Currents News Staff
Pope Francis will visit the Sub-Saharan countries of Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius from September 4 – 10, for his sixth foreign trip of the year.
This will be the fourth time during his pontificate that he will be traveling to the African continent.
Three days in Mozambique kicks off the trip. The pontiff’s arrival comes a month after Filipe Nyusi, Mozambique’s president, signed an agreement to end decades of armed hostility with the country’s RNEMAO rebel leader.
Pope Francis will meet with the president and government leaders just ahead of their October elections, and only months after Cyclone Idai killed thousands and affected millions.
“May the God and Father of all strengthen efforts toward reconciliation, fraternal reconciliation in Mozambique and the whole of Africa” the Holy Father prayed ahead of his papl trip.
Pope Francis will then go to Madagascar for two days where he will meet with Carmelite sisters and visit the tomb of Blessed Victoire Rasoamanarivo, a native who devoted her life to serving the poor and sick.
He will also meet with Argentinian Fr. Pedro Opeka in Akamasoa, also called the “apostle of garbage,” for his missionary work in the country.
Although one of Africa’s poorest nations, Madagascar is rich in natural beauty.
“Your country is famous for its natural beauty. For this I say, ‘Laudato si!’ It is our duty to look after it carefully,” Pope Francis said.
The Holy Father will conclude his trip by spending eight hours in the small island of Mauritius. He will visit a shrine dedicated to Blessed Jacques-Désiré Laval, who cared for former slaves on the island in the 1800s.
Nearly a quarter to a third of each nation’s population is Catholic. Both Mozambique and Mauritius have 28.1 percent, while 34.8 percent of Madagascar’s population is Catholic.
Pope Francis will continue the pastoral mission St. John Paul II started 30 years ago, when he visited these countries marked by conflict, poverty, and the devastating effects of natural disaster.