President, dancers, crowds welcome Francis to Mozambique

Pope Francis at the airport in Maputo, Mozambique, after his arrival (CNS/Paul Haring)

Greeted with full military honours, traditional dances and huge crowds lining the streets, Pope Francis arrived in Mozambique overnight at the start of a weeklong trip to Africa. Source: CNS.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and two children offering flowers welcomed Pope Francis as he stepped off the plane in Maputo after a flight of just over 10 hours.

The sun had already set as the Pope’s plane made its final approach. The official portion of the welcome ceremony was brief, and there were no speeches.

But several groups of dancers and drummers began their numbers when the Pope was walking to the Popemobile, and women in the crowd began ululating, so he paused to watch and wave encouragement.

Some of the dancers were dressed traditionally – grass skirts and leopard-print costumes predominated – but one group wore white T-shirts, white shorts and white tennis shoes.

Young men played the xigovia, a traditional woodwind instrument made from a gourd; its sound was similar to that of a kazoo.

Thousands of people lined the streets from the airport to the apostolic nunciature where the Pope was staying. Most stood in the dark unless they were at an intersection, which is where streetlights are more common.

As is customary during the flight from Rome, The Pope greeted members of the media travelling with him and thanked them for the work they would do over the next week as he visited Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius. “Let’s hope this long trip bears fruit,” he said.

Pope Francis also asked the reporters to keep in their prayers the people of the Bahamas and others in the path of Hurricane Dorian.

Landing in Maputo after such a long flight, Pope Francis was not scheduled to make his first speech until the next morning.

In separate video messages aired in each of the three countries before the Pope arrived, he gave a sense of his focus, which included an appreciation of the religious and cultural diversity present within each nation and praise for the strength and good works of the Catholic communities.


President, dancers, crowds welcome Pope Francis to Mozambique (CNS)


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