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Pope visiting Mozambique: Father Suate (Vatican Radio), “may his arrival be an opportunity for real, solid and lasting peace”

“We are in a moment of respite. When John Paul II arrived in Mozambique in 1998, his visit was an opportunity to launch the peace process that led to the signature of a peace agreement in 1992. We do hope that Pope Francis’ arrival will be an opportunity to achieve real, solid and lasting peace in the country”. It is with this hope that Mozambique is awaiting Pope Francis. From 4 to 10 September, the Holy Father will make an apostolic trip to Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius, visiting the cities of Maputo, Antananarivo and Port Louis in these countries. Father Bernardo Suate, head of the Portuguese Section of Vatican Radio, and a priest from the diocese of Pemba (Mozambique), made these remarks as he spoke of the papal visit with a group of journalists at a meeting in Rome this morning organized by the Association ISCOM, connected to the University of the Holy Cross. “The first reaction to the announcement of the papal trip – the priest explained – was great joy”. The country of Mozambique has been faced with many challenges in the recent past: a civil war which lasted 16 years, the signing of peace in 1992, and then the resumption of military conflict between the ruling and opposition parties. “Amidst so many problems, challenges and wars – Fr. Bernardo said -, the people of God persevered in the faith. We define ourselves as a Church of small communities, a family-Church”. “Pope Francis’ arrival – the priest continued – is also seen as a balm for our wounds”. Unfortunately, the North of the country continues to be the target of armed attacks that cause deaths among civilians and security forces. Even Christian churches and chapels are targeted and burned down, and the Church “is there, with the people. She lives and suffers together with her people”, Father Suate emphasised. Besides this lack of stability, two tropical cyclones hit the country in the months of March and April causing death and destruction. “We are a Church faced with many challenges – Father Bernardo remarked  – but we also like to see ourselves as a living, dynamic and united Church, a Church able to listen to the signs of the times, with an ear turned towards God and the other towards the sufferings, expectations and hopes of the people. This is the Church that Pope Francis will find”.

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