A huge crowd gathered in Madagascar today to hear Pope Francis speak. “Organizers estimate it’s about a million people,” says a spokesman for the Vatican.
Many people had spent the night in a field near the capital Antananarivo. They shouted as the pope’s mobile drove past with the church prince. This is the first papal visit to the African country, where about 25 million people live, in nearly 30 years.
29-year-old Rado Niaina said he left at 2 a.m. He was afraid he could no longer find a place. Other people had already set up tents on Friday.
Prospere Ralitason (70) arrived in the company of thousands of other believers from Ambatondrazaka, some 200 kilometers away. “We are tired, but these sacrifices are worth seeing the pope with our own eyes and receiving his blessing,” the man said.
Francis recently visited Mozambique and is going to Mauritius on Monday.