Pope’s visit gives faith to young Church
The Pope’s celebration of Uganda’s martyrs will revitalize the faith of the young Church in Uganda according to a local Catholic bishop
Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Msgr. John Baptist Kauta, Secretary General of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, described how the country’s violent past had prepared the way for a young and hopeful Church to emerge.
Pope Francis, who will arrive in Uganda on November 27, is due to celebrate Mass commemorating the 50th anniversary of the canonization of the Ugandan Martyrs.
The event scheduled for the second day of the visit will occur in the newly renovated church in Namugongo.
Msgr. Kauta will also be received by catechists and teachers in Munyonyo, Kampala, and said that he was expecting more than 2 million faithful to join the Holy Father in honouring the 22 Catholics who died for their faith in the 19th century. The prelate also stressed that the theme of the Pope’s visit to Uganda – You Will Be My Witnesses – which is taken from the Acts of the Apostles 1:8, reflects the subject of martyrdom.
“We too are called to witness in one way or another. Our faith must be alive and shown through our good work,” added the Monsignor. “The Pope’s simple life is a beautiful example. He revitalizes the people’s faith and reminds us there is always room for improvement.”
Pilgrims to make the journey to see the Pope
Ahead of the Pope’s arrival, Msgr. Kauta said the visit was an excellent reminder of the universality of the Church, particularly for Uganda where the Church is relatively new in some states. Pilgrims from Kenya, Tanzania, Australia and the United States are predicted to make the journey to see the Pope.
As well as promoting tourism, Msgr Kauta hopes the visit will also encourage inter-religious dialogue and noted the Muslim community had passed on their warm wishes for a successful visit.
The Pope will also meet a number of married couples and more than 100,000 young people which the Monsignor hopes will strengthen the faith of the youth.“It is like he is saying: ‘We appreciate what you are doing, keep up the good work.’ To me, it gives faith to all of us. We are prosperous though we have the pangs of birth as a new church in a new age.”
Monsignor Kauta also thanked Aid to the Church in Need for helping the Church in Uganda overcome some of the challenges they face. In particular, for providing transport so that some of the country’s 14,000 catechists are able to minister to their large parishes in the countryside. He thanked ACN benefactors for “helping us to meet the people’s need and make the church as local as possible. We are the children now sharing the same Church.”
ACN also provides support on a diocesan level, supporting priests and catechists through Mass Offerings as well as supporting a number of construction projects in Uganda.
In 2014, the charity provided more than 1.6 million for approximately 90 projects.
By Clare Creegan, ACN international
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada