Speeches 1969 - Kampala - Friday, 1 August 1969
Friday, 1 August 1969
Beloved sons and daughters,
It is a joy for Us to visit you here in your parish, with its church, schools and hospital. You live near the home of the Representative of the Pope, and you are all very dear to the heart of the Pope himself.
We would like to visit every parish in Africa, and speak to every one of Our faithful sons and daughters. We are so happy to see your ,smiling faces, to look into your eyes, to tell you of Our affection.
Always rejoice in your Catholic Faith. It will sustain you in your sorrow, it will bring you light in the darkness of suffering, it will increase your happiness in times of health and prosperity. Remain close to your church, where Our Lord Himself has freely desired to live among you and console you with His Real Presence. And pray to Him for yourselves and your dear ones, and also that He may grant the gift of Faith to all your brothers in Uganda and in all Africa.
With all Our heart, We bestow upon you and your children, upon your priests and religious, and upon your beloved parish, Our Apostolic Blessing.
Beloved sons and daughters,
You remember, in the Gospel, that one day when Our Lord was surrounded by people asking to be cured, the friends of a poor invalid made a hole in the roof of the house, and lowered his stretcher down so that Jesus could touch and heal him. Since you cannot move from your hospital beds, today it is the Pope who has come through the sky from Rome in order to be among you, and to bring you his blessing.
Like Our Lord on the Cross, you cannot move about freely; but, like Him, you can hold your arms open wide to the entire world, and offer your sufferings for the salvation of men. We admire your courage, your patience and your good humour; and We encourage you to see in your illness and pain the loving hand of God, Who loves you so dearly, and Who knows what is best for your soul and your eternal happiness. For those who love Him, all things work together for good. Let your hospital bed be an altar upon which you offer yourself completely to God, to do with as He wishes; and your reward will be exceeding great in Heaven.
From a paternal heart filled with tender affection, We bless you all, and We bless those who care for you in this hospital, your families, and all those you love.
Friday, 1 August 1969
Beloved sons and daughters,
This meeting with you, the men, women, and children-of this village, is one of the richest and happiest occasions of Our visit to Africa. We greet and bless you, and through you We salute and embrace all the village People of Uganda and of all Africa. Most Africans live in villages, as you do; to you, and to each of them, We assure Our esteem, Our affection, and Our hopes for your future.
In a village like this, everyone knows his neighbours, and all feel that they are brothers. Each one works together for the common good, tills the common land, celebrates common traditions. The work is hard, and the reward is small; but the lot of those who go to the cities is much more difficult and more dangerous.
Pope John said that workers on the land must never have an inferiority complex or consider themselves less important (cf. Mater et Magistra MM 126). He also said, however, that you must continue to ask for essential services, such as roads, transportation, communications, drinking water, housing, medical care, education, vocational training, religious assistance and also recreation (ibid.n. 128). Great efforts are already being made in this way, and We are happy that the Catholic Church has contributed, as far as she is able, to village development and improvement. We Ourself have instructed Our Commission on Justice and Peace to enter this struggle, and to work for the betterment of your village communities and your daily living.
Here, from your village, We proclaim to all Africa and the entire world that rural Africa must be aided in developing its immense agricultural possibilities; that the establishment of local industries must replace the exploitation of raw materials; and that the African villager must be helped to become, through concord and union with local and national society, the master of his own destiny and development, given the instruction necessary to undertake his personal responsibilities.
We desire for each one of you that dignity and justice which are proper to the sons of God. Therefore, We summon the whole world to that universal brotherhood under God, for which Our Lord Jesus Christ, and your own Uganda Martyrs, gave their lives. To encourage you also to give your lives, that is, your daily living and work, for your brothers, We lovingly impart to you all Our Apostolic Blessing.
It is with pleasure, dear friends, that We spend a few moments with you, to bring you Our congratulation and Our encouragement.
Your Centre works mainly for human promotion in a better organized society; you prepare yourselves here to collaborate, each in his own way, to the great enterprise of development. Your first concern is for the human person, with his urge to be recognized as a free man, with responsibilities, ready to take his full and rightful place in society. That place requires a good and honourable family life, decent working conditions and a just and adequate payment, a share in civic activities, and in lawful recreation - in a word, his complete and harmonious self-fulfilment.
