Propagation of the Faith

This Society was founded in France at Lyons in 1822 by a young lady called Pauline Marie Jaricot,

Missionary Holy Childhood

Bishop Charles de Forbin JansonThe Pontifical Society of Missionary Holy Childhood was started in France in 1843 by Bishop Charles de Forbin Janson

St. Peter the Apostle

Jeanne BigardThe Mission Society of St. Peter Apostle was founded in 1889; in France by Jeanne Bigard


Pope's final stop during his visit to Uganda was an encounter with priests, seminarians, and religious in the Cathedral of Kampala, where Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II both prayed.

Below, please find Pope Francis’ prepared remarks for the encounter:

Meeting with Priests, Religious and Seminarians

Kampala, St Mary’s Cathedral

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Dear Brother Priests, Religious and Seminarians,

I am happy to be with you, and I thank you for your cordial welcome.  I especially thank the speakers for bearing witness to your hopes and concerns, and, above all, the joy which inspires you in your service to God’s people in Uganda.

I am pleased, too, that our meeting takes place on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, a season which invites us to look to new beginnings.  This Advent we are also preparing to cross the threshold of the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy which I have called for the whole Church. 

As we approach the Jubilee of Mercy, I would ask you two questions.  First: who are you, as priests or future priests, and as consecrated persons?  In one sense, the answer is an easy one: surely you are men and women whose lives have been shaped by a “personal encounter with Jesus Christ” (Evangelii Gaudium, 3).  Jesus has touched your hearts, called you by name, and asked you to follow him with an undivided heart in the service of his holy people.

The Church in Uganda has been blessed, in its short yet venerable history, with a great cloud of witnesses – lay faithful, catechists, priests and religious – who forsook everything for the love of Jesus: homes, families, and, in the case of the martyrs, their own lives.  In your own lives, whether in the priestly ministry or in your religious consecration, you are called to carry on this great legacy, above all with quiet acts of humble service.  Jesus wants to use you to touch the hearts of yet other people: he wants to use your mouths to proclaim his saving word, your arms to embrace the poor whom he loves, your hands to build up communities of authentic missionary disciples.  May we never forget that our “yes” to Jesus is a “yes” to his people.  Our doors, the doors of our churches, but above all the doors of our hearts, must constantly be open to God’s people, our people.  For that is who we are.

A second question I would ask you tonight is: What more are you called to do in living your specific vocation?  Because there is always more that we can do, another mile to be walked on our journey.

God’s people, indeed all people, yearn for new life, forgiveness and peace.  Sadly, there are many troubling situations in our world for which we must pray, beginning with realities closest to us.  I pray especially for the beloved people of Burundi, that the Lord may awaken in their leaders and in society as a whole a commitment to dialogue and cooperation, reconciliation and peace.  If we are to accompany those who suffer, then like the light passing through the stained glass windows of this Cathedral, we must let God’s power and healing pass through us.  We must first let the waves of his mercy flow over us, purify us, and refresh us, so that we can bring that mercy to others, especially those on the peripheries.

All of us know well how difficult this can be.  There is so much work to be done.  At the same time, modern life also offers so many distractions which can dull our consciences, dissipate our zeal, and even lure us into that “spiritual worldliness” which eats away at the foundations of the Christian life.  The work of conversion – that conversion which is the heart of the Gospel of Jesus (cf. Mk 1:15) – must be carried out each day, in the battle to recognize and overcome those habits and ways of thinking which can fuel spiritual complacency.  We need to examine our consciences, as individuals and as communities.

As I mentioned, we are entering the season of Advent, which is a time of new beginnings.  In the Church we like to say that Africa is the continent of hope, and with good reason.  The Church in these lands is blessed with an abundant harvest of religious vocations.  This evening I would offer a special word of encouragement to the young seminarians and religious present.  The Lord’s call is a source of joy and a summons to serve.  Jesus tells us that “it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks” (Lk 6:45).  May the fire of the Holy Spirit purify your hearts, so that you can be joyful and convincing witnesses to the hope of the Gospel.  You have a beautiful word to speak!  May you always speak it, above all, by the integrity and conviction of your lives.

Dear brothers and sisters, my visit to Uganda is brief, and today was a very long day!  But I consider our meeting tonight to be the crowning of this beautiful day when I was able to go as a pilgrim to the Shrine of the Uganda Martyrs at Namugongo, and to meet with the many young people who are the future of the nation and our Church.  Truly I leave Africa with great hope in the harvest of grace which God is preparing in your midst!  I ask all of you to pray for an outpouring of apostolic zeal, for joyful perseverance in the calling you have received, and, above all, for the gift of a pure heart ever open to the needs of all our brothers and sisters.  In this way the Church in Uganda will truly prove worthy of its glorious heritage and face the challenges of the future with sure hope in Christ’s promises.  I will remember all of you in my prayers, and I ask you, please, to pray for me!

