GIS - 09 September, 2019: Mauritius is the final stop of His Holiness Pope Francis of a three-nation Africa tour where he is expected to celebrate the diversity and tolerance of Mauritius.
Thousands of faithful gathered in the capital Port-Louis, at the Marie Reine de la Paix Monument, while the Pope addressed the audience, composed of a melting pot of religions and ethnic groups.
The Pope celebrated mass at the Marie Reine de La Paix Monument, the same hillside location where John Paul II celebrated the eucharist during the last papal visit to Mauritius in 1989. Giant screens have been put up in Port Louis to allow devotees to watch the papal mass.
The Pope is on the last stop of his tour which has taken him to Mozambique and Madagascar from 4 to 10 September 2019. His visit coincides with the 155th anniversary of the death of Father Jacques Desire Laval, a French priest who died in Mauritius in 1864 and was beatified in 1979.
In the afternoon, Pope Francis will visit the shrine of Père Laval, known as the “Apostle of Mauritius” for his missionary work. Every year about 100 000 pilgrims visit the tomb of Père Laval, in Saint Croix, on the night of 8 to 9 September, to commemorate his death.
Afterwards, his Holiness will have a Tete-à-Tete with the Acting President, Mr Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, and the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, at the State House, Réduit. A Tree blessing ceremony will also be held where His Holiness will offer a blessing for the island’s natural environment. Mauritius has begun planting some 200,000 trees ahead of the Pope’s visit.
His departure is scheduled at 19 hrs.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 17 December 1936, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, when he was named the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Prior to his election as pope, Bergoglio served as archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013 as cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church of Argentina from 2001 to 2013, and as president of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 2005 to 2011.
Named Person of the Year by Time magazine in 2013, Pope Francis has embarked on a tenure characterised by humility and outspoken support of the world's poor and marginalised people, and has been involved actively in areas of political diplomacy and environmental advocacy.
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