As Our Lord reminded us in the parable of the talents, every man and woman, no matter how humble, in expected to do his utmost and exploit his abilities to the full. In our modern world, so fascinated by the marvellous achievements of science, immense effort is necessary to give due importance to the heart of man, to develop his ability to love, to share, to give, to receive, for, without this, material development may lead to a society dangerously under-developed in spiritual things.
In this regard, We cannot fail to emphasize the primary importance of the efforts being made in Africa to enable women to make an ever increasing contribution to the new civilization being built up here. As We wrote in Our «Message to Africa», «Today, the African woman is summoned to become ever more aware of her personal dignity, of her role as mother, and of her right to take part in the social life and progress of modern Africa» (Africae terrarum, n. 36). Rest assured, dear friends, that everything you do to help the women of your country take responsibility as educators in your families, your villages and your communities, will help guarantee the physical, moral and spiritual health of your society.
You are working together to bring about respect for the human person and for his right to life, to health, to work, to freedom and to religion. Your collaboration is for all persons, without distinction of class, race, or religion; and this, in the Christian ideal, is love for all men, that charity taught by Jesus: «By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if your have love for one another» (Jn 13,35).
May these words of Our Lord inspire you to persevere in your work, even when it is difficult, and encourage you in your high ideals. And may His richest blessings descend upon each one of you and your families.
To you, Gentlemen, who are responsible for the completion of this new hospital, We extend Our heartfelt gratitude for inviting Us to its solemn inauguration. We come here today, not only to praise this material structure, for We know well what labour and sacrifices its construction has demanded, but above all to meet the sick, the suffering and the afflicted.
Here is the love taught by the Gospel! We thank and bless all who show such evangelical charity in this hospital; We encourage them to remember that, in their difficult service to the sick, they are assisting Our Lord Himself, Who said: “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to Me”.
Beloved patients, We greet you most affectionately, for you are the special recipients of divine love. Jesus expressed the most profound meaning of love in His parable of the Good Samaritan, who helped a sick and wounded man.
Hence, when the Church opens hospitals where none is available, and thus serves the sick, she is true to her mission of charity. To this duty, the missionaries have always given first place, not as an unseemly propaganda, but only to show the Church’s unselfish and universal. love for all the poor and afflicted, of every race, colour and religion. In this, she has no desire to compete with the civil authorities; she wishes only to inspire their action, or supply its lack when necessary, for she is always the servant of men in their human development, both physical and spiritual. Such is the mission of this excellent new hospital.
To its directors, therefore, to the medical, nursing and technical personnel and staff, and particularly to all the patients and their families, We lovingly impart Our very special Apostolic Blessing.
In the place of healing, and on this occasion, We wish to make the announcement of a project, inspired by Our special love and concern for the suffering, and particularly for the suffering children.
To Our great sorrow, it was not possible for Us, during Our stay in Africa, to visit that region which is undergoing a fearful conflict, the land of Nigeria. But, to show Our affection for that country, which We had the joy of visiting when Archbishop of Milan, We intend, as soon as the situation permits, to found there two institutions, in the ecclesiastical jurisdictions where We then journeyed, and which have since been so terribly ravaged by the consequences of war. These two institutions will receive and help the innocent young children, who have been wounded or crippled or otherwise injured because of the conflict, and seek to repair the damage, both physical and moral, done to those little ones, and also as much as possible assist them by suitable training to take their place in society as useful citizens, thus working for the future and for peaceful development. Hence We shall place both these institutions under the loving maternal patronage of Our Lady of Peace, whom We now implore to obtain from her Divine Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the speedy end of hostilities and the return of concord and brotherly love to that dear land. But We wish also to show in a practical way Our love for the sick and suffering of Uganda. Therefore we offer towards the completion and continuation of this Hospital, Our personal gift in the amount of ten thousand dollars, accompanied by Our prayers for al1 those who work and are helped here. God bless you.
