During the flight, Francis called on accompanying journalists to pray for the "brothers and sisters who are suffering as a result of these hurricanes in the Bahamas.”
Maputo (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis was welcomed by traditional dances and a cheering crowd shortly after 6 pm in Maputo, the first stop on his 31st pastoral journey.
Francis arrived in the southern African nation after almost 10 hours of flight. During this time, as usual he greeted the journalists accompanying him on the trip, but he took some time out to speak about the Bahamas.
“I would like to invite you,” he said, “each one of you in your heart, to say a prayer for the victims of the hurricanes in the Bahamas: they are poor people who suddenly, from one day to the next, lose their homes, everything, even their lives. Each one of you in your heart should pray for these brothers and sisters who are suffering as a result of these hurricanes in the Bahamas.”
At Maputo airport, on a windy evening, the Holy Father was welcomed by Mozambican President, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, and Mozambique’s First Lady, whilst two children in traditional dress offered flowers. After the delegations were introduced, dances and songs followed as a token of welcome.
Tomorrow, a meeting with the authorities and representatives of civil society is scheduled in the morning.
For Francis it will be an opportunity to talk about "hope, peace and reconciliation", which are the themes of the visit, a few weeks after the president signed a peace deal last month with RENAMO, the country’s main opposition party.
The Pope will very likely speak about peace and reconciliation during the afternoon meeting with bishops and priests.