Uganda’s Archbishop of Gulu and President of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, John-Baptist Odama says 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 told Vatican Radio’s Albert Mianzoukouta, in Philadelphia, that the Church in Africa is grateful to God for Pope Francis’ planned visit to Africa and is eager to welcome him.
“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 canonisation of the Ugandan martyrs. Since Pope Francis’ 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 said.
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.
While in Philadelphia Archbishop Odama has described as inspiring Wednesday’s keynote address at the World Meeting of Families by Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Robert Sarah.
“The meeting in Philadelphia and the keynote address by Cardinal Sarah are giving a sense of direction to many because nowadays people in the world are confused about the concept of family today,” said the Ugandan prelate.
Asked about the challenge of polygamy to African family life, Archbishop Odama admitted that while polygamy was still practiced in some African societies, the reality was that many now find it a difficult, cumbersome, expensive and complicated way of life.
“With education and with economic challenges, polygamy in Africa is self-defeating and becoming less of a challenge,” Archbishop Odama said.
(By Paul Samasumo,VR)