PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (AP) — Pope Francis has arrived in the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius to celebrate its diversity and honor a 19th century French missionary who ministered to freed slaves.
Thousands of Mauritians waved palm branches as Francis arrived Monday to celebrate a Mass honoring the Rev. Jacques-Desire Laval. While Catholics represent less than a third of Mauritius' 1.3 million people, Laval is seen as a unifying figure for all Mauritians, most of whom are Hindu.
Francis is in the Mauritian capital Port Louis for just a few hours to meet with government leaders on the final day of his weeklong Africa trip.
Attending the Mass was a 50-member delegation from the Chagos Islands, an Indian Ocean archipelago that includes the U.S. air base on Diego Garcia.