Pope in Madagascar insists: 'Poverty is not inevitable'

Elias Hubbard
September 11, 2019

On Sunday (Sept. 8) Francis told about 1 million people who gathered for Mass, "In the face of contempt for human dignity, we often remain with arms folded or stretched out as a sign of our frustration before the grim power of evil".

After fulfilling the required protocol obligations with the government leaders, Pope Francis went to a Discalced Carmelite monastery to meet about 100 nuns representing the island's contemplative communities.

POPE FRANCIS said Mass before 1million people in Madagascar yesterday.

Akamasoa was founded in 1990 as "solidarity movement to help the poorest of the poor".

Pope Francis said Akomasosa was "an expression of God's presence in the midst of his people who are poor".

The pope is in the island nation of Mauritius on Monday, the last stop of his trip before he returns to the Vatican Sept. 10.

"We are exhausted, but it's worth making all these sacrifices to see the pope with our own eyes and receive his blessing", he said.

Many had already set up tents on the outskirts of the city on Friday, festooned with posters of the pontiff. "At its foundations, we find a living faith translated into concrete actions capable of 'moving mountains.' A faith that made it possible to see opportunity in place of insecurity; to see hope in place of inevitability; to see life in a place that spoke only of death and destruction".

More than half of its young people are out of work, even if many have good qualifications. About 700 people work in the quarry.

At the beginning of his homily, the pope acknowledged the sacrifice people made to get to the Mass site and, especially, the discomfort endured by those who camped out.

"Allow the gifts that the Lord has given you to flourish in your midst".

Pope Francis told the politicians and ambassadors, "We can not speak of integral development without showing consideration and care for our common home", which means that a way must be found to preserve natural resources, while also investing in education, health care and job creation.

Some 900,000 more people have found respite in the community's "welcome centers", at which they are able to stay for up to three weeks in periods of crisis or need.

The country also is challenged by a frightening rate of deforestation as prized rosewood trees are cut down illegally and exported, mainly to China, and as other forest lands are cleared by poor farmers trying to eke out a living.

The crisis facing the island nation in the Indian Ocean is "both social and environmental", the pope said September 7 as he met President Andry Rajoelina, other government officials, diplomats serving in Madagascar and representatives of major aid and development agencies.

"This has given you the chance to take the lead in shaping this enterprise".

Instead of picking through garbage, which is what the families were doing before Father Opeka came along, now some earn a living breaking granite, while others are involved in construction or work for the community or its schools or clinics.

"Dear friends of Akamasoa, dear Father Pedro and co-workers, thank you once again for your prophetic witness of hope".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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