Pope John Paul II ended an Africa tour Saturday with a message of hope for the continent's millions of refugees and a call for a new economic order to bring a brighter future for Africans.
He closed a nine-day tour of Madagascar, the French island of Reunion, Zambia and Malawi by celebrating Mass under a hot African sun on an airfield outside Malawi's capital, Lilongwe."To those of you who have had to cross the border, I say: do not lose hope. Christ himself was once a refugee. He was a refugee in Egypt - here in Africa," the pope told an estimated 75,000 worshippers.
"We must all pray for peace, greater stability and harmony in this continent. The future of Africa is at stake," he said.
Malawi, one of Africa's poorest countries, is host to more than 650,000 refugees from Mozambique. They have strained its limited food, water and land resources.
The pontiff has visited 24 African countries and is planning two more trips in 1990.
This journey was free of the kind of violent incident which marred his tour of southern Africa last September, when a bus hijack in Lesotho stood in stark contrast to his calls for peace and reconciliation.
The pope drew attention to Africa's economic woes, which were brought vividly home to him by the poverty he saw in Madagascar, Zambia and Malawi.
"I know many young people cannot find work and easily lose hope," the pope told Malawians Saturday.
"On many occasions I have appealed for a new economic order that will permit the people of developing countries to guide their own destinies," he added.