Pope Benedict XVI says his pilgrimage to Benin this week is aimed at bolstering faith and hope in Africa.
The 84-year-old pope leaves Friday on a three-day trip to the tiny west African nation. Speaking in French to pilgrims Sunday in St. Peter's Square, Benedict said he is making the voyage to "reaffirm the faith and hope of the Christians of Africa."
Benedict asked for prayers for both his pilgrimage and the people of Africa, especially those who suffer from violence and lack of security. He said he hoped the prayers will support the efforts of all those working for reconciliation, peace and justice.