USA: Africa Eager to Welcome Pope Francis, Ugandan Archbishop says

PHILADELPHIA SEPTEMBER 25 2015 (CISA)– Archbishop John-Baptist Odama of Gulu and President of the Uganda Episcopal Conference has said that after seeing the great witness and joy Pope Francis has brought to America, the Church in Africa is eagerly waiting for its moment.

Archbishop Odama who is in the US for the World Meeting of Families said that the Church in Africa is grateful to God for Pope Francis’ planned visit to Africa and is eager to welcome him, reported Vatican Radio.

“Pope Francis is coming to Uganda as a witness of the Gospel. We see his coming to Africa, to Uganda as saying to us: You must let the values for which the (Uganda) martyrs died shine in you today,” said Archbishop Odama.

According to Archbishop Odama, Pope Francis was initially invited to Uganda for 18 October 2014 in view of the golden jubilee celebrations of the canonization of the Ugandan martyrs but since the Pope schedule could not allow him to travel to Uganda at the time, the jubilee celebrations were postponed to this year to allow for his participation.

“This will be the third time that Uganda welcomes a reigning Pope. You may wish to know that Uganda was the first country in Africa ever to be visited by a Pope. Blessed Pope Paul VI, after cononising the Uganda Martyrs in St. Peter’s basilica felt a great desire to come to Uganda to venerate the martyrs. He would be the first Pope to visit Africa in August 1969. Then later, in February 1993 Pope St. John Paul II also visited Uganda. We feel truly blessed and humbled in Uganda,” Archbishop Odama added.

Pope Francis is scheduled to make his first apostolic trip to Africa, visiting Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic between 25 and 30 November, this year.

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