By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis begins the 31st apostolic journey of his pontificate on Wednesday. This time he travels to Africa, visiting Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius from 6 to 10 September.
His second stop in the 3-nation visit will be Madagascar, 6-8 September.
Ahead of his visit, the Pope sends a video message to the people of Madagascar, thanking them for their preparation for his visit. Speaking in Italian, he particularly thanks them for their “prayer, whether personal, in families, in parish communities or in hospitals and prisons.”
Stressing that prayer knows no boundaries, he says, “when I am in Madagascar, even if I can visit only a few places, with prayer I will reach everyone, and I will implore God's blessing for all.”
The Pope notes that Madagascar is “famous for its natural beauty, and for this, we say: "Laudato si!". He says “it is our duty to look after it with care.”
However, there is another beauty that is “even more dear to Christ and to the Pope: that of His people, that is your holiness!” the Pope notes. For this reason, he says, “I will come to confirm you in faith and at the same time to draw from it.” He prays to the Blessed Virgin to obtain for them this gift.
“Thank you and see you soon!” the Pope concludes.
The Pope will arrive in the morning in the Madagascan capital, Antananarivo, from Maputo, Mozambique, on 7 September. During his some 86-hour visit, mostly in the capital, he is scheduled to deliver 7 speeches, including 2 homilies and a greeting. In the morning of 9 September, he flies to Mauritius, the final leg of his Africa visit.