Pope Francis Cites Martyrs' Example in Uganda

Pope Francis arrived to chants of \"Viva Papa\" at a ceremony in the Ugandan capital of Kampala

Published: 28th November 2015 12:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2015 12:11 AM   |  A+A-


KAMPALA: The latest on Pope Francis' first trip to Africa. (All times local.)

9 p.m.

Pope Francis arrived to chants of "Viva Papa" at a ceremony in the Ugandan capital of Kampala where he urged Catholic teachers and catechists to follow the example of "the greatest teacher" Jesus Christ.

In the audience, many held up candles as they awaited the pope's arrival, and traditional dancers put on energetic performances.

In his address at the Munyono Catholic shrine — the site where the Uganda Martyrs were condemned to death by a local king before they were executed — Francis said the church in Uganda grew strong through the example of the martyrs, who were targeted for their faith.

"I know that your work, although rewarding, is not easy. So I encourage you to persevere, and I ask your bishops and priests to support you with a doctrinal, spiritual and pastoral formation capable of making you ever more effective in your outreach," he said.

On Saturday morning Francis will celebrate Mass at a Catholic shrine dedicated to the martyrs in the central Ugandan district of Wakiso.

7 p.m.

Pope Francis says "the world looks to Africa as the continent of hope" and that his tour of the continent is aimed at drawing attention to Africa's achievements and struggles.

In a speech before Ugandan authorities and diplomats at the state house, Francis touched upon issues he raised while in Kenya, such as the need to respect one another regardless of differences.

Francis also spoke about the Uganda Martyrs, a group of Catholics and Anglicans killed in the late 19th century by a local king eager to assert his authority amid the growing influence of missionaries.

He said of the martyrs: "They remind us of the importance that faith, moral rectitude and commitment to the common good have played, and continue to play, in the cultural, economic and political life of this country."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986 and who's campaigning for re-election in 2016, gave no remarks.

5.30 p.m.

Pope Francis has arrived in Uganda on the second leg of his pilgrimage to Africa.

Francis was received at Uganda's Entebbe International Airport by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, government officials and local church leaders.

A brass band played as his airplane touched down about just after 5 p.m. local time.

Francis, who arrived from Kenya and also is scheduled to visit Central African Republic, is in Uganda mainly to honor the memory of a group of Ugandan Christians who were killed in the late 19th century on the orders of a local king eager to thwart the growing influence of Christianity.

Those victims, known as the Uganda Martyrs, include 45 Anglicans and Catholics killed between 1885 and 1887. Pope Paul VI canonized the 22 Ugandan Catholics in 1964.

Francis will celebrate Mass Saturday at a shrine dedicated to the Catholic martyrs, and he will visit an Anglican shrine dedicated to the martyrs.

4.15 p.m.

Pope Francis has left Kenya and is bound for Uganda, the second leg of his tour of three nations on his first visit of Africa.

At the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi, he was welcomed by traditional dancers, some in Maasai dresses, children waving the Vatican flag and choirs.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and other officials bid farewell to the pope, who arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people lined the roads leading to the airport to wave goodbye to Francis.

During his stay in Kenya, he has spoken out about the environment, corruption, human rights and poverty — issues that are close to his heart. He also visited a slum in Nairobi before embarking.

1 p.m.

Pope Francis says the way to prevent young people from being radicalized and going off to fight with extremist groups is to give them an education and a job.

Francis was asked Friday during his last public event in Kenya what young people can do to prevent their friends and family members from being seduced by radical ideologies that make them want to leave their loved ones behind to go join extremist groups.

Kenyans make up the largest contingent of foreign fighters in the Somali based al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab, which has staged a series of attacks in Kenya.

Francis said the first thing to do is to ensure that young people have an education and a job. He said: "If a young person has no work, what kind of a future does he or she have? That's where the idea of being recruited comes from.

12 p.m.

Pope Francis has urged Kenyan youths to resist the temptation of corruption, saying it's like sugar: You develop a taste for it but it's ultimately terrible for you.

Francis spoke off-the-cuff Friday to thousands of young people gathered in Nairobi's Kasarani stadium, and reflected on problems raised by two young Kenyans, including tribalism, extremism and corruption, which is a major obstacle in Kenya.

Francis said corruption isn't just in politics. He said: "It's in all the institutions, including in the Vatican there are cases of corruption."

The Vatican has been wracked by recent revelations in two new books detailing gross mismanagement and waste.

