After full days in Mozambique and Madagascar, Pope Francis arrived in Port Louis, Mauritius, this morning, the final and third stop on his three-nation African apostolic journey.
Today, September 9th is the feast of Blessed Jacques Désiré Laval, often called the Apostle of Mauritius.
After a welcoming ceremony at the airport, the Pope’s first public event is celebrating Mass and later, he will pray before the Blessed French missionary priest’s tomb.
Today’s itinerary represents a departure from standard protocol as often, the Holy Father’s first public events involve visiting the president, signing the book of honor, and addressing authorities. However, in the small island nation, for logistical reasons, the order of the Argentinian Pope’s events today was inverted.
The Holy Father’s Sept. 4-10 visit to the ‘three ‘M’s’ of Mozambique, Madagascar, and Mauritius, marks the Pope’s fourth visit to Africa, his second to Sub-Saharan Africa, and represent the Holy Father’s attention to the peripheries and the poor. It also marks his 31st Apostolic Trip.
Each of these nations had been visited by St. Pope John Paul II during his pontificate.
After his full day in Mauritius, the Pontiff and his entourage will return to Antananarivo, Madagascar, to stay overnight, and then fly back to Rome tomorrow.