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Published: March 20, 2013
President Robert Mugabe has launched a special call for Pope Francis I to visit Africa.
Zimbabwe`s President made this request after visiting the Pope’s inauguration in Rome on Tuesday March 19.
He was accompanied by his wife Grace, children and other government officials.
Said Mugabe yesterday:
“But we also are happy that our referendum has taken place more or less at the same time we have a new Pope. We who are Catholic have a new Father of Christ . . . We want to say congratulations to him. We hope he will take us all his children on the same basis, basis of equality, basis that we are all in the eyes of God equal,” said the President.
Mugabe went ahead to beg Pope Francis I to visit Africa saying: “We would want him to visit Africa in the same way Pope John Paul did. We remember that memorable visit that he made and we wish the new Pope a long stay. And we know that as a man of God he will be praying for all of us, praying for the sinful world to repent.”
The inauguration Mass for Pope Francis Jorge Bergoglio was held in St Peter’s Square, Rome, marking the official start of his papacy. He takes over from Pope Emeritus Benedict XV1 who resigned last month.
The new Pope, 76 year old Argentine was elected the 266th leader of the Catholic Church last Wednesday.
The simple Pope opted for a gold plated silver ring, rather than one made of pure gold.
Francis toured the square in an open-topped vehicle, dressed in all white descending to bless pilgrims behind the barriers.
About 1.2 billion followers of the Catholic Church watched the live TV broadcast.
Mugabe a staunch Catholic attended the ceremony with his family.
Mugabes`s trip was not be affected by the European Union travel ban because the Vatican is a state on its own.
The Vatican is a sovereign city-state that is not part of the European Union, although to attend the ceremony Mugabe had to transit through Rome.
Pope Francis called on global leaders and all people of the world to protect the weak and the poor.
During the ceremony, Francis received the pallium – a special scarf – and the fisherman’s ring, both symbols of the papacy.
Representatives from 132 countries attended the inauguration.
Ken Clarke and Baroness Warsi represented the UK along with the Duke of Gloucester.