the Holy Father and the Presidents.  (All stand and sing):  Christus Vincit Christus Regnat, Christus, Christuse imperat.  Thereafter the drums beat beautiful African melody, and all take their seats.

Commentator: The Synod Anthem: (All stand and sing):  A Synod in Africa......

Cardinal Zanga: (Reads).  Holy Father.  On behalf of the Church in Africa, I thank you for convoking this special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, for the specific purpose of discussing the joys and sorrows, the ups and downs, the problems, prospects and hopes of the African Church.  You have been with us all these weeks of our deliberation.  We have now come to an end.  We have walked together up to this point.  It is my honour to call on His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Udoka to present our decisions to your Holiness.

Anthony Card. Udoka:  (reads)The Synod in Rome has ended.  We have worked together, and so we shall present out report together.  I will begin:

We have rediscovered that the Church in the whole world is continent. When they nearly killed her founder as a child, it was in Africa that he took refuge. In his home country, the Child Jesus has no room.  In Africa, where he came as a refugee he was given shelter. We must get home to Africa and solve the problem of the refugees of today.  They are Christ in disguise (applause).

The deacon Philip baptised the treasurer of the Queen of Ethiopia, an African, as described in Acts of the Ap. 8:26-39.  We must preach the Gospel to our Rulers of today and convert them (applause).

At those early times, in the 1st century of Christianity, Africa produced great doctors of the Church, great writers like origin, Athenacious, Cyril, Tertulian, Cyprian and Augustin.  Africa had very great women like Perpetua, Felicitas, Monica and Thecla.  Africa had the first monks like Paul, Anthony and pachomius.  We had saintly Popes (applause).

In the 15th and 16th centuries, we had problem with the establishment of the Church in Africa, South of the Sahara.

But a third phase came in the 19th Century, bringing us a fresh wind from heaven, and crowning the Church with the following:

1) The Holy Martyrs of Uganda.

2) Blessed Clementine Anwarite, Virgin and Martyr from Zaire.

3) Blessed Victoria Rasoamanarivo of Madagascar

4) Blessed Josephine Bakhita of the Sudan.

5) Blessed Isidor Bakanja of Zaire

6) Venerable Fr. Michael Cyprian Iwene Tansi of Nigeria (applause)

This is the glory of our nation.

A song of joy sounds through the hall: I will praise him, Alelluiah.  Amen.

Card. Udoka:   (continues)  I now call on Fr. Sani to read the second part of our report.

Fr. Sani: A little less than thirty years ago,many African countries gained their independence.

All Sing Africa, your freedom Africa .................

Fr. Sani: Today, Africa can be compared to the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.  He fell among robbers who stripped him, beat him and went away leaving him half dead. ( cf. Lk. 10:30-35). What we see today are:

1. terrible and increasing poverty (all answer "yes" after each number, alternating in diferent African Languages).

2. tragic mismanagement of the few available resources

3. political instability and social chaos

4. urbanisation: many people moving from villages into the cities.

5. Unemployment

6. the international debt

7. the arms trade

8. the problem of refugees and displaced persons

9. Population increase

10. families often uprooted and facing dangers

11. need of liberation of women

12. the spread of AIDS.

13. the practice of slavery in some places

14. tribalism and ethnic conflict

15. the craving for material possessions

16. the spread of a non-religious, secular idea of life

17. the negative impact of the media.

In a continent full of bad news, we, as Church must preach the Good News of hope, joy, harmony, love and unity.  (Applause).  God has not forgotten Africa (Applause).

Card. Udoka: The next part will be read by Fr. Jokomo.

Fr. Jokomo: Because in Africa there are millions who are yet to be evangelised, we, as Church are faced with the necessary and urgent task of proclaiming the Good News to all.  We must transform the African from within, beginning with ourselves. We must bear the witness with our life; we must build a true domestic Church.  We must build Small Christian Communities which will first of all engage in evangelising themselves so that afterwards they can bring the Good News to others.  They must pray and listen to the word of God, take on responsibilities and learn to live as Church, and reflect on different human problems in the light of the Gospel.  Our lay people must become more aware of their role, and must be trained to be able to meet the challenge.  (Applause).

Card. Udoka: I now call on Mrs. Ajah to give the fourth point.

