Pope Francis came, saw and inspired the people of Mauritius. In a Mass attended by an estimated 125 000 people, Pope Francis preached on the gospel of the Beatitudes. “Before this altar dedicated to Mary Queen of Peace, on this mountain from which we can see the city and the sea beyond”, the Pope said, “we are part of a great multitude, a sea of faces come from Mauritius and other islands of this Indian Ocean region to hear Jesus preach the Beatitudes.”

Pope Francis celebrating Mass at Marie Reine de la Paix

The Pope used the Beatitudes to highlight the plight of young people: unemployment. “Unemployment creates uncertainty about the future”, he said, “and this makes young people feel that they are on the margins of society and leaves them vulnerable and helpless before new forms of slavery in this twenty-first century.”

He said young people need to feel that they are “our foremost mission.” “We must not speak to them in an aloof or distant way, but let’s learn their language”, he said, “and make them feel that they too are blessed by God.”

Pope greets young people outside Pere Laval shrine

He later visited the Shrine of Pere Laval, to which miracles have been attributed. At the Shrine the Holy Father said a silent prayer before the relics of Laval – who is referred to as the Apostle of Mauritius.

Pope Francis alights the Popemobile outside Pere Laval Shrine