“I thank God who has allowed me to make this journey as a pilgrim of peace and hope.“
The Holy Father expressed his gratitude to all who made his visit possible to the faithful gathered at his weekly General Audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square.
Francis was discussing his fourth Apostolic Visit to Africa, where he visited the southern African nations of Mozambique, Madagascar and the Island of Mauritius, Sept. 4-10, 2019. He returned only last evening, and still held his weekly General Audience this morning.
“The hope of the world is Christ,” the Holy Father underscored, stressing “His Gospel is the most powerful leaven of fraternity, freedom, justice and peace for all peoples.”
“With my visit, in the footsteps of holy evangelizers,” the Pope said, “I tried to bring this leaven, the leaven of Jesus, to the Mozambican, Malagasy and Mauritian populations.”
In Mozambique, the Holy Father said, he wished to to spread seeds of hope, peace and reconciliation in a land that has suffered so much in the recent past due to a long armed conflict, and that last spring was hit by two cyclones that caused very serious damage.
“The Church continues to accompany the peace process, which has taken a step forward even on 1 August with a new agreement between the parties,” Francis said, thanking the Community of Sant’Egidio “who has worked so hard,” in this peace process and beyond.
From Maputo, Francis recalled said he moved to Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.
Stressing it is a “country rich in natural beauty and resources, but marked by so much poverty,” the Pope expressed his hope that, inspired by its traditional spirit of solidarity, “the Malagasy people could overcome adversity and build a future of development by combining respect for the environment and social justice.”
In Mauritius, Francis recalled that in this land of different cultures, he expressed his appreciation for their efforts to foster harmony between different groups.
“The Gospel at our final Mass reminded us how the Beatitudes – the identity card of Christ’s disciples – are the source of peace and hope. Let us pray that, from the seeds sown during this visit, God will bring forth abundant fruit for the people of Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius. ”