Pope mass in Cimangola square draws one million, Angola

Pope mass in Cimangola square draws one million, Angola
Published: 23 March 2009

One million people attended a mass at Cimangola open ground as Pope Benedict XVI marks an end of a week-long trip to continent.

While administering mass in the outskirts of Luanda, the pontiff decried the "clouds of evil" of war, greed and tribalism in Africa. Addressing the open-air service at the end of a seven-day trip to Africa, the Pope urged the worshippers to continue rebuilding Angola after decades of conflict.

His message followed earlier calls for African leaders to step up their fight against corruption and poverty which have hindered the continent’s development.

Catholics make up about 55% of the Angolan population, a legacy of Portugal’s colonial rule, prompting a crowd of up to 2 million people had been expected at the mass. Some of the congregation had slept on the field near a cement factory on Luanda’s outskirts, to guarantee their seats.