It’s now official that the Catholic head is set to visit three African cities this November following an invitation by the heads of state and the Catholic Bishops. This will be the pope’s first visit to Africa since his inauguration three years ago.
Though the details of the trip are yet to be announced, the papal visit is set to be between Nov. 25-30. He will be visiting three African countries including Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic. The papal visit comes at a time when the continent is facing insecurity, Muslim extremism and widespread human rights abuses.
Here are 12 thing you should know about the Pope Francis Africa visit.
He announced his intentions to visit Africa in January during an in-flight press briefing while returning to Rome from Philippines and Sri Lanka.
The pope’s visit in November for a six day visit that will take him to three countries will be his first to the continent. Pope Francis has made poverty and the inequality the major themes of his pontificate.
The pope’s visit to Central African Republic comes at a time when the Central African Republic is suffered serious unrest and violence. The country has witnessed violence since the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel toppled the president in 2013.
During the announcement, addressing thousands of priests’ gathered at Saint John Lateran Basilica the pope’s only confirmed his visit to Uganda and Central African Republic. A Kenya remains only has a possibility.
The papal visit is set to bring him face to face with Islamic extremism and Christian-Muslim violence on the continent. Kenya is currently facing threat of attacks from Al-shaab Islamic militants. This has been absent in other papal visits to Africa.
Francis will certainly refer to the Martyrs of Uganda . The Namugongo visit will be in effort to pay tribute to the 45 Anglicans and Catholics killed during the persecution of Christians.
The papal visit shows his concern for the African continent which has the largest number of developing nations. Most of these countries are struggling with high levels of poverty and corruption.
With this trip to Africa Pope Francis would have visited all continents except Oceania in the first 3 years of his pontificate. He joins among other popes who have visited the continent such as John Paul II and Benedict XVI’s.
Pope Francis visit to Uganda this year will set a record for the east African nation as the first country on the continent to host three different reigning Popes. Uganda was visited by pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II before.
The pope has stressed the need to solve social and developmental problems in developing nations. According to him this is key to reducing the number of immigrants travelling to Europe and other developed nations in search of a better life.