From September 4-10, 2019, Pope Francis will go successively to Mozambique, Madagascar, and Mauritius. Three countries in which Catholic heritage remains strong, but where society is plagued by many evils, including corruption and the growth of sects.
Mozambique, the first destination of the pontiff, is a land where Catholicism still remains the majority religion, with the faithful representing 29% of the 29 million inhabitants. The country has 12 dioceses, including 3 archdioceses, and more than 2,000 religious men and women.
Even though freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution, the presence of many sects and the expansion of Islam in Mozambique pose a concrete threat to the future of the Catholic Church in the country, which is awaits, not ecumenical discourses, but strong words of encouragement, of faith and hope from the Vicar of Christ.
With a population of nearly 25 million, Madagascar, as the Argentine pope will find out when he visits from September 6-8, is one of the poorest countries on the planet.
A quarter of the inhabitants are Catholic, in a country with 22 dioceses. The Church remains the reference among the population, because it remains the only institution to really alleviate the poverty and misery, that cannot restrain an political power that is unstable and accused of corruption.
On September 9, the Holy Father will travel to Mauritius for a day, completing his journey.
On this island with 1.3 million inhabitants, Catholics represent 26.3% of the population for a single diocese—Port Louis—far behind the Hindus who are nearly half of the population. Pope Francis is going to visit a country marked by corruption, and a local church where the lack of vocations is such that the Diocese of Port Louis must appeal to priests from abroad.
It is the 13th apostolic journey outside Italy that the pontiff has undertaken since he turned 80 years old, almost 3 years ago; the 31st since the beginning of his pontificacy