Thousands of Africans flocked to churches across the continent to remember Pope John Paul II, as many more gathered around televisions to watch his funeral in Rome.

Several African states declared Friday a national holiday or a day of national mourning for the pope.

State television broadcast the funeral live in countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the capital of the Republic of Congo, Brazzaville, a giant television screen was set up for those without one at home.

Officials in Madagascar say people gathered in town halls where the funeral was being shown on television powered by generators.

Africans praised Pope John Paul II for his efforts to help the poor and promote peace during many trips to the continent, which now has one of the fastest growing Roman Catholic populations in the world.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.