KAMPALA – Church officials have confirmed that the current Pope and sovereign of the Vatican City State is positive about re-visiting Uganda as Catholic Bishops of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) finalise formal preparations to see the 81-year-old preside over the celebration of the 50th anniversary of their association.
Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kampala, on Thursday said if all goes well, Ugandans will again host Pope Francis next year in July.
He was speaking during the memorial lecture of Archbishop Dr Joseph Nakabaale Kiwanuka at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel.
“I have been to Statehouse to deliver the message that the Catholic bishops, under the SECAM, asked me to talk to the President,” Archbishop Lwanga said. “As you may be aware, the association was launched here in Uganda by Blessed Pope VI during his visit in July 1969.”
Reports show that for a Pope to visit a country, he has to be invited by the head of the Church and President of the country.
Archbishop Lwanga said President Museveni was “positive about the issue”.
The Vatican is said to have written to the Uganda Episcopal Conference confirming the receipt of SECAM’S invitation and also forwarding a written reply of the Pope’s acceptance.
As the first pope from outside Europe in nearly 1,300 years, the Argentine pontiff has appointed more cardinals from Africa and the developing world to increase the continent’s role in decision-making in Rome.
In 2015, huge crowds welcomed the pope to Uganda during his landmark Africa trip in which he railed against corruption and poverty.