“I come as pilgrim of peace and fraternity, in a world which has great need of both” of it, like my predecessor Pope John Paul II, says Pope Francis in a video-message addressed to Moroccans, this March 28, 2019, two days before his Apostolic Journey to the country.
In the message, the Pope highlights the interreligious dimension of this trip, to a country where Catholics constitute 0.07% of the population. “In as much as Christians and Muslims, we believe in the Creator and Merciful God, who created men and put them in the world to live as brothers, respecting their differences and aiding their needs.”
The Holy Father also pleads for a common commitment in favor of the environment. God “entrusted the earth, our common home, to us to safeguard it with responsibility and preserve it for the future generations.”
The Pontiff also expressed his desire to encourage the Christian community and to meet with “the migrants, who represent an appeal to build together a more just and solidary world.” This meeting is planned at the headquarters of the diocesan Caritas.
During the two days, March 30-31, the Pope will be in the capital, Rabat, where he will visit the Mohammed VI Institute of formation of Imams. King Mohammed VI and the country’s Authorities will welcome him.
* * *
Dear people of Morocco!
Soon I shall be arriving for a two-day visit to your country, and I thank God for granting me this opportunity.
I am grateful to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his kind invitation, and to the Moroccan authorities for their diligent cooperation.
Following in the footsteps of my predecessor Saint John Paul II, I come as a pilgrim of peace and of fraternity, in a world which has great need of both. As Christians and Muslims we believe in God the Creator and Merciful One, who has created men and women and placed them on the earth so that they might live together as brothers and sisters, respecting each other’s diversity and helping each other in their need. He has entrusted the earth – our common home – to them, to care for it responsibly and to preserve it for future generations.
It will be a joy for me to share these firm convictions with you directly at our meeting in Rabat. This journey also offers me the invaluable occasion to visit the Christian community in Morocco and to encourage its progress. I will meet migrants too, who represent an appeal to build together a more just and fraternal world.
Dear Moroccan friends, I already express my heartfelt thanks for your welcome, and above all for your prayers; and I assure you of my own prayers for you and for your dear country.
See you soon![Original text: Italian] [Vatican-provided text]