Pope Francis will carry out, on March 30th and 31st, a historic visit to Morocco. Indeed, the last visit of a sovereign pontiff (John Paul II) to the country dates from 1985 under the reign of the late His Majesty Hassan II.
Highly anticipated, this highly symbolic journey will be crowned by a solemn Mass presided by the Pope who will give the homily in front of 10,000 people at the covered stadium of the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex on March 31 in Rabat. 500 choristers from all over Morocco will support the prayer of the assembly. Here are the details announced by the bishops of Morocco, Msgr. Cristóbal López Romero, Archbishop of Rabat, Msgr. Santiago Agrelo Martínez, Archbishop of Tangier, and Father Daniel Nourrissat at a conference which brought the national and international press to the Church. Our Lady of Lourdes in Casablanca on March 5, 2019. Upon his arrival, Pope Francis will be received by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, followed by a welcoming ceremony.
The Pope and HM the King will later visit the Royal Cabinet after the presentation of the Royal Family and the exchange of donations. A 30-minute private meeting between the two Sovereigns will follow.
The visit of the Pope will continue at the esplanade of the Hassan Tower where he will be welcomed by His Majesty King Mohammed VI. During this stage, HM the King will deliver a speech to which the Pope will respond with his own speech. Subsequently, they will go to the Mausoleum Mohammed V to gather on the graves of the late Kings Their Majesties Mohammed V and Hassan II. In the same afternoon, the Pontifical Sovereign and His Majesty the King will visit the Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Morchid and Morchidate Imams. A meeting with the students of the Institute is scheduled in the auditorium of the institution.
The Pope will then go to the headquarters of Caritas of the diocese of Rabat where he will be welcomed by the archbishop of Tangier. He will meet migrants and the people who serve them. On this occasion, the head of the Catholic Church will give a speech which will be followed by a musical show offered by young migrants. On Sunday, March 31, Pope Francis will pay a private visit to the rural social service of Temara run by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. He will then go to Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rabat where he will meet priests, consecrated persons and representatives of Christians of other faiths. He will deliver a speech and salutes symbolically the eldest of the nuns and the eldest priest of the diocese. The Pope will pray the Angelus who, every Sunday, is broadcast around the world during a ceremony that will last one hour.
A visit under the sign of hope and dialogue
At this press conference, Msgr. Cristóbal López Romero, Archbishop of Rabat, emphasized the message of hope and all the symbolism of this historic event. He said on this occasion that “this visit has several dimensions because it responds to two invitations. First of all, it is the King who has invited the Pope and for that there is a dimension that we can describe as political in the most noble sense of the term. There is also a religious dimension because it is the Commander of Believers (Amir Al Mouminine) who meets the leader of the world’s Catholic Christians. The other dimension responds to the invitation of Catholic bishops in Morocco and for this it is a visit that we call pastoral. We Christians receive with great joy, hope and love whoever is our leader “. He noted in this regard that Pope Francis’ visit to Morocco coincides with 800 years of the presence of Franciscans in Morocco.