Dear Friends,
Thank you for your warm welcome.  I wanted very much to visit this House of Charity, which Cardinal Nsubuga founded here in Nalukolongo.  This is a place which has always been associated with the Church’s outreach to the poor, the handicapped, the sick.  Here, in early times, slave children were ransomed and women received religious instruction.  I greet the Good Samaritan Sisters who carry on this fine tradition, and I thank them for their years of quiet and joyful service in this apostolate.    
 
I also greet the representatives of the many other apostolic groups who serve the needs of our brothers and sisters in Uganda.  Above all, I greet the residents of this home and others like it, and all who benefit from these works of Christian charity.  For this is a home.  Here you can find love and care; here you can feel the presence of Jesus, our brother, who loves each of us with God’s own love.  
 
Today, from this Home, I appeal to all parishes and communities in Uganda – and the rest of Africa – not to forget the poor.  The Gospel commands us to go out to the peripheries of society, and to find Christ in the suffering and those in need.  The Lord tells us, in no uncertain terms, that is what he will judge us on!  How sad it is when our societies allow the elderly to be rejected or neglected!  How wrong it is when the young are exploited by the modern-day slavery of human trafficking!  If we look closely at the world around us, it seems that, in many places, selfishness and indifference are spreading.  How many of our brothers and sisters are victims of today’s throwaway culture, which breeds contempt above all towards the unborn, the young and the elderly!  
As Christians, we cannot simply stand by.  Something must change!  Our families need to become ever more evident signs of God’s patient and merciful love, not only for our children and elders, but for all those in need.  Our parishes must not close their doors, or their ears, to the cry of the poor.  This is the royal road of Christian discipleship.  In this way we bear witness to the Lord who came not to be served, but to serve.  In this way we show that people count more than things, that who we are is more important than what we possess.  For in those whom we serve, Christ daily reveals himself and prepares the welcome which we hope one day to receive in his eternal kingdom.  
 
Dear friends, by simple gestures, by simple prayerful actions which honour Christ in the least of his brothers and sisters, we can bring the power of his love into our world, and truly change it.  I thank you once more for your generosity and love.  I will remember you in my prayers and I ask you, please, to pray for me.  I commend all of you to the loving protection of Mary, our Mother, and I give you my blessing.  
 
Omukama Abakuume! (God protect you!)

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis

Meeting with Young People

Kampala, Kololo Air Strip

Saturday 28 November 2015

Holy Father:                      Omukama Mulungi!                      (God is good!)

Young people:                  Obudde bwonna!                           (For ever and ever!)

Dear Young Friends,

                I am happy to be here and to share these moments with you.  I greet my brother bishops and the civil authorities present, and I thank Bishop Paul Ssemogerere for his words of welcome.  The testimonies of Winnie and Emmanuel confirm my impression that the Church in Uganda is alive with young people who want a better future.  Today, if you will allow me, I want to confirm you in your faith, encourage you in your love, and in a special way, strengthen you in your hope.

                Christian hope is not simply optimism; it is much more.  It is rooted in the new life we have received in Jesus Christ.  Saint Paul tells us that hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love was poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit at our baptism (cf. Rom 5:5).  This hope enables us to trust in Christ’s promises, to trust in the power of his love, his forgiveness, his friendship.  That love opens the door to new life.  Whenever you experience a problem, a setback, a failure, you must anchor your heart in that love, for it has the power to turn death into life and to banish every evil.

                So this afternoon I would invite you, first of all, to pray for this gift to grow within you, and for the grace to become messengers of hope.  There are so many people around us who experience deep anxiety and even despair.  Jesus lifts these clouds, if we allow him to. 

                I would also like to share with you a few thoughts about some of the obstacles which you may encounter on our journey of hope.  All of you want a better future, employment, health and prosperity.  This is good.  You want to share your gifts, your aspirations and your enthusiasm with others, for the good of the nation and of the Church.  This too is very good.  But when you see poverty, when you experience lack of opportunity, when you experience failure in your lives, sometimes a feeling of despair can grow.  You can be tempted to lose hope.

                Have you ever seen a little child who stops in front of a dirty puddle on the path ahead of him?  A puddle he cannot leap over or go around?  He may try but then he stumbles and gets soaked.  Then, after many attempts, he calls out to his father, who takes his hand and swings him over to the other side.  We are like that child.  Life presents us with many dirty puddles.  But we don’t have to overcome all those problems and hurdles on our own.  God is there to take our hand, if only we call on him. 

                What I am saying is that all of us have to be like that little child, even the Pope!  For it is only when we are small and humble that we are not afraid to call out to our Father.  If you have experienced his help, you know what I am speaking about.  We need to learn to put our hope in him, knowing that he is always there for us.  He gives us confidence and courage.  But – and this is important – it would be wrong not to share this beautiful experience with others.  It would be wrong for us not to become messengers of hope for others.

