09/06/2019, 19.46
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Pope in Madagascar: ‘Tonga soa’, ‘welcome’ on posters and banners

Francis is in Antananarivo. Upon leaving, he thanked Mozambique.

Antananarivo (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis has arrived in Madagascar. His first encounter with the island nation was very warm.

The 12 kilometres that separate Antananarivo airport from the nunciature was full of pictures and banners saying ‘Tonga soa’, ‘Welcome’ in Malagasy, to Pope Francis.

Vatican and Madagascar flags stood side by side at major intersections, next to posters with the pontiff’s picture and the motto of the visit ‘Sower of peace and hope’.

Francis landed at 3 pm local time, welcomed by Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina and his wife (pictured). Two children in traditional dress offered flowers to the Pope, in the presence of about three hundred people and the country’s bishops. A choir of 50 children greeted him at the nunciature.

As he left Mozambique, Pope Francis sent a message via Twitter (in Portuguese) to his hosts. “Sisters and brothers of Mozambique, thank you very much from my heart. Keep hope, stay united for a future of reconciliation and peace. May God bless you and may the Virgin Mother protect you!”

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