Pope Francis will visit Madagascar in 2019. This was announced by Cardinal Désiré Tsarahazana, Archbishop of Toamasina, at a press briefing on the 2018 Synod on the youth on 9 October 2018.

The cardinal told reporters that the Madagascar Bishops Conference had asked the Pope to visit their county and he would visit in 2019.

“This is an encouragement for everyone, especially for young people.” The Cardinal added that young people in Madagascar face “extreme poverty” as they are met with “unemployment” even after school.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said he could not confirm the Madagascar visit, or when it would take place, but added that preparations were “well under way”.

The Malagash Archbishop was created a cardinal by the Pope on June 28, 2018. He was further named one of four presidents-delegate at the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops; giving him responsibility to direct the work of the Synod and lead its meetings.

The Papal trip to Madagascar if confirmed could be part of an Africa visit that includes some other countries in 2019.

The last papal visit to Madagascar was by John Paul II in 1989.

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