The Vatican announced that Pope Francis will travel to Madagascar, Mauritius, and Mozambique between 4 and 10 September this year.
The Holy See press office said that the Pope will visit the cities of Maputo in Mozambique, Antananarivo in Madagascar and Port Louis in Mauritius. The programme for the visit will be published in due time.
Pilgrim of Peace and Hope
Pope Francis travels to the three nations as a pilgrim of peace, hope, and reconciliation, all themes that are reflected in the official logos of the journey.
According to the most recent census conducted by the National Institute of Statistics, 56.1% of the population of Mozambique are Christians, 17.9% Muslims, 18.7% had no religion, and 7.3% adhered to other beliefs.
Major Christian religious groups include Anglican, Baptist, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Congregational, Christadelpihians, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, and Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, as well as evangelical, apostolic, and Pentecostal churches.
There are over four million Catholics in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony. The country is divided into twelve dioceses including three archdioceses. The first mission was started by Portuguese Franciscans in 1500.
In Madagascar Roman Catholicism was introduced principally through French diplomats and missionaries beginning in the mid-19th century but only gained significant converts under French colonization of Madagascar beginning in 1896.
The early spread of Protestantism among the Merina elite resulted in a degree of class and ethnic differentiation among practitioners of Christianity, with the association of Protestantism with the upper classes and Merina ethnic group, and Catholicism attracting more adherents among the popular classes and coastal regions. Practitioners of Protestantism slightly outnumber adherents to Catholicism.
Christianity is the religion adhered to by 32.7 per cent of the population of Mauritius. Of these, 80.3 per cent are Roman Catholics. The Mauritian Creole and Franco-Mauritian ethnic groups are mostly Christian and significant parts of the Sino-Mauritian ethnic group are also mainly Christian. Mauritius got independence in 1968 and there was no state religion in Mauritius defined in the constitution.
The religious organizations present at the time of independence, namely, Roman Catholic Church, Church of England, Presbyterian Church, Seventhday Adventist, Hindus and Muslims are recognized by parliamentary decree.