MAURITIUS: "The Pope will unifiy the mosaic of people that make up our island"
On September 9, 2019 Pope Francis will be the second Pope to set foot on the soil of Mauritius, 30 years after Saint John Paul II. During this papal journey, in the course of his visit to the churches of the Indian Ocean, the Pope will meet not only with Christians, but with Hindus and Muslims as well, who also make up part of Mauritian society.
The island of Mauritius is a tiny country of some 730 square miles (18 65 km²) – around a quarter the size of the island of Corsica, yet with four times the number of inhabitants. It is unusual in that it has no endemic population, but is inhabited today by Africans, Europeans and Indians. The religious makeup of the country also reflects this ethnic diversity, including Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. It is a mixture of different characteristics which makes it a remarkable place where the local communities generally live in harmony, to the evident delight of Father Alexis Wiehe, a native of the island who is currently in charge of the cathedral parish in the city of Toulon, in France, but will be back on the island in September. “There are some tensions at times, certainly, but generally we get along well”, he says with evident satisfaction. “Our little island society could even be cited as an example of amicable relations between the different communities”, he adds.
Image caption: Father Alexis Wiehe with Bishop Dominique Rey (Toulon, France) in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegowina. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.