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Apostolic nuncio to Mozambique, Archbishop Piergiorgio Bartoldi. Photo: O País
A detachment of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, which takes care of the safety of Pope Francis, arrives in the country next week, to work with its Mozambican counterparts in preparing for the visit of the pontiff from September 4 to 6.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard has guarded the Pope’s security since January 22, 1506.
During his visit to the country, Pope Francisco will meet President Nyusi and leaders of religious institutions, and will celebrate mass, among other activities yet to be announced.
The visit of the Pontifical Swiss Guard to Mozambique was announced yesterday in Maputo by the accredited apostolic nuncio in Mozambique, Archbishop Piergiorgio Bartoldi.
According to Monseigneur Bartoldi, preparing the visit of the Pope to the country is a large task which has been marked by technical difficulties, but which is so far running smoothly. The preparations involve the Mozambican government, the Vatican and Catholic entities.
“I will meet with the two Vatican and Mozambican commissions. It is always like this, things move forward with a certain technical difficulty, but I also see enthusiasm. Logistically, it is necessary to organise the stadium and the podium where the Pope will celebrate Mass, but also the encounters with young people in the Campo de Maxaquene (Maputo). I imagine that with the cooperation of the Vatican technicians the difficulties will be solved soon, as the experience of the Pontifical Swiss Guard is wide, and I think that we will have no major issues,” Bartoldi said.
It will be the second papal visit to Mozambique, 30 years after that of Pope John Paul II in the late 1980s, while the country was deep in an armed conflict which claimed thousands of lives.
It is only a little more than 90 days before Pope Francis visits the country, five months after the passage of cyclones Idai and Kenneth in the central and northern regions left a trail of destruction, death and displacement.
According to Archbishop Bartoldi, the visit of the Pope is awaited with great expectation in Mozambique, since the coming of the pontiff signal the closeness of the Catholic Church and the Mozambican people and will, in some way, comfort them after being battered by the stormy weather.
By Amândio BorgesSource: O País
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