Friday, 1 August 1969
Our heart is filled with joy, beloved sons and daughters of Catholic Action, and members of other Catholic Associations, as We greet you, assembled here from all over Uganda and from many other countries. Each of your lands has consoled Us by impressive numbers of priestly and religious vocations. But We are well aware, as the Vatican Council asserted, that “the Church has not been truly established, nor is it a perfect sign of Christ among men, unless there exists a laity worthy of the name, working along with the Hierarchy” (Ad Gentes, No. 21).
In Africa, this vision has partly become a reality. Still, even greater efforts must be made today, when human society is being transformed so very rapidly. Lay men and women are in the front ranks of present-day evolution. In every domain-the family, society, the economy, culture-they are the irreplaceable builders and also the beneficiaries.
Because, by your very vocation, you are engaged in the great work of development, and because you represent here all the militant laity of Africa, We wish to give you the first announcement of a great project We have planned in connection with Our visit to Africa.
By Our Encyclical “Populorum progression”, and later by Our “Message to Africa”, We encouraged every effort towards true promotion of man in your countries, and described its Christian perspectives. Now, in order that this work be promoted, here in your presence, well aware that Our voice will be heard to the ends of the earth, We state Our solemn intention of making a very special contribution of support to those bodies devoted to the “search of a new humanism, which will enable modern man to find himself anew, by embracing the higher values of love and friendship, of prayer and contemplation” (Populorum progressio, No. 20).
But We cannot carry out this great project, beloved sons and daughters, without you. As lay apostles, uniting your efforts with those of all men of good will, you cannot surely be less active, or inventive, or courageous, that your brothers, in constructing a more human world. On the contrary, in every action, no matter how humble, you will always be attentive to that particular development on which all the rest depends: namely, the development of men’s hearts in love, justice, liberty and truth.
For this is the specific action of the Church concerning development. “Closely united with men in their life and work, Christ’s disciples hope to render to others true witness of Christ, and to work for their salvation, even where they are not able to proclaim Christ fully” (Ad Gentes, No. 12). They are always ready to give an account of the hope that is in them (1P 3,15).
“The Gospel cannot be deeply imprinted on the talents, life, and work of any people without the active presence of lay men” (Ad Gentes, No. 27). The development of zealous lay people, therefore, especially of the laity of Catholic Action, must be the constant concern of priests and religious, in close collaboration with the Hierarchy. Here, Africa can find and demonstrate new and original forms of lay organization and lay expression.
At the same time, Africa must neglect the centuries-old experience of many well established movements in other parts of the world. And, in the ranks of those movements, the African voice must be heard, and listened to with respect.
The Martyrs of Uganda were laymen, who did not hesitate to shed their blood for the Faith. To the lay men and women of today, they make a most compelling appeal, to follow in their footsteps through every-day tasks, striving for that holiness of life which brings a rich harvest of souls.
Upon Catholic Action, and the other Catholic Associations in Africa, upon all of you who march in their ranks, upon your families, your directors, and your associates, We lovingly bestow Our paternal Apostolic Blessing.
Friday, 1 August 1969
Venerable Brothers and beloved sons,
We thank you from Our heart for the magnificent welcome you have prepared for Us. We also congratulate you on the impressive vitality of Catholic life in Uganda, In only ninety years, vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious life have multiplied, and Catholicism has flourished to the extent that today nearly three million Ugandans, about a third of the total population of the country, are faithful sons of the Church. This Nation also gave the Church her first African Bishop of the modern era, Bishop Joseph Kiwanuka, named Vicar Apostolic of Mosaka on May the twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred .and thirty-nine.
When we contemplate so abundant a harvest, it is fitting to recall the sowers of the seed, the first Missionaries: and also those young Martyrs, glory of the Church in Uganda-Charles Lwanga and his companions, whom We recently raised to the honour of the altars in the universal Church. It is in their memory, and to consecrate their shrine, that the humble Vicar of Christ has come to Uganda, for they constitute a glory for the whole of Africa.
How admirable was the work of the pioneers of evangelization in this Country! The White Fathers, and, after them, the Mill Hill Fathers and the Sons of the Sacred Heart from Verona; the White Sisters; and all the other Men and Women Religious, whose only motive was to spread the Word of God. Their efforts have been so fruitful that, today, it is the Clergy of Uganda themselves who increasingly assume the responsibility of the Church here, with the assistance of the various missionary societies.
