Pope Francis finished off his trip to Africa with this massive and rhythmic Mass at a stadium in Bangui. He wore red for the feast day of one of the Apostles, Saint Andrew.
The ceremony was filled with local traditions for celebrating Mass, including this interesting procession to bring the Gospel to the priest for the reading. Thousands of people attended the celebration and heard the Pope's words while temperatures swelled into the 80s.
The Pope delivered an optimistic message. He called on them to not lose faith in God and hope in eternal life, despite their difficulties.
"It is good, especially in times of difficulty, trials and suffering, when the future is uncertain and we feel weary and apprehensive, to come together before the Lord.”
Faith, explained the Pope, is a reality that transforms life and the world. Those who open themselves to Christ, he said, obtain the ability to love their fellow man in a new way.
He encouraged Central Africans to look toward the future with optimism, despite the suffering they currently live through.
"Christians of Central Africa, each of you is called to be, through perseverance in faith and missionary commitment, artisans of the human and spiritual renewal of your country. I underline: artisans of the human and spiritual renewal of your country.”
The Mass was con-celebrated with the Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
During Mass, prayers were recited in French and Latin, along with local languages. And there was constantly traditional dances fueled by local music.
At the end of the ceremony, the Pope traveled to the airport to conclude his trip to Africa.