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Fr. Gabriel Randrianantenaina, the Coordinator of the Bishops’ Conference of Madagascar Fr. Gabriel Randrianantenaina, the Coordinator of the Bishops’ Conference of Madagascar 

Madagascar: “We are living the papal visit as a historical moment of grace.”

As Pope Francis visits the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, Fr. Gabriel Randrianantenaina, the Coordinator of the Bishops’ Conference of Madagascar, says the people are living the visit as a historical moment of grace.

Jean-Pierre Bodjoko, SJ – Antananarivo, Madagascar

Father Randrianatenaina says the people of Madagascar started preparing for the visit as soon as it was confirmed.  He was commenting on what so far is turning out to be a successful papal visit.

The Pope arrived in the capital Antananarivo on Friday, 6 September 2019.

The visit is a great joy for all the Malagasy people

“This beautiful country has so much potential from the economic, human wealth and cultural point of view. Most of the cultural and human potential that Madagascar has to offer is yet to be discovered and appreciated by the larger world,” said Father Randrianatenaina.

We are ready to start anew

Father Randrianatenaina acknowledges that Madagascar faces many challenges, including poverty and political instability. “Despite the various events that have marked the history of Madagascar we have hope and, with this visit, we want to start on a new slate,” he said. Adding that it was no coincidence that the motto of this visit depicts Pope Francis coming as a sower of peace and hope.

“The Pope has come among us as a Sower of peace. From a political point of view, notwithstanding some controversies, the last general election (won by President Andry Rajoelina) went reasonably well,” explaianed  Father Randrianatenaina.

A dynamic Church with a missionary zeal far beyond its young age

Regarding the situation of the Malagasy Church, Father Randrianatenaina is delighted with the dynamism that characterises the faithful of Malagasy. He says Madagascar has a missionary zeal that goes far beyond the Church’s young age.

With its 22 dioceses, the Malagasy Church is divided into five ecclesiastical provinces.

The only challenge to vocations is that of discernment

Father Randrianatenaina also affirms that seminaries and novitiates are full and the only problem the Church faces in this regard is that of discerning good vocations. He gives thanks to God for this flowering of vocations which he explains as a gift from God.

Asked to describe the visit of Pope Francis in a phrase, Father Randrianatenaina said, for now, the Malagasy people were “living the Pope’s visit as a historical moment  of grace.”

08 September 2019, 15:22