News on Sunday

Pope Francis’ visit to Mauritius : a saintly blessing 

The arrival of Pope Francis in Mauritius has the whole island gearing up for one of its most important events of the year. From media coverage, road traffic and security to even a Pope plush, nothing is left to chance for the pontiff’s visit. 

Pope Francis is already being routed to accomplish his 31st apostolic trip in the Indian Ocean. He landed early evening at the international airport of Maputo, Mozambique, on Wednesday 4th September where he was warmly applauded when he got off the papal plane from Rome. After a brief ceremony, he attended the parade of honor before greeting the guests. Traditional dances of the country were performed in his honor.

Pope Francis

Following his visit in Mozambique, the Pope will then fly to Madagascar before coming to Mauritius on 9th September for one eventful day. Whether in the vault of Blessed Father Laval or in the sanctuary of Marie Reine de la Paix, where Pope Francis will preside mass, all  those involved are working hard to complete the works before welcoming the Pope in the island. 

The security aspect is the most critical one, which has been taken very seriously by the government. In addition to the police on leave, all police units will be mobilized during the visit of Pope Francis. Inspector Shiva Coothen of the Police Press Office confirmed the deployment of all major Police Force. He underlined that all security measures have been taken into account. Indeed, no misbehavior will be tolerated and the Police will take serious actions against offenders. As a result, undercover operations, led by Police Officers in their civilian clothes, are planned. Images of Safe City project cameras will be used to track down offenders.

Francisco

The various operation bases of the snipers of the GIPM have been finalised. Trained men of the MARCOSS unit and uniformed Police Officers from several divisions of the country will be deployed along the route that the sovereign pontiff will travel. The esplanade of Marie, Reine de la Paix, where the mass will be held, will be delimited in six zones and factions of uniformed policemen will be posted at these points. The Special Mobile Force soldiers, the Dog Handling Unit Police and the Anti-Drug Brigade will also be posted in several locations. Helicopters from the Police Force will fly over the various sites. Moreover, as a safety measure, the use of drones will be formally prohibited on 9th September within a radius of 2 km from any place Pope Francis will visit. 

Pope Francis

Effervescence 

FrancisOn the other hand, the Mauritian population is eagerly looking forward to Pope Francis’s visit and everything is being done to mark the event. Similar to Pope Jean Paul II’s visit thirty years back, the visit of Pope Francis will be a memorable one for the whole nation. On the initiative of the Diocesan service of the Youth Ministry and the service of vocations of the diocese (Service diocésain de la pastorale des jeunes et des vocations), a group of youngsters will welcome the latter while proudly wearing a jersey created only for the occasion. The youths will in fact be wearing the jersey of the Latin American Pope’s favorite football team of San Lorenzo, Argentina. The jersey, which bears the name Francis and the number 9, knows a huge success amongst the Mauritian youth. 

Moreover, Wally Plush Ltd, a company sepcialised in the making of plush, has decided to manufacture bookmarks, key chains and plush at the image of the sovereign pontiff. The products are sold at the manufacturing factor or online through order on the company’s Facebook page. 

The group Twins Tattoos Art Collective, on its side, made up of about ten young people, has taken the initiative to paint colourful frescoes at the effigy of Pope Francis on the walls of the Father Laval alley leading to Sainte Croix church. As Pope Francis will go along the alley before reaching the Church, he will have the chance to admire the frescoes. Graffiti artists, taggers, illustrators, tattoo artists and painters have been working day and night to not only give a new and fresh look to the walls of the alley but also to welcome Pope Francis with much love. 

 

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