The embrace of mercy in Africa
· Schedule for the Pope’s visit to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic ·
The upcoming papal journey will be the first time for Jorge Mario Bergoglio ever to set foot on African soil - not just since becoming Pope. The greatly desired is destination is especially complex, due to its history that speaks of violence, war, hatred and divisions.
In the face of all of this, on what will be his 11th international trip, the Pope intends to bring an embrace of mercy, an embrace that speaks of forgiveness, peace, dialogue and reconciliation. On Thursday, 19 November, only days before the Holy Father’s journey, Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, presented the schedule for of the trip. From 25 to 30 November Pope Francis will visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, which will bring his total number of countries visited up to 19. Despite the critical situation in the Central African Republic, the Pope remains determined to visit this land that has been battered by Civil War. His visit will begin in the capital city of Bangui, with a gesture of powerful spiritual strength, as he opens the Holy Door.
The Pope, who was invited by the presidents of the three countries and the local bishops' conferences, will follow in the footsteps of the Pontiffs who preceded him: Paul VI, who went to Uganda in 1969 to consecrate the Sanctuary of Namugongo, and John Paul II, whose many journeys to the continent included three visits to Kenya (1980, 1985 and 1995) and one to the Central African Republic (1985).
Over the course of his tight schedule, the Pope is scheduled to deliver 19 addresses – almost all of which will be given in Italian with translations in the local languages. About a day and a half will be dedicated to each of the three countries. Pope Francis has decided that all of his travels within the capital cities will be by the uncovered popemobile or by unarmoured car.
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