This abundant out-pouring of God’s grace is so very evident today, that we must all dedicate ourselves to launch out into the deep, to continue and complete this vital mission. For “I am sure that He Who began a good work in- you will bring it to completion” (Ph 1,6).
To entourage you, Venerable Brothers and beloved sons, in this wider and more intense mission, We lovingly bestow upon you, and impart to your Clergy, your Religious, and all the families of Uganda, Our paterna1 Apostolic Blessing, expressing Our ardent hope that closer union and true peace among al1 the tribal, ethnic, and spiritual communities of this land many follow upon Our Benediction, as gracious gifts from Almighty God.
Dignitaries and Representatives of Islam,
How can we express Our deep satisfaction in meeting you, and Our gratitude to you, for granting Our lively desire to greet, in your persons, the great Moslem communities spread throughout Africa? You thus enable Us to manifest here Our high respect for the faith you profess, and Our hope that what we hold in common may serve to unite Christians and Moslems ever more closely, in true brotherhood.
It gives Us pleasure to salute also the Representatives of the Indian and Pakistani communities, which have found, in this country, a fraternal welcome.
In our prayers, We always remember the Peoples of Africa, for the common belief in the Almighty professed by millions of them must call down upon this Continent the graces of His Providence and Love, most of all, peace and unity among all its sons, We feel sure that, as Representatives of Islam, you join in Our prayer to the Almighty, that He grant all African believers that desire for pardon and reconciliation so often commended in the Gospels and in the Koran.
Our pilgrimage to these holy places is not for purposes of prestige or power. It is a humble and ardent prayer for peace, through the intercession of the glorious Protectors of Africa, who gave up their lives for love and for their belief. In recalling the Catholic and Anglican Martyrs, We gladly recall also those confessors of the Moslem faith who were the first to suffer death, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-eight, for refusing to transgress the precepts of their religion.
May the shining sun of peace and brotherly love rise over this land, bathed with their blood by generous sons of the Catholic, Christian and Moslem communities of Uganda, to illuminate all of Africa! And may this, Our meeting with you, respected Representatives of Islam, be the symbol of, and first step towards, that unity for which God calls us all to strive for His greater glory, for the happiness of this blessed Continent!
From its earliest planning, it was Our earnest desire that in the course of this brief visit to Uganda We should come here, to Namugongo. We wished to meet the Anglican Church which flourishes in this country. We wished to pay homage to those sons of whom it is most proud: those who - together with our own Catholic Martyrs - gave the generous witness of their lives to the Gospel of the Lord we have in common, Jesus Christ. For all of them, there is the same inspired word of praise: “These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth” (Hebr.11, 13).
In the Martyrs’ spirit of ecumenism, we cannot resolve our differences by mere re-consideration of the past, or judgement upon it. Instead, we must press on in confidence that new light will be given us, to lead us to our goal; we must trust that new strength will be granted us, so that, in obedience to our common Lord, we may all be able to receive the grace of unity.
I The Uganda martyrs were brought together by suffering, and died in faithful witness and hope. They now see, as we must, much to thank God for, “since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Hebr.11, 40).
Among ecumenical enterprises, the Christian Council in Uganda is particularly flourishing. Since there can be no growth towards unity without strong deep local roots, it is Our prayer and, We feel confident, your prayer also, that the spiritual quality of this association may increase as collaboration extends into new fields.
Thus, not only in Uganda, but in all the great African continent, spiritual hunger will intensify to bring healing to that division of which the Second Vatican Council said that it “openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching of the Gospel to every creature” (Unitatis redintegratio, No. 1). May the Lord bless the work of the All-Africa Christian Conference, as it bends its efforts towards the unity of all Christians!
A notable achievement in Christian co-operation is the common effort among the various confessions to provide readily accessible translations of Sacred Scripture, that rich source from which the minds and hearts of men receive the life-giving nourishment of divine Revelation. As the Council declared, “in the ecumenical dialogue itself, the Sacred Word is a precious instrument in the mighty hand of God, for attaining to that unity which the Saviour holds out to all men” (ibidem, No. 21).
