Tuesday 17 September 2019

Pope Francis arrives in Mauritius on final leg of his tour

Among the pontiff’s engagements was a mass to honour a priest who ministered to freed slaves.

Pope Francis arrives to celebrate mass at the Monument Mary Queen of Peace, in Port Louis, Mauritius (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)
Pope Francis arrives to celebrate mass at the Monument Mary Queen of Peace, in Port Louis, Mauritius (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Pope Francis has arrived in the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius to celebrate its diversity and honour a 19th century French missionary who ministered to freed slaves.

Thousands of Mauritians waved palm branches as Francis arrived on Monday to celebrate a mass honouring the Reverend Jacques-Desire Laval.

While Catholics represent less than a third of Mauritius’ 1.3 million people, Father Laval is seen as a unifying figure for all Mauritians, most of whom are Hindu.

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Faithful wave palm leaves as Pope Francis passes by with Vatican and Mauritius flags (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Francis is in the Mauritian capital Port Louis for just a few hours to meet with government leaders on the final day of his week-long Africa trip.

Attending the mass was a 50-member delegation from the Chagos Islands, an Indian Ocean archipelago that includes the US air base on Diego Garcia.

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