Pope Francis gave an estimated one million people today in Madagascar in the open air after crowds had gone through the night to see him.
Crowds of worshipers waved yellow and white Vatican flags and cheered as the Popemobile found its way to the stadium in the capital Antananarivo.
The pope, 82, is the first to visit the country in 30 years and is in Madagascar as part of a three-part African tour. He has already been to Mozambique and is continuing to Mauritius.
During his speech, the Pope condemned those who misused & # 39; the name of God & # 39; to justify acts of violence.
Arrived in his Popemobile: Pope Francis waves at crowds with yellow and white Vatican flags as he enters the stadium in Madagascar today where he celebrated an open-air mass for a million people
Two in a row: the Pope greets worshipers in front of a gigantic image of himself in Antananarivo. He is the first pope to visit Madagascar since John Paul II 30 years ago
Long trek: hundreds of worshipers walk in the darkness in the early hours of Sunday morning, brave cold weather and warnings of pickpockets and bandits to see Pope Francis
Yellow and white: Worshipers wave Vatican flags while the 82-year-old pope enters the stadium on his Popemobile today
He urged worshipers to build & # 39; history in brotherhood and solidarity & # 39; and spoke out against & # 39; practices that lead to the culture of privileges and exclusion & # 39 ;.
& # 39; How difficult it is to follow him (Jesus) as we try to identify the kingdom of heaven with our personal agenda or … misuse the name of God or religion to justify violence, segregation and even murder, & # 39; he said .
The organizers estimate the audience at a million people, the Vatican said. Some described it as the largest public gathering in the history of Madagascar.
After the mass, the pope visits Akamasoa, a city founded by the Argentine priest Fr. Pedro, who has taken thousands of Malagasy waste pickers out of poverty.
Huge crowds: people are massaging today in the stadium, where, according to the Vatican organization, according to estimates, a million people have come to Pople
Nice to meet you: Pope Francis greets worshipers who hastily take photos of him on their phones and cameras.
Pope Francis is celebrating mass this morning in front of a statue in Madagascar, wearing a white cap
People gather around the Pope this morning in what some have described as the largest public gathering in Madagascar's history
Defying the circumstances: people gather under a cloudy sky to see the pope on the second leg of a three-country tour
Groups of hundreds of people made the two-hour trek to see the Pope, despite warnings of pickpockets and bandits who wanted to rob & # 39; people & # 39 ;.
Hery Saholimanana left his house in the early hours with three family members. & # 39; I am afraid to arrive after the six-hour entry limit & # 39 ;, said the 23-year-old IT student vividly.
Rado Niaina, 29, said that he left even earlier, at 2 o'clock & night, out of fear & # 39; no space to be found & # 39 ;. Many had already set up tents on the outskirts of the city on Friday, decorated with posters of the Pope.
Prospere Ralitason, a 70-year-old farm worker, arrived with about 5,000 fellow pilgrims from the city of Ambatondrazaka, 125 miles away.
& # 39; We are tired, but it is worth making all these sacrifices to see the Pope with our own eyes and receive his blessing, & # 39; he said.
The pope divides the crowd this morning in his vehicle on the diocesan site of Androhibe Soamandrakizay in Antananarivo
Priests bow their heads while Pope Francis leads a holy mass today and warns against & # 39; abuse of the name of God or religion & # 39;
Francis today at the stadium where he spoke out against & # 39; practices that lead to the culture of privileges and exclusion & # 39;
People are waiting this morning on the diocesan grounds with houses and the countryside behind them for the papal crowd
Yesterday, Francis made a passionate plea to Madagascans to protect the unique environment of the Indian Ocean against & # 39; excessive deforestation & # 39 ;.
Weeks after a peak in the Amazon's fires, the Argentine pope told his hosts to create & # 39; jobs and money-processing activities that respect the environment and help people escape poverty & # 39 ;.
Madagascar – famous for its enormous diversity of flora and fauna – is home to 25 million people, the vast majority of whom live in poverty with an income of less than two dollars a day.
More than half of the young people have no work, even though many have good qualifications.
The last pope to visit Madagascar was John Paul II 30 years ago. Francis also visited Mozambique earlier this week and will travel to the island of Mauritius on Monday.
Some people set up tents to ensure that they would have a place in the stadium to see the papal mass on Sunday morning
The believers wave the Vatican flag while they stand behind a cordon and raise their arms and see the pope coming this morning
People sit under blankets and wear raincoats and hats while waiting for Pope Francis to arrive at the location this morning
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