AFRICA: Pope Sends Video Messages Ahead of Visit

VATICAN, SEPTEMBER 3, 2019 (CISA)- Pope Francis has sent video messages to the people of Mauritius, Mozambique and Madagascar, thanking them for their prayers and preparations ahead of his 31st Apostolic visit scheduled for September 4-10.

“Dear brothers and sisters of Madagascar, with the grace of God in a few days’ time, I will be among you. I wish to already send you my cordial greeting, together with thanks for all that you have done and are doing to prepare for my visit. Above all I thank you for your prayer, whether personal, in families, in parish communities, or in hospitals and prisons,” he said September 2.

The Pope noted that although he will visit only a few places, he will reach all Malagasy people with Prayer and implore God’s blessing for all.

He further urged them to take care of the natural beauty that Madagascar is famous for, and also uphold their Christian faith.

“Dear Malagasy friends, your country is famous for its natural beauty, and for this we say Laudato si! It is our duty to look after it with care. But there is another beauty that is even more dear to Christ and to the Pope, that of his people, which is your holiness! For this reason, I will come to confirm you in faith and at the same time to draw from it,” he said.

In the Message to Mozambicans, Pope Francis said his heart reaches out to embrace all the people of Mozambique, even though he will be, “…unable to go beyond the capital”.

He extended his fraternal embrace especially to, “…those who live in difficult situations.”

“I would like to leave you with this certainty, you are all in my prayers. I look forward to meeting you,” he said.

The Pope thanked Mozambique’s president and Catholic bishops for inviting him to visit and urged everyone to pray with him for the reconciliation process underway in the country.

Saying that reconciliation is the only hope for a solid and lasting peace.

“This Journey will allow me to meet the Catholic community and confirm it in its witness to the Gospel, which affirms the dignity of every man and woman and asks us to open our hearts to others, especially the poor and needy,” he said.

To the people of Mauritius, Pope Francis said it will be a joy for him to proclaim the gospel among the people who have distinguished themselves for having been formed by the coming together of different ethnicities.

The Pope will spend September 4-5 in Mozambique, September 7 -8 in Madagascar, September 9 -10 in Mauritius and depart for Rome, September 10.