VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis will visit the eastern African nation of Mozambique and the island nations of Madagascar and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean Sept. 4-10.
Accepting invitations on behalf of the bishops and heads of state in the three countries, the Vatican said March 27, the pope will visit the capital cities: Maputo, Mozambique; Antananarivo, Madagascar; and Port Louis, Mauritius.
A detailed program for the visit will be published later.
Meanwhile, the Vatican press office released the logos and themes of his visit to each country.
The theme “Hope, Peace and Reconciliation” with an image of a dove featured on the logo for the trip to Mozambique is meant to symbolize the peace the country seeks to hold onto after years of civil war.
For Madagascar logo, the pope is pictured on a background showing a dry landscape adorned with the local baobab tree and the native ravenala plant. It reflects in part how the nation has been a land of missionaries and witnesses to the Gospel who were killed for their faith, five of whom are pictured next to the pope. The theme is “Sower of peace and hope.”
The theme, “Pilgrim of Peace” for Mauritius, uses a logo of the nation’s flag, meant to unite the different ethnic groups living there, along with a dove and the pope waving to the people.
In the former Portuguese colony of Mozambique, 30 percent of the people are Catholic, 40 percent are of other Christian denominations and 19 percent are Muslim.
About 25 percent of the 25.6 million people in Madagascar are Catholic. In Mauritius, more than 48 percent of the population of 1.3 million people are Hindu, 25 percent Catholic and 17 percent Muslim.