After Mozambique, Pope Francis spends the weekend in Madagascar where he is preparing to celebrate, Sunday, September 7, a large mass for the faithful of the capital Antananarivo.
Several hundred thousand Malagasy people from all over the country are expected this Sunday, on the edge of the capital, Antananarivo, to attend the Mass of Pope Francis. This liturgy is the culmination of the second day of his visit to the "Big Island".
The local Catholic Church expects up to 800,000 people to "Soamandrakizay" ( "A good for all eternity" in the local language), an old vineyard of 60 hectares specially arranged, to hear the message of the Holy Father.
In Madagascar, a predominantly Christian island with a third of Catholics, religious institutions play a fundamental role in education and health.
Fight against "great precariousness"
On Saturday, during a meeting with the country's political and civil authorities, the Argentine pope called for the fight against "corruption and speculation that increase social disparity", evoking the " sometimes very inhuman" precariousness of the population of the country. the island.
The political instability of the country has not favored its economic development, mainly based on agriculture, including the export of vanilla and cocoa.
In Madagascar, the fifth largest island in the world (587,000 km2) where nine-tenths of its 25 million people live on less than two dollars a day, many people do not have enough to eat and do not go to school.
Along the roads of the capital, an ardent and poor crowd watched Saturday the passage of the car of the pope, progressing on rough roads along paddy fields, fires crafted to cook red bricks and modest stalls of fruits.
Sunday, François will address them, after a first appointment Saturday night with 100,000 young people invited to a vigil. The last visit of Pope John Paul II to Madagascar dates back thirty years.
"The arm of God"
Faithful arrived these last days in Antananarivo, sheltered under tents in the courses of the parishes and schools of the capital to be at work Sunday for the mass.
"We spent 65,000 ariary (16 euros) and brought 3 kg of rice to make the trip to Antananarivo," says a faithful, Jean-Claude Rabemanatrika, a 40-year-old farmer. "We are five at home, we do not have enough money so we had to choose: just a family member for the trip. "
In the afternoon, the Argentine pope is expected in the city of Akamasoa ( "Good friends" in Malagasy). Its founder, Pedro, also an Argentinian, has taken thousands of people out of misery by creating on the rubbish of an old dump this clean city of 25,000 inhabitants.
Its genesis dates back to 1989, its one-story houses, pastel color, seem straight out of a tale for children. But the unbearable smell of waste and the colonies of stubborn flies remind us of the immediate proximity of the waste that always accumulates over meters of height.
An essential figure of Catholicism in Madagascar, Father Pedro, 71, is considered "the arm of God" or "the second pope" by those who owe him a better life.
The Akamasoa schools, funded by donations, host more than 14,000 students who are served meals. During this visit, Francis will also deliver "a prayer for the workers" on the site of a career managed by the City friendship.
He will end his day with a meeting with priests and nuns of the country, before a quick visit Monday on the tourist island and multi-ethnic Mauritius.
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