                There is one particular puddle which can be frightening to young people who want to grow in their friendship with Christ.  It is the fear of failing in our commitment to love, and above all, failing in that great and lofty ideal which is Christian marriage.  You may be afraid of failing to be a good wife and mother, failing to be a good husband and father.  If you are looking at that puddle, you may even see your weaknesses and fears reflected back to you.  Please, don’t give in to them!  Sometimes these fears come from the devil who does not want you to be happy.  No!  Call out to God, extend your hearts to him and he will lift you in his arms and show you how to love.  I ask young couples in particular to trust that God wants to bless their love and their lives with his grace in the sacrament of marriage.  God’s gift of love is at the heart of Christian marriage, not the costly parties which often obscure the deep spiritual meaning of this day of joyful celebration with family and friends.

                Finally, one puddle that we all have to face is the fear of being different, of going against the grain in a society which puts increasing pressure on us to embrace models of gratification and consumption alien to the deepest values of African culture.  Think about it!  What would the Uganda martyrs say about the misuse of our modern means of communication, where young people are exposed to images and distorted views of sexuality that degrade human dignity, leading to sadness and emptiness?  What would be the Uganda martyrs’ reaction to the growth of greed and corruption in our midst?  Surely they would appeal to you to be model Christians, confident that your love of Christ, your fidelity to the Gospel, and your wise use of your God-given gifts can only enrich, purify and elevate the life of this country.  They continue to show you the way.  Do not be afraid to let the light of your faith shine in your families, your schools and your places of work.  Do not be afraid to enter into dialogue humbly with others who may see things differently.

Dear young friends, when I look at your faces I am filled with hope: hope for you, hope for your country, and hope for the Church.  I ask you to pray that the hope which you have received from the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire your efforts to grow in wisdom, generosity and goodness.  Don’t forget to be messengers of that hope!  And don’t forget that God will help you to cross whatever puddles you meet along the way!

Hope in Christ and he will enable you to find true happiness.  And if you find it hard to pray, if you find it hard to hope, do not be afraid to turn to Mary, for she is our Mother, the Mother of Hope.  Finally, please, do not forget to pray for me!  God bless you all!

After his meeting with the president and local leaders from Uganda, the Pope went to the Sanctuary of Munyonyo, which is about 25 miles from the presidential palace.

It was the place where the first four Christian martyrs in the country were killed in 1886. He met with catechists and teachers from the country there.

Please find below an English translation of the Pope’s prepared remarks to the catechists and teachers:  

Greeting to Catechists

Kampala, Munyonyo

Friday, 27 November 2015

Dear Catechists and Teachers, Dear Friends,

                I greet you with affection in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Teacher.

                 “Teacher!”  What a beautiful name this is!  Jesus is our first and greatest teacher.  Saint Paul tells us that Jesus gave his Church not only apostles and pastors, but also teachers, to build up the whole body in faith and love.  Together with the bishops, priests and deacons who are ordained to preach the Gospel and care for the Lord’s flock, you, as catechists, play an outstanding part in bringing the Good News to every village and homestead in your country.

                I wish before all else, to thank you for the sacrifices which you and your families make, and for the zeal and devotion with which you carry out your important task.  You teach what Jesus taught, you instruct adults and help parents to raise their children in the faith, and you bring the joy and hope of eternal life to all.  Thank you for your dedication, your example, your closeness to God’s people in their daily lives, and all the many ways you plant and nurture the seeds of faith throughout this vast land.  Thank you especially for teaching our children and young people how to pray.

                I know that your work, although rewarding, is not easy.  So I encourage you to persevere, and I ask your bishops and priests to support you with a doctrinal, spiritual and pastoral formation capable of making you ever more effective in your outreach.  Even when the task seems too much, the resources too few, the obstacles too great, it should never be forgotten that yours is a holy work.  The Holy Spirit is present wherever the name of Christ is proclaimed.  He is in our midst whenever we lift up our hearts and minds to God in prayer.  He will give you the light and strength you need!  The message you bring will take root all the more firmly in people’s hearts if you are not only a teacher but also a witness.  Your example should speak to everyone of the beauty of prayer, the power of mercy and forgiveness, the joy of sharing in the Eucharist with all our brothers and sisters.

                The Christian community in Uganda grew strong through the witness of the martyrs.  They testified to the truth which sets men free; they were willing to shed their blood to be faithful to what they knew was good and beautiful and true.  We stand here today in Munyonyo at the place where King Mwanga determined to wipe out the followers of Christ.  He failed in this, just as King Herod failed to kill Jesus.  The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it (cf. Jn 1:5).  After seeing the fearless testimony of Saint Andrew Kaggwa and his companions, Christians in Uganda became even more convinced of Christ’s promises. 

                May Saint Andrew, your patron, and all the Ugandan catechist martyrs, obtain for you the grace to be wise teachers, men and women whose every word is filled with grace, convincing witnesses to the splendour of God’s truth and the joy of the Gospel!  Go forth without fear to every town and village in this country, to spread the good seed of God’s word, and trust in his promise that you will come back rejoicing, with sheaves full from the harvest. 

                Omukama Abawe Omukisa!      (God bless you!)