At the general audience, Francis retraced his journey to Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius. Before leaving and on the way back, the visit to the Our Lady, Salus populi romani "for her to accompany me". "With Our Lady I travel safely".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In Mozambique to "spread seeds of hope, peace and reconciliation in a land that has suffered so much in the recent past due to a long conflict", in Madagascar to bring the hope that "the Malagasy people can overcome adversity and build a future of development by combining respect for the environment and social justice" and in Mauritius "I expressed my appreciation for the commitment to harmonize the differences in a common project, and I encouraged them to preserve even in today’s world their capacity to welcome, as well as the effort to maintain and develop democratic life ". This is how Pope Francis summarized his journey to Africa, which concluded last night, at today's general audience.
To the 20 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square, the Pope also recalled his habit of going, before leaving and returning from each trip to the icon of Our Lady, Salus populi romani, preserved in Saint Mary Major, "to accompany me". "With Our Lady I travel safely".
"The hope of the world is Christ - said Francis - beginning his speech and his Gospel is the most powerful leaven of fraternity, freedom, justice and peace for all peoples. With my visit, following in the footsteps of holy evangelizers, I tried to bring this yeast to the Mozambican, Malagasy and Mauritian populations ".
"In Mozambique I went to spread seeds of hope, peace and reconciliation in a land that has suffered so much in the recent past due to a long armed conflict, and that last spring was hit by two cyclones that caused very serious damage. The Church continues to accompany the peace process, which has taken a step forward even on 1 August with a new agreement between the parties. And here I would like to pause to thank the Community of Sant Egidio which has worked so hard for this process ".
"My visit to Mozambique culminated in Mass, celebrated in the rain. But everyone was happy: the songs, the religious dances, but everyone was happy. There the call of the Lord Jesus resounded: "Love your enemies" (Lk 6:27), the seed of true revolution, that of love, which extinguishes violence and generates brotherhood ".
"From Maputo we moved to Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. A country rich in natural beauty and resources, but so very marked by poverty. I hoped that, driven by its traditional spirit of solidarity, the Malagasy people could overcome adversity and build a future of development by combining respect for the environment and social justice. As a prophetic sign in this direction, I visited the "City of Friendship" - Akamasoa, founded by a missionary, Father Pedro Opeka: there we try to combine work, dignity, care for the poorest, education for children. All animated by the Gospel. In Akamasoa, near the granite quarry, I raised the workers Prayer to God ".
“Last Monday was dedicated to a visit to the Republic of Mauritius, a well-known tourist destination, but which I chose as a place of integration between different ethnic groups and cultures. In fact, over the last two centuries, different populations have landed in that archipelago, especially from India; and after independence it experienced a strong economic and social development. There is strong interreligious dialogue and also friendship between the heads of religions”.
"Holy Mass was celebrated at the Monument of Mary, Queen of Peace, in memory of Blessed Jacques-Désiré Laval, known as the" apostle of the Mauritian unity ". The Gospel of the Beatitudes, the identity card of Christ's disciples, in that context is an antidote to the temptation of selfish and discriminatory well-being, and it is the leaven of true happiness, imbued with mercy, justice and peace. I was struck by the work that the bishops do for evangelization and for the poor. Later, in the meeting with the Authorities of Mauritius, I expressed my appreciation for the commitment to harmonize the differences in a common project, and I encouraged them to continue the capacity of acceptance, as well as the effort to maintain and develop democratic life."