By Vatican News
The Mahatazana quarry is run by the Akamasoa “City of Friendship” Association, which is a community founded by Fr Pédro Opeka to give Malagasy poor a way to provide for their families.
Pope Francis visited the quarry immediately after he met with around 8,000 young people who belong to the Association.
At the quarry in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, the Pope prayed for workers there and throughout the world, with these words:
God our Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
we thank you for gathering us as brothers and sisters in this place.
Before this rock, split by human labour,
we pray to you for workers everywhere.
We pray for those who work with their hands
and with immense physical effort:
soothe their wearied frames,
that they may tenderly caress their children
and join in their games.
Grant them unfailing spiritual strength and physical health,
lest they succumb beneath the burden of their labours.
Grant that the fruits of their work
may ensure a dignified life to their families.
May they come home at night to warmth, comfort and encouragement
and together, under your gaze, find true joy.
May our families know that the joy of earning our daily bread
becomes perfect when that bread is shared.
May our children not be forced to work,
but receive schooling and continue their studies,
and may their teachers devote themselves fully to their task,
without needing other work to make a decent living.
God of justice, touch the hearts of owners and managers.
May they make every effort
to ensure that workers receive a just wage
and enjoy conditions respectful of their human dignity.
Father, in your mercy, take pity on those who lack work.
May unemployment - the cause of such great misery –
disappear from our societies.
May all know the joy and dignity of earning their daily bread,
and bringing it home to support their loved ones.
Create among workers a spirit of authentic solidarity.
May they learn to be attentive to one another,
To encourage one another, to support those in difficulty
and to lift up those who have fallen.
Let their hearts not yield to hatred, resentment
or bitterness in the face of injustice.
May they keep alive their hope for a better world,
and work to that end.
Together, may they constructively defend their rights.
Grant that their voices and demands may be heard.
God our Father, you have made Saint Joseph,
foster father of Jesus and courageous spouse of the Virgin Mary,
protector of workers throughout the world.
To him I entrust all those who labour here, at Akamasoa,
and all the workers of Madagascar,
especially those experiencing uncertainty and hardship.
May he keep them in the love of your Son
and sustain them in their livelihood and in their hope.