The papal conclave of Vatican has been subjected to many thriller movies and suspense novels in all world languages. But as from March 2013, when Pope Francis came on the balcony of the Church and asked the crowd that had gathered to bless him, since then the subject of books has been changed from suspense to biographies and memoires of Pope Francis himself. The first Jesuit to become Pope, the first Latin American to become Pope, the first Pope to visit Arab countries, the Pope who loves football. The list goes on. And this 82-year-old extraordinary Pope, who has changed definitions, is coming to our small island nation next Monday.
Everyone is excited about the Pope’s visit to Mauritius. The government has been working hard on construction works. The local church is excited with so many events planned, the hotels are thrilled to host people who are coming to the island for a glimpse of the Pope. Even the tour operators have designed exclusive tours for the Pope’s visit. Christians from Reunion Island, Rodrigues, Seychelles, and the Comoros Archipelago, accompanied by their bishops, will be present in Mauritius on this occasion.
After the visit of Pope John II to Mauritius in 1989, Pope Francis will now visit Mauritius on 9th September, this year, and will celebrate mass at Marie Reine de la Paix in Port Louis.
The official logos
Pope Francis travels to the three nations on the theme of “A pilgrim of peace, hope and reconciliation,” all themes that are reflected in the official logos of the journey. ‘Peace’ in Mozambique, ‘hope’ in Madagascar, and probably ‘reconciliation’ is for Mauritius. The world is talking about this visit and the newspapers and magazines around the world don’t seem to see any good reason for the Pope visiting Mauritius, so they are making their own conclusions.
An American magazine quoted: “A papal visit is always a special and welcome event in Africa.” The Nigerian-born Father Orobator said: “I believe he will put fresh hearts into a people facing so many challenges.” He added, “Think of Cyclone Idai and its devastating consequences [in Mozambique] or the multiple tragedies that people in Madagascar have had to deal with in recent times. And the political uncertainties in Mauritius.”
Really, these magazines need to find some other good reasons.
Importance of Africa
The Pope’s visit is of great significance, not only for these three countries but he will also visit the Catholic Church in this African continent of 54 countries and 1.3 billion people (17 percent of the world’s population).
Francis is expected to have private meetings with many of the “close to 400 Jesuits” who are in the three countries he will visit. The Society of Jesus is a religious order of the Catholic Church headquartered in Rome. It was founded in 1540. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in 112 nations.
The schedule in Mauritius:
- 10:40 AM: Arrival ceremony at the SSR International Airport
- 12:15 PM: Mass at the monument Marie Reine de la Paix (Homily by the Pope)
- Lunch with members of “Conférence Épiscopale de l’Océan Indien, CEDOI,” an agency of the Catholic Church which includes the following Indian Ocean archipelagoes: Comoros, Mauritius, Réunion, Mayotte and Seychelles
- 4:25 PM: Private visit to the Shrine of Pere Laval.
- 4:55 PM: Courtesy visit with the President at State House.
- 5:15 PM: Meeting with the Prime Minister at State House.
- 5:40 PM: Meeting with government authorities, leaders of civil society, and the diplomatic corps at State House (Speech by the Pope)
- 6:45 PM: Farewell ceremony at the SSR International Airport
- 7 PM: Departure by airplane to Antananarivo
Six security cameras at St. Croix
The Traffic Watch mobile app has been updated. Six cameras have been added to the thirty already available on this app by Mauritius Telecom. The six cameras are all located in Sainte-Croix, near the church. One of them overlooks the entrance of the church; a second one focuses on the parking lot and a third one on the Shrine of Father Laval. As for the other three cameras, they overlook the Sainte Croix road, the Père Laval alley and the Pamplemousses road. This application allows everyone to view in real time road traffics around the church of St. Croix. The goal is to facilitate those who will attend the church as part of the visit of Pope Francis.
Regarding traffic, Volcy Pougnet Street will be open to traffic. The following roads will be, however, closed, namely junction Volcy Pougnet Street and Labourdonnais Street; junction Orléans Street and Volcy Pougnet Street; Old Moka Road Junction and Mgr. Leen Street; junction Labourdonnais Street and Mgr Leen Street. Pedestrian zones, namely all side paths leading to the monument Marie Reine de la Paix, will be decreed from 4:00 to 18:00. Access to the Marie Reine de la Paix monument on 9th September will be possible as from 6:00 am. The site will be secured the day before, 8th September. Thus, the public will not be able to access the site or camp in the vicinity of the monument Marie Reine de la Paix, the day before.
Air Mauritius’s Shepherd One
Shepherd One is the international code name of the Air Mauritius plane which will be carrying Pope Francis from Mauritius to Madagascar after his visit to the island on Monday 9th September. The plane, an Airbus A330 Neo, is one of the latest acquisitions of the national civil aviation company. It is equipped with the latest technology instruments. Special accommodations and security arrangements were made for this flight.
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