FCC News Desk
Pope Francis arrived in Maputo, Mozambique on Wednesday, kicking off a Sept. 4-10 trip to sub-Saharan Africa. The pope was greeted by government officials at a welcoming ceremony, with singing crowds lining the streets.
On the nearly 11-hour flight to Africa, Pope Francis offered prayers for victims of Hurricane Dorian, which tore through the Bahamas this week, causing widespread devastation.
He encouraged people to pray “for the victims of the hurricanes in the Bahamas, poor people who in one day lost their homes, lost everything and lost their lives.”
During his trip, Pope Francis will meet with government authorities and Church leaders in Mozambique. He will visit the Zimpeto DREAM center, a medical clinic run by the lay Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio, which focuses on HIV prevention and antiretroviral treatment. He will also spend two days in Madagascar, where he will meet with civic and Catholic leaders and attend a prayer vigil for youth, among other events.
The pope will make a brief stop in Mauritius, where he will celebrate Mass and meet with authorities before returning to Rome.
Ahead of his trip, Pope Francis said he had a special place in his heart for all residents of Mozambique “who live in tribulation.”
The country suffered grave destruction and loss of life after being struck by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in March and April of this year. Nearly 700 people lost their lives in the cyclones, and destruction to land and infrastructure was estimated to reach almost $900 million in damages.
The pope is expected to speak about climate change while he is in Africa.