The Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis has arrived in Mauritius, the final leg of his three-nation tour of southern Africa nations.
Thousands of people have flocked to the capital, Port Louis, to catch a glimpse of the leader of the Catholic Chuch, including Solange who told the BBC she saw his predecessor Pope John Paul II 30 years ago:
“I still remember how we welcomed the Pope in 1989. With age, I am doubly emotional and his message of simplicity and humbleness is important to us.”
Pope Francis was met by the prime minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, who had earlier said the Pope would find a model of pluralism in the Indian Ocean island, a melting pot of religions and ethnic groups.
Mauritius is predominantly Hindu but about 30% of the population is Christian – mostly Catholic – and some 17% are Muslims.
“It will not be a visit of Pope Francis to Catholics, but to the people of Mauritius in all its religious diversity,” Cardinal Maurice Piat, Bishop of Port Louis, told the media.
While in Madagascar on Sunday, the Pope issued a stinging denunciation of that country’s failure to tackle environmental problems and inequality.