Uganda hosts Pope Francis


Pope Francis, President Museveni & the first lady
Pope Francis, President Museveni & the first lady

Today, President Museveni and the Holy Father will mingle for a couple minutes in the Presidential Lounge at the airport, while the members of the papal entourage will precede the Pope to the State House in Entebbe.
Later in the evening, the Pope will visit Munyonyo, and according to state minister Kabwegyere, the event will be purely pastoral and open to the public. Note that Munyonyo is the site where some martyrs were killed, including St. Andrew Kaggwa, the patron of catechists in Uganda.

While there, the Pope will bless a newly constructed martyrs’ shrine at Munyonyo and greet the catechists and teachers who will be gathered there.

On Saturday, at the Basilica in Namugongo, some 3,780 invited guests are scheduled to attend. Out of these, 1,300 are Government officials, whereas the rest of the guests are clerics.

Namugongo will also be open to the public. The Basilica is open to the public today starting noon and closed on Saturday at 6am to allow the members settle down.

Kololo Independence Grounds, where the Pope will meet the youth, will be open on Friday at 5pm and closed on Saturday at 6am.

In Nalukolongo, where the Holy Father will be meeting the needy, no invitations will be given to members of the public.

“We, however, encourage you to line up along the way to welcome the Pope,” said Bishop Joseph Franzelli of Lira Diocese.

History of visits to Uganda


Pope Francis’ visit comes after Pope Paul VI (1969) and that of Pope John Paul in 1993. Paul VI was the first reigning pope to visit the sub-Saharan Africa. Uganda becomes the only African nation to have three papal visits.

45 years after Pope Paul VI's visit to Uganda
45 years after Pope Paul VI’s visit to Uganda

 

“God willing, I will be in Africa in November. In the Central African Republic first and then Uganda,” Pope Francis said at the Third World Priests Retreat in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. He was responding to an African priest asking when he (Francis) planned to come to Africa.

The pontiff added that it “is possible” that he may also go to Kenya, but said this is not certain, because of organizational challenges.

He also noted that the trip will come “after the 50th anniversary of the martyrs, though a little late.” Pope Francis had earlier been invited to the Uganda Martyrs Day, a national holiday, on 03 June. Over 3 million pilgrims attended this year’s Martyrs Day.

The Pope had already announced his intention to travel to Africa – specifically the Central African Republic and Uganda – during a press conference while returning from a trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines in January.

The 45 Ugandan Martyrs were killed by Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda between 1886-1887 for refusing to recant their faith— 23 were Anglican and 22 Catholic.

The 22 Catholic Martyrs were canonized Oct. 18, 1964 by Pope Paul VI in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Church of Uganda has already begun preparations for the celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the canonization with a diocesan conference on the 22 saints. 

See more at: Visit Uganda

Author: Allan Bangirana

Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre who is passionate about tech, games, entertainment and lifestyle news. He enjoys writing about anime and many other topics.

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