October 31, 2020

The last day of the Pope in Morocco was centered on the Christian people

The last day of the Pope in Morocco was centered on the Christian people



The second and last day of the Pope's trip to Morocco was focused on meeting the Christian people who live in this Islamic country and practice their faith in tolerance, but far from any idea of ​​proselytism among Muslims.

Francisco concluded his visit to Morocco with a mass at the Moulay Abdellah stadium, on the outskirts of Rabat before some 10,000 faithful from all regions of Morocco and in many cases also from the south of neighboring Spain.

Of the small Catholic community of some 25,000 people residing in Morocco, formed exclusively by foreigners – since Moroccans are forbidden to convert to Christianity – there was a kaleidoscope of communities in the stadium: European and sub-Saharan, diplomatic and student, religious and secular.

It looked like an international ceremony – also held in many languages, although Francisco used mostly Spanish – and the only thing that reminded Morocco was the decoration behind the altar, which reproduced the most emblematic architecture of Rabat with its mosques and walls.

The government of Morocco, which has turned around with the organization of a trip that will give it revenues by projecting an image of religious tolerance, was represented at the Mass by three ministers of the most important, who sat in the front row.

The mass was animated by a chorus of hundreds of young people, almost all sub-Saharan Africans, who represented the new church that has been created in recent years in the country, with a congregation composed mainly of youth from black Africa to study or work in Morocco

In saying goodbye to the faithful, the Pope encouraged them "to persevere on the path of dialogue with Muslim brothers and sisters and also to help make visible that universal brotherhood that has its source in God", emphasizing that message of understanding between religions that has presided over his entire trip.

He also encouraged the faithful Catholics to "continue to grow the culture of mercy, in which no one looks at the other with indifference or look away when they see their suffering", and also to take care "of the little ones and the poor, of those who are rejected, abandoned and ignored. "

To give an example, Francisco began the day by visiting the rural center of social services in Temara, managed by three Spanish nuns from the Daughters of Charity of San Vicente de Paúl who assist the population of the area by curing children burned in accidents. domestic, giving school support and distributing meals daily for 150 people.

The centers of education owned or run by ecclesiastics or religious in Morocco are a total of 34, while there are 10 orphanages, two houses for the elderly, disabled and disabled, 7 outpatient clinics, plus a hospital.

The visit to the center of Temara was a way of paying homage to the men and women religious who live in this country and who take care of the most disadvantaged without caring about their religion; moreover, Sister Gloria, superior of the center of Temara, recently insisted that they strive to form "good citizens and good Muslims".

The Pope greeted the three Spanish nuns with whom, due to the ease of the language, he was very relaxed and laughed several times and the seven collaborators and a volunteer working in this center.

In the more than half an hour he spent in the place, he wanted to greet one by one everyone present, especially women with their children, but he stopped especially in the dozens of little ones who dressed in their best clothes to receive the pope , and who gave the Pope an immense tower of dates to take to the Vatican.

After that visit, the Pope went to the Cathedral of San Pedro de Rabat, where he had invited the leaders of the Christian communities in Morocco in an ecumenical meeting; There, he again pronounced himself against the idea of ​​proselytism – caught on the other hand with jail in Morocco – and stressed that it does not matter the number of Christians, but the quality of their commitment.

In the act, which included the prayer of the Angelus, Francis pronounced on several occasions the expression "Muslim brothers and sisters" next to which the religious should work in a spirit of brotherhood and not of competence.

The Pope encouraged these religious, of different orders, to continue being "close to those who are often left behind, the small and the poor, the prisoners and the migrants".

The work of the religious and their welfare and charity services serves to "unmask and expose all attempts to use differences and ignorance to sow fear, hatred and conflict," which is what they do "the politics of fundamentalism and division and systems of insatiable gain ".

Javier Otazu

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