Vatican City, 23 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis' video messages filmed in preparation for his apostolic visit to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic from 25 to 30 November were broadcast in the three countries.
In the message destined for Kenya and Uganda, after greeting the families of both countries, the Holy Father says, “I am coming as a minister of the Gospel, to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and His message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. My visit is meant to confirm the Catholic community in its worship of God and its witness to the Gospel, which teaches the dignity of every man and woman, and commands us to open our hearts to others, especially the poor and those in need”.
“At the same time”, he continues, “I wish to encounter all the people of Kenya and Uganda, and to offer everyone a word of encouragement. We are living at a time when religious believers, and persons of good will everywhere, are called to foster mutual understanding and respect, and to support each other as members of one human family. For all of us are God's children. A highlight of my visit will be my meetings with young people, who are your greatest resource and our most promising hope for a future of solidarity, peace and progress”.
In his message to the Central African Republic, the Holy Father greets all members of the population with affection and joy, regardless of their ethnic origin or religion. “It will be the first time in my life that I come to the African continent, so beautiful and so rich in its nature, people and cultures; and I look forward to great discoveries and enriching encounters”, he reveals.
“Your country has for too long now experienced a situation of violence and insecurity, of which many of you are innocent victims. The objective of my visit is, first and foremost, to bring you, in the name of Jesus, the comfort of consolation and hope. With all my heart I hope that my visit may contribute, in one way or another, to healing your wounds, and opening the way to a brighter future for Central Africa and all her inhabitants”.
“The theme of this trip will be: passing to the other side. It is a theme which invites your Christian communities to look resolutely ahead, and to encourage each person to renew his relationship with God and his brothers, to build a more just and fraternal world. I will have the joy of opening for you – a little in advance – the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will I hope offer a providential opportunity for authentic forgiveness, for giving and receiving, and for rebirth in love”.
“I come to you as a messenger of peace”, he concludes. “I wish to support interreligious dialogue to foster peaceful coexistence in your country; I know this is possible, as we are all brothers”.