ANTANANARIVO – Pope Francis touched down on Malagasy soil just after 4 pm local time on Friday, 6 September.
The Pope’s 31st Apostolic Journey abroad sees him visiting the people and the Church of Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.
After wrapping up the first leg of his journey in Mozambique with the celebration of Holy Mass in a packed stadium in the capital, Maputo, the Pope bade farewell to the people urging them to continue to pursue reconciliation and peace.
In Madagascar, he was greeted at the airport by the President and an official delegation. Two children in traditional dress offered him flowers and crowds of faithful expressed their joy at his arrival.
The visit begins in earnest on Saturday morning as the Pope pays a courtesy visit to political authorities at the Presidential Palace, addresses authorities, diplomats and leaders of civil society, and then goes on to recite the Midday Prayer at a Carmelite Convent.
During his first full day in the country, Pope Francis is also scheduled to meet with Madagascar’s bishops and visit the tomb of the Blessed Victoire Rasoamanarivo, before wrapping up the day with young people.
On Sunday, he will celebrate Holy Mass in Antananarivo and visit the so-called “City of Friendship” in Akamasoa, founded by missionary priest, Pedro Opeka.
On Monday, 9 September, the Holy Father will fly to the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius for the third and final leg of his journey.