By Robin Gomes
“Servant of Hope” is the theme of the Pope's visit to Morocco on March 30-31.
The Holy Father is making the Apostolic Visit in response to the invitation of King Mohammed VI and the Bishops of the country. The trip to the Muslim-majority nation includes the cities of Rabat and Casablanca, and will be the Pope’s 26th outside Italy.
The official logo of the Pope’s visit was chosen from about 50 entries in a competition. An explanatory note accompanying the logo's release says that a cross and a crescent in the logo are symbols of Christianity and Islam which highlight the interreligious relations between Christians and Muslims.
In fact, during the 2-day trip, Pope Francis will meet the leader of Moroccan Muslims, 800 years after the meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Al-Malik al-Kāmil of Egypt.
The logo has the colours of the two countries: green and red for Morocco, yellow and white (background) for the Vatican.
Under Pope Francis' name is the motto of the visit: "Servant of Hope" because the Pope is known as the Servant of the Servants of God. The motto is also the title of the pastoral letter that the Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa (known by its French acronym CERNA) gave to Pope Francis during its last ‘ad
"Morocco" is written in Arabic to honour the country that is hosting the Pope.
Prior to the Morocco visit, the Pope is scheduled to make a trip to the United Arab Emirates on February 3-5.
Addressing the Diplomatic Corps on Monday in the Vatican, Pope Francis said that his visit to the 2 predominantly Muslim countries, “represent two important opportunities to advance interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding between the followers of both religions, in this year that marks the eight-hundredth anniversary of the historic meeting between Saint Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kāmil.”