Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “I am coming as a minister of the Gospel, to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and his message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace,” says Pope Francis in two video messages to the people of Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic, ahead of his visit to these countries from 25 to 30 November.
In his message to the Central African Republic, the pope said that on 29 November, he would be opening Bangui Cathedral’s Holy Door, a bit ahead of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which "will be for everyone, I hope, a providential time for authentic forgiveness, for giving and receiving, and for the renewal of love."
“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.”
Pope Francis also noted that the theme of his visit is “Let us pass to the other side”, which 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”.
In Kenya and Uganda, the first two stops, “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 I wish to encounter all the people of Kenya and Uganda, and 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. 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.”