Pope Francis travels to Africa, To  bring peace and hope

Nov.25 to 30 Pope in Africa  –   This report is published in Vatican Insider


                          (Note: Pope Francis makes history to become the first Pope to travel to Africa as a  missionary, that too at a time and place where unrest, conflict between religious and communal forces  are raging. I am here reminded of St..Paul, the greatest missionary perhaps, describing his missionary journeys with the Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 8.37.28 pmphrase “always in Dagger (Semper in periculis) including  shipwreck. How many of today’s  Indian missionaries are willing and   ready to go to Africa? Think of the great Syromalabar Church which boasts of being the great missionary church. Its first expansion (some call it religious colonisaion) outside India was  to Chicago, USA the richest country in the world. Its second religious colony is in Australia, another rich country. It has been sending its abundant clergy to man parishes in really affluent, well-to-do European countries, especially  rich countries like Germany and UK. It is also busy to establish parishes or dioceses in oil rich Gulf countries. But we still have to hear of such exciting ventures being planned to  Africa, especially if the countries are war-torn. It is here Pope Francis, like St.Paul sets out a shining example  to Syromalabar Missionaaries  who usually look for comfort zones to do mission work. Francis instead looks for battle zones. After all didn’t he describe the whole Church as a field hospital with too many mortally wounded or dying? How many will come forward to imitate him? Already  too many bishops are upset with his Oct.17th historic, memorable speech calling upon the pyramidal hierarchical church to become and Inverted Pyramid. Did you hear any Indian bishop saying a word of praise for his historic speech? They will do it only if they ready to follow his simple living and high thinking saying good bye to pomp and affluence in a palace surroundings. james kottoor, editor)

The Pope has sent video messages to the people of Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic ahead of his apostolic visit on Wednesday

 “I will be ready to support interreligious dialogue in order to encourage peaceful co-existence in your country. I know it’s possible because we are all brothers and sisters.” Pope Francis addressed these words to the people of the Central African Republic (CAR) in a video message recorded ahead of his apostolic visit to Africa Wednesday. Before CAR he will be visiting Kenya and Uganda: he also sent a joint video message to these two countries, saying that he is looking forward “to this time we will have together” and announces that he is going to Africa bearing the message of reconciliation

                             The video message to CAR

In his message to the people of CAR, the Pope says: “I will have the joy of inaugurating the Jubilee of Mercy for you a little bit ahead of time. I hope that, for everyone, it will be a providential occasion for genuine forgiveness, to receive and to give, as well as a renewal through love.”

“I greet all of you, regardless of your ethnic or religious background, with deep affection,” Francis said before explaining: “This is the first time in my life I will be visiting Africa, a continent so beautiful and rich in terms of nature, its people and its cultures; and I expect great discoveries and enriching encounters.”

Regarding the difficult situation the country faces, Francis said: “Your dear country has for too long been affected by a violent situation and by insecurity of which many of you have been innocent victims. The goal of my visit is, above all, to bring you, in the name of Christ, the comfort of consolation and hope. I hope with all my heart that my visit may contribute, in one way or another, to alleviate your wounds and to favour conditions for a better, more serene future for Central Africa and all its inhabitants.”

Reminding them of the theme of his visit – “Let us pass to the other side” – Francis said it invites Christian communities “to look ahead with determination and encourages each person to renew their own relationship with God and with their brothers and sisters to build a new, more just and fraternal world”. 

                    The video message to Kenyans and Ugandans

In his video message to the people of Kenya and Uganda, the Pope underlined that the Gospel “commands us to open our hearts to others, especially the poor and those in need”. The Pope affirmed: “I look forward to this time we will have together. I am coming as a minister of the Gospel, to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and his message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.” Francis said he wishes “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 our one human family.”

He then announced that one of the key moments of his visit to Africa “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”.

The Bishop of Bangui is to present

the Pope’s message to the Muslim community

“We are going to Km5 to present the Holy Father’s video message on his trip to our country,” announced Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui and President of the Episcopal Conference of the Central African Republic, speaking to Catholic news agency Fides.

“Km5 is the majority Muslim quarter of CAR’s capital, where there are tensions and incidents linked to the political situation that the Country has been experiencing since 2012. We will have a meeting to present the Pope's message with my friends of the religious platform for peace, formed by the Archbishop of Bangui, the President of the Central Islamic Council, Imam Oumar Kobine Layama and by the President of the Evangelical Alliance, Pastor Nicolas Guérékoyaméné-Gbangou. Together we continue to invite our faithful to nurture unity, cohesion and offer forgiveness to our brothers and sisters", said Mgr. Nzapalainga.

 "The Pope's message is clear," Mgr. Nzapalainga told Fides. "It is a message of peace that regards all religions, ethnic groups and tribes. We are grateful to the Holy Father for his visit to the Central African people, made up of Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and animists. We are all ready to welcome Pope Francis so that he can bring hope and consolation", the Archbishop of Bangui concluded.

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