Chief Domeyi: This is indeed something remarkable in Africa.  A woman talks even before the Chief. Is that In-culturation or shall we call it  Ex-culturation or Ent-culturation or Adulteration?

Card. Udoka: That is certainly in order, Chief Domeyi.  It is the Chief who will put all our thoughts together, and give the sum total and sommary of everything.

Chief Domeyi: Aha, that is correct.

All: Igwe ......

Chief Domeyi: Go ahead (Applause).

Mrs. Ajah: The Church is a family, God's family.  The images of the family which we know in the Church today include:

1. The mystical body of Christ.

2. The people of God

3. Temple of the Holy Spirit

4. Flock and sheepfold

5. The House in which God dwells with us

6. The Bride of Christ

7. Our Mother

8. The Holy City,and

9. The first fruits of the kingdom of God.

The African image of the family must be added to this litany (Applause). Our theologians must work on this, to show this family, this church, as a place where there is care for others, solidarity, warmth in human relationships, acceptance, dialogue and trust.  This family must become self-reliant in personnel, material and financial means.  We must provide for our own needs.  (Applause).  Yet we must belong to the entire human kind, and the universal Church, ready to contribute to others, and to learn from others. (Looking towrds the direction of Sr. Ugonna, she says:) Sr. you are my fellow woman.  Help me now.

Sr. Angelbertus: Is it the Rev. Sr. that you call a woman?

Sr. Ugonna: If you are not a woman, I am oooo (laughter) Madam, you have said everything.  There must be love between the Bishops, Bishops Conferences, and the Vatican; between Bishops, Priests, Religious Brothers and Sisters, Catechists, Pastoral workers and all the lay faithful in each diocese.  That is what a family is all about. (Applause)

Finally, our idea of the family, our image as a family must be brought to the Religious life.  Rev. Brother and Rev. Srs. must see a drastic change in their life-style to reflect our culture.  We must get closer to our family, and our families must get closer to our congregations.

Sr. Nkiru: Correct.  (applause)

Card. Udoka: Chief Domeyi will report on our culture.

Chief Domeyi: (Stands amids shouts of Igwe and Kabiesi.)

Inculturation is a priority for us today.  May Almighty God show us all the importance of inculturation.

All: Ise.

Chief Domeyi: May it bring us to the road leading to full evangelisation.

All: Ise.

Chief Domeyi: May our faith be rooted in our culture.

All: Ise.

Chief Domeyi: May we see the face of Christ in our culture.

All: Ise.

Chief Domeyi: Africa is a land of religion and deep faith.  We are very much aware of the reality of sin.  That is why we have many rites of purification and expiation.  For us, the family is fundamental.  We love and respect life, we love children and receive them with joy in our homes as gifts from God.  We love and respect our elderly parents and relatives, we love and respect our ancestors.  Our sense of solidarity and community is unassailable.  May no evil affect all these values.

All: Ise

Chief Domeyi: And may all be purified in Christ Jesus Our Lord.

All: Amen.  Igwe ..........(then applause)

Card. Udoka: Now, we shall get the sixth point from Rev. Fr. Jomoni.

Rev. Fr. Jomoni: There is a wonderful "human choir" that sings a beautiful piece of music.  We must join.  That music is called dialogue, and the choir master is God (applause).

We  must talk to all peoples because we are all from the same family.  We must call them to join that choir.  We must talk with our sisters of other Christian denominations.  We must talk with Muslims, with the African Traditional Religion, and with all people of good will. 

* Dialogue will help us to liberate all peoples,

* promote human progress,

* overcome division,

* bring credibility to the gospel,

* and bring about God's Kingdom here on Earth.  (Applause)

We must all join and sing the music that brings us together.  (A piece is sung to foster dialogue).

Card. Udoka: Sr. Nkiru, can I call you for part seven of the report?

Sr. Nkiru: In Africa, justice must reign.

1) We are to establish Justice and Peace Commissions in every diocese, Parish and Small Christian Community.

2) We are to study and implement the social teachings of the Church.

3) We are to point out the injustices that exist among us and around us.

4) We are to look for effective ways to change the situation. (Applause).

There is too much injustice in our land.  Africa is a very rich continent, but we are cheated on all sides. The so-called world debt ties us down.  The interest we pay on our huge debts makes economic recovery impossible.

