In Cameroon, pope asks bishops to lead new evangelization efforts

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI, on his first full day in Africa, encouraged Cameroon’s bishops to be strong preachers of the Gospel and vigilant shepherds on matters of priestly formation and behavior, liturgical dignity and Christian marriage.

Emphasizing the church’s missionary task, the pope said bishops must first of all be religious educators and men of prayer in order to lead the way of evangelization. He met with Cameroon’s 31 bishops March 18 in the Church of Christ the King in the Tsinga quarter of Yaounde, the capital of the country on Africa’s west coast.

Earlier in the day, the pope paid a formal visit to President Paul Biya at the Unity Palace for private talks and a gift-giving session. The pope presented the president with a mosaic from a Vatican workshop depicting St. Paul, who is being celebrated in a special year marking the 2,000th anniversary of his birth.

The meeting with bishops was a simple affair. After adoration of the Eucharist and a few songs from the church’s choir, the pope delivered his talk in French and English.

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