.- This morning, Pope John Paul welcomed Felix Oudiane, Senegal’s new ambassador, to the Vatican, noting that country’s commitment to “seeking and consolidating peace in Africa.” Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano received the ambassador in the name of the Pope who remains in Rome’s Gemelli hospital following a February 24th tracheotomy surgery.
Cardinal Sodano gave the diplomat a copy of the Pope's welcome speech, in which the Holy Father notes Senegal’s "long tradition of coexistence among all the communities of which the nation is composed.”
“I am pleased”, the Pope wrote, “with the promising results of efforts made in your country to fortify civil peace, and to eliminate all those elements which can give rise to dissention and violent confrontation. It is essential that all inhabitants are able to live in security and harmony."
The Holy Father highlighted the fact that peace is "fundamental in order to realize people's just aspiration to live a dignified and solidary life.”
“Furthermore,” he said, “it is more necessary than ever to educate the new generations in the ideals of fraternity, justice and solidarity."
"Senegal's commitment to seeking and consolidating peace in Africa is well-known and appreciated by the international community," the Pope wrote, adding that the continent "has an urgent need for peace and stability.”
Violence will never be a satisfactory solution for resolving disagreements between human groups. Courage and perseverance are the most effective ways to achieve true reconciliation."
While recognizing that Senegal "is particularly sensitive to the importance of different religions being able to experience diversity within the unity of a nation," John Paul noted that, "This is one of the conditions for the full development of society.”
Despite the inevitable difficulties inherent in coexistence between different human communities, dialogue enables the richness of their diversity to be recognized."
The Pope also expressed the fact that dialogue needs to "find concrete expression in true coexistence among communities, in order to serve the common good of the one human family. There is still a long road to travel together, that of mutual knowledge, forgiveness and reconciliation, through regular collaboration that contributes to building a pacified and fraternal society."
In closing, the Holy Father addressed the Catholic community in Senegal, calling it to "always remain united to its bishops, so that the love of Christ may shine ever more brightly, and to share with everyone the joy and happiness that it never ceases to receive from God.”
“The Gospel calls all Christ's disciples to work tirelessly with all men and women of good will to build the unity of the human family, the source of which is in God."