Vatican City, Mar 28, 2019 / 11:42 am
Pope Francis travels to Rabat, the capital of Morocco, this weekend, where he said he will follow in the footsteps of St. John Paul II, who visited the North African country in 1985.
"Following in the footsteps of my predecessor Saint John Paul II, I come as a pilgrim of peace and of fraternity, in a world which has great need of both," Francis said in a video message sent ahead of his March 30-31 visit.
Thirty-four years after St. John Paul II traveled to Morocco and six other African countries, Pope Francis will go to address immigration and dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and to support the small Catholic community in the country, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said.
Morocco has just under 35 million inhabitants, just 23,000 of whom are Catholic. The two Catholic dioceses, Rabat and Tanger, have a combined 35 parishes. The country is around 99 percent Muslim.