Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - "Hope, Peace, Reconciliation": is the motto of the visit that Pope Francis is preparing to carry out from 4 to 10 September in the Countries of Southern Africa: Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.
In the case of Mozambique the three words of the motto have a particularly important meaning. Hope is needed especially in the northern areas affected by tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth. About 600 people died due to Idai and 45 others due to cyclone Kenneth. The material damage to infrastructures and crops amounted to at least 900 million dollars. The south, spared from the rains, instead suffers the heavy consequences of drought.
There is need for peace and reconciliation due to the strong political contrasts between the main political parties, which have resulted in some military confrontations. In view of the papal visit, on August 6, President Filipe Nyusi, a representative of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade signed a historic peace agreement (see Fides, 7/8/2019).
The desire for peace and reconciliation is even more felt in the province of Cape Delgado in northeastern Mozambique, where jihadist groups sow death and destruction. His Exc. Mgr. Luiz Fernando Lisboa, Bishop of Pemba in an open letter states that the local population is "fighting a ghost". "As long as - explains the Bishop - there are people who are used by invisible powers that impose their interests, there will be no peace, no reconciliation and even less hope in Mozambique". Mgr. Lisboa, however, encourages people of good will in Capo Delgado "not to give in to violence, or to get tired of asking for justice and peace, because it would mean leaving our brothers in the hands of criminals".
Finally, Pope Francis' visit is arousing enthusiasm also in neighboring Malawi, where the local Church is making arrangements to facilitate those who wish to travel to Mozambique. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 27/8/2019)