Antananarivo, Madagascar, Sep 8, 2019 / 07:08 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Francis Sunday visited the “City of Friendship,” a town on the outskirts of Antananarivo, Madagascar. The town has been built through the leadership of Argentine priest Fr. Pedro Opeka, CM, who as a young man was a theology student of the future pope.
“You have come in good numbers this evening, in the heart of this City of Friendship that you built with your own hands. I have no doubt that you will continue to build it, so that many families will be able to live with dignity,” Pope Francis told residents and friends of Akamasoa, the “city of friendship” built for and by the poor of Madagascar on the site of a landfill.
Akamasoa was founded in 1990 as “solidarity movement to help the poorest of the poor.” Pope Francis is in Madagascar as part of a six-day trip to three African countries. He was in Mozambique Sept. 5-6 and will be in Mauritius Sept. 9.
The pope said that Akamasoa “reflects a long history of courage and mutual assistance. This city is the fruit of many years of hard work. At its foundations, we find a living faith translated into concrete actions capable of ‘moving mountains.’ A faith that made it possible to see opportunity in place of insecurity; to see hope in place of inevitability; to see life in a place that spoke only of death and destruction.”
Speaking to the young people of the “City of Friendship,” the pope encouraged that they “Never stop fighting the baneful effects of poverty; never yield to the temptation of settling for an easy life or withdrawing into yourselves.”