Transparency International has voted the Kenyan police force as the most corrupt institution in the country every year for the last decade. Kenya ranked a low 145 out of 174 countries in the Transparency International 2014 index of how common graft is perceived to be among citizens of various countries.

11:20 a.m.

Pope Francis is taking notes as young Kenyans are telling him about the problems they are facing dealing with tribalism, drug and alcohol addiction and violent radicalization.

Francis had a speech planned for his final public event in Kenya on Friday, but all indications are he's going to ditch it as he often does when he meets with young people.

Francis received a rock star welcome when he arrived at Nairobi's Kasarani stadium and spun around the track in his open-sided popemobile.

10:25 a.m.

Pope Francis' final public event in Kenya is a huge youth rally at the Kasarani sports stadium, where thousands of flag-waving young Kenyans are waiting in the stands.

The crowd has erupted in cheers when President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived and the atmosphere is similar to a rock concert.

Francis will hear testimony from several young people and then offer his own remarks.

After the stadium, Francis has a private meeting with Kenyan bishops and then heads to the airport later Friday.

The next stop on his three-nation African tour is Uganda.

9:45 a.m.

Pope Francis is denouncing the conditions slum-dwellers are forced to live in, saying access to safe water is a basic human right and that everyone should have dignified, adequate housing.

Francis made the comments during a visit Friday to the Kangemi slum on Nairobi's northwestern edge. He insisted that everyone should have access to a basic sewage system, garbage collection, electricity as well as schools, hospitals and sport facilities.

Francis told the residents that people forced to live in slums actually share values that wealthier neighborhoods can learn from: solidarity and looking out for the poor. But he says it's unjust that entire families are forced to live in unfit housing, often at exorbitant prices.

He called for a "respectful urban integration" with concrete initiatives to provide good quality housing for all.

9:10 a.m.

The parish of St. Joseph's in Nairobi's Kangemi slum has erupted in cheers with the arrival of Pope Francis.

Francis greeted some people in wheelchairs in the front row before bowing down to receive a blessing and signing a guest book on Friday.

Mombasa Archbishop Martin Kivuva welcomed Francis and said he should feel at home in Kangemi.

The parish is run by the priests of Francis' Jesuit order.

Kivuva told Francis: "Welcome to our home, Kangemi, home of the Jesuits."

8:25 a.m.

Residents of the Kangemi slum in the Kenyan capital, where Pope Francis is arriving this Friday, say they lack some of the most basic services.

Emily Night, a mother of two who works at the parish's HIV counseling center, says the pope's visit is giving hope to Kangemi residents who often cannot afford garbage pickup, or even the treatments necessary to purify water to make it safe for drinking.

She says the city pipes in water only three days a week, Tuesday through Thursday, but it's not safe to drink.

"Some people don't have toilets in their homes," she says as she waited for Francis to arrive.

She adds: "Those that do, maybe 50 people are using it!"

8:15 a.m.

Residents of Kangemi, alongside goats scrounging through garbage, are lining the Nairobi slum's unpaved streets waiting for Pope Francis to arrive.

In the tin-roofed St. Joseph's parish, which serves the neighborhood of single-story mud brick shacks, children from the parish school, wearing T-shirts with Francis' photo on them, are singing hymns.

The 16-year-old Valarie Mamarome says she hopes Francis' visit will put an end to corruption, so rampant in in Kenya.

She says corruption "leads to people being poor."

Her friend, Orpha Khavere, says she wants to go to university to become a lawyer "to fight corruption."

6:30 a.m.

After celebrating his first Mass in Africa, Pope Francis is turning his attention to society's most marginal in a visit to a sprawling slum on the northwestern edge of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Kangemi is one of 11 slums dotting Nairobi, East Africa's largest city. The shanty itself has about 50,000 residents living without basic sanitation. Most of the capital's slums comprise a maze of single-room mud structures with iron-sheet roofing or cramped, high-rise buildings.

Francis referred to the problem of urban shanties in his speech to the African U.N. headquarters on Thursday, saying everyone has a basic right to "dignified living conditions," and that the views of local residents must be taken into account when urban planners are designing new construction.

He said that this will help eliminate the many instances of "inequality and pockets of urban poverty, which are not simply economic but also, and above all, social and environmental."

The message was keenly felt because the U.N. Habitat program, which seeks to promote adequate and environmentally sustainable housing, is based in Nairobi.

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