October 9, 2018 / 1:15 PM / 6 months ago

Pope to visit Madagascar next year, cardinal says

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis talks as he meets youth and the Synod Fathers at the Pope Paul VI hall in Vatican, October 6, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will visit the African island nation of Madagascar next year, a cardinal from the country said on Tuesday.

Cardinal Désiré Tsarahazana, the archbishop of Toamasina, made the announcement at a news conference about a worldwide meeting of bishops, known as a synod, at which he is a participant.

He did not say when the visit would take place but a Vatican spokesman said preparations were “well under way”.

The pope told Reuters in June that Madagascar was among the countries he wanted to visit in 2019.

Vatican sources said the trip would be part of a tour of several African countries. Pope John Paul visited Madagascar in 1989.

Reporting by Philip Pullella, editing by Ed Osmond

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