All: Yes.

Sr. Nkiru: We get little for our exported raw material and pay high prices for imported products.

All: Yes.

Sr. Nkiru: Poor economic policies hinder development.  But the worst of it all is that our greedy leaders steal the wealth of our countries and put them in banks in Switzerland and elsewhere. (Rowdy Applause).

Chief Domeyi: We call on the Holy Father, the rulers of all nations, kings and princes, to help us catch these thieves and repatriate our money  (prolonged standing ovation).

Sr. Nkiru: There must be an end to embezzlement of funds.

All: Yes.

Sr. Nkiru: An end to corrupt leaders.

All: Yes.

Sr. Nkiru: An end to exploitation.

All: Yes.

Sr. Nkiru: An end to religious or tribal wars.

All: Yes.

Sr. Nkiru: An end to the sail of alms.

All: Yes.

Sr. Nkiru: In our times women are becoming more aware of their dignity and their special role in the Church and Society.  We affirm that man and woman are fundamentally equal.  The Bishops are to establish special commissions to study women's problem.  We deplore and condemn all customs and practices which deprive women of their rights and the respect due to them. (Applause).

Card. Udoka: We must communicate these truths to others.  In order to do that more effectively, we must take care of the means of communication.  Br. Thomas Jemaje will give our report on that.

Br. Thomas: Our mass media need to be evangelised thoroughly.  Jesus  is a perfect communicator.  We must communicate like Jesus.  We must use all our traditional means of communication to preach the word - songs must be there.

All: Eye o

Br. Thomas: Music!

All: (amidst drums etc.)   Eye o

Br. Thomas: Mimes and drama

All: Yowa

Br. Thomas: Proverbs and Stories. (Applause) We reject foreign media that are inimical to our custom and distort our valued vision of life  (Applause).

We are God's family.  We must move out to our other brothers in other continents to preach the word of God, to share the Gospel with them, and share our spiritual and material resources with all men.  (Applause).

Card. Udoka: Holy Father, that is the result of the African Synod which you convoked, and participated in.

Pope: My people of Africa!  We have laboured together.  We have gone through all these, walking hand in hand.  The word Synod is a Greek word meaning "Walking-together".  We shall continue to walk together as one family of God, and come right into the heart of Africa to end the Synod.  We shall see in Africa.

All: (Sing) A song for the Pope, the Royal pope .......( as the  singing goes on, the Pope gathers all the documents, and departs).

 

Act II, Scene 2.

Amids sounds of drums, horn, singing etc., the Pope walks into an African village, accompanied by some Cardinals.  He walks gracefully and mounts a Podium.  There he stands up and then speaks to the people.

Pope: My dear people of Africa! Otito dili Jesu.

All: Na ndu ebebe.  ( applause)

Pope: Asante sana  (applause)...Nagwode Allah (applause)...Habari Wote  (applause)

The whole world focuses on this God-blessed-land of Africa, on this people loved in special way by God.  My dear people of Africa, the Church loves you.  The Pope loves you.  (Timultous expression of Joy).

 

I have come to Africa to celebrate the concluding part of the Synod with you.  The Church endorses your deliberations.  I have carefully studied the report and I am glad that I was there when all these were being discussed.  Even the short time I was in the hospital, I followed the proceedings from my hospital bed.  (applause).  I enjoyed the closing Mass when I saw one of you, my cardinal, representing the Pope and presiding over the affairs (applause).

 

I put before you today a challenge:  a challenge to reject a way of living which does not correspond to the best of your traditions and your Christian faith.  Today I urge you to look inside yourself.  Look to the riches of your own traditions, look to your faith.  Here you will find genuine freedom; here you will find Christ who will lead you to the truth.

 

I hereby append my signature to this compilation of your decisions, thereby making it not just a document of the Church in Africa, but that of the universal church.

 

Ecclesia in Africa, given at Yaonde, in Cameroon, on 14 September, Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, in the year  1995, the seventeenth of my Pontificate.

Johannes Paulus II.

 

My people, go round all Africa, and proclaim the good news.  Go to the whole world and proclaim the good news.

The Synod has ended in Rome.

The Synod has begun in Africa.  (Applause).

 


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