“For Bangui, for all the people of the Central African Republic and for all the countries in the world suffering from war, we ask for peace”, he said in the unprepared remarks to a crowd outside.
Pope Francis arrived in the Central African Republic Sunday under the heaviest security seen on one of his trips to deliver a message of reconciliation to a nation racked by years of bloodshed between Muslims and Christians.
Thousands of pilgrims braved rains to spend the night holding a vigil near the martyrs’ shrines and there were long lines of pilgrims still trying to access the shrine as Pope Francis began to address the crowds on Saturday morning.
Encouraging the faithful to honor the 19th century Catholic and Anglicans persecuted for their faith, the Pope urged followers to take care of “the elderly, the poor, the widowed and the abandoned”.
About 80 percent of the impoverished country’s population is Christian, 15 percent is Muslim and 5 percent animist.
Pope Francis arrives at Entebbe International Airport today, Friday, at 16.50 pm. The Pope has landed in the capital of Central African Republic, his final stop in Africa and where he will seek to heal a country wracked by conflict between Muslims and Christians.
Following the mass, Pope Francis was to hold a rally with young people, make a visit to a charity, and meet with local priests, nuns and seminarians.
A woman carries a child as Pope Francis leads a mass in Kampala, Uganda, November 28, 2015.
The 78-year-old pope’s visit to Uganda, during which he has met with President Yoweri Museveni and visiting South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, is partly to mark the 50th anniversary of the canonization of the Catholic martyrs.
Pope: There are bigger issues than condoms and HIV