Ten years after the 1994 Synod for Africa, His Holiness Pope John Paul II plans to call a such assembly. He announced this, without elaboration, while addressing Catholic bishops from Africa and Europe who were concluding their meeting in Rome, Italy, on Saturday, November 13, 2004.
"Considering the wishes of the post-synodal council which express the desires of the African pastors," he said, "I take advantage of this occasion to announce that I have the intention of calling a second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. I entrust this project to your prayer, as I invite all to ask Our Lord for the great gift of community and of peace for the beloved land of Africa."
Pope John Paul II was receiving participants in the Symposium of Bishops from Africa and Europe promoted by the Symposium of the Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe (CCEE). The theme of the meeting, held November 10-13, 2004, was Communion and Solidarity between Europe and Africa.
"I am glad," he said, "that you have considered your desire to explore the bonds of sacramental fraternity which inspire your pastoral commitment to the service of God and your brothers and sisters." He added that the pastors in Europe and Africa are called to bear witness to fraternal love "in order to face the great challenges that question the Christian faith in our globalized society."
He assured them his prayers, "invoking upon them the protection of Our Lady, Star of Evangelization, as well as the special intercession of St Augustine of Hippo, whose figure is a bridge between Africa and Europe.
Today is the 1650th anniversary of his birth and during these days his relics are in Rome."