This and many other forms of common work in Christ are gathered up in a single resolve. For this is the search we all pursue together, for that true, visible and organic unity which Christ so clearly willed, in order that the world might believe that consummation for which, on the eve of His saving death, He so solemnly prayed to the Father.
In Jesus We express to you, Our Christian brethren, heartfelt greetings and good wishes, in firm and lasting hope, in ardent and sincere charity, invoking rich divine favours and graces.
To you and to the City of Kampala We express Our deep gratitude for your kind welcome, and for the generous hospitality of this Capital of the Republic of Uganda.
Well aware of the arduous labours and numerous sacrifices which have made Our sojourn here so pleasant and so consoling, We assure you and all your collaborators of Our sincere appreciation, and We pray that God may bless and prosper this metropolitan centre and all its inhabitants.
Happiness, prosperity and peace be to this City of Kampala, and to all those who dwell herein!
* * *
Our heart is filled with sentiments of thankfulness to all of Africa, and to all of Uganda, for the honour and joy of Our visit here. But in a most particular way do We owe a debt of gratitude to you, the Civil and Religious Authorities, the self-sacrificing ladies and gentlemen, who have done so much to make Our stay a truly memorable experience.
You have thought of everything, and have provided every service that could add. to the splendour of the occasion, so that this first visit of the Pope to the great Continent of Africa may live in men’s memories and bear fruits of joy and Peace in their hearts.
May God reward you for all your efforts! We know some part of the immense work you have accomplished and We are grateful; but God sees all of your achievement and all of your intentions, and He is faithful to repay a hundredfold. In His name We thank you, and We impart to each of you, your helpers, your families and dear ones, Our heartfelt paternal Apostolic Blessing.
Beloved sons and daughters,
We come to the end of Our visit to Uganda! The style of the Pope’s journeys is one of brevity and speed; so that now We are about to depart, having enjoyed two days of great spiritual consolation. We shall never forget your welcome, so very cordial and filial. We shall ever cherish in Our memory and in Our heart the holy impressions of this most happy meeting: your good selves, your loveable people, your courteous Authorities, both civil and military, the dignitaries both of the State of Uganda and of the City of Kampala. And especially you, Venerable Brother, the Most Reverend Emanuel Nsubuga, Archbishop of Kampala, you who have been so kind and so hospitable to Us, and to the persons comprising Our mission; We must assure you of Our deep gratitude. All of you who have collaborated in the success of these days: We paternally thank you, each and every one! And We promise you that We shall transform the happy memory and dutiful thankfulness of Our African voyage into special prayers for each one of you.
We cannot leave this blessed land, however, without addressing a special word to the Clergy, to the Men and Women Religious, to the Brothers and the Sisters, dedicated to the service of Christ and of His Church. Permit Us at least to tell you how great is Our esteem and Our affection for you, precisely because of what you are, because of what you do. We wish to repeat, with the words of Saint Paul: God is Our witness, how We yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus! (cf. Phil Ph 1,8). By Him you have been loved and you have been called, through a spiritual history and experience which has marked your life and your vocation, which is a sign of predilection on His part. He looked upon you and loved you (cf. Mk Mc 10,2 Mc 1) and He chose you (cf. Jn Jn 15,16); for your part, you responded, and said Yes to His love; you chose the better part (cf. Lk Lc 10,42); you have given and consecrated yourselves to Him, without reserve and without repentance. You have understood to their very depths the demands of the Kingdom of Heaven; you have given everything, you have given your all for All, that is, for Him Who is Life (cf. Mt Mt 19,29). How, then, could We not love you, Brothers and Sisters, Sons and Daughters of complete dedication to Our Lord Jesus, and of total fidelity to His love and to His cause?
Permit Us to add this also, that in you, in your sacrifice and in your love, We have the strongest and most fruitful hopes for the future of the Church in this young Christian Africa, and even for the future of the Church in the world. You know that the Church is now passing through a time of fervour, which is at the same time a period of unrest, because of the new, agitated state of the world of today. But We think that, if you are good, strong, faithful and fervent, . the Church will emerge from this trial even more holy, sand better adapted to her mission of salvation among men. It is Our Lord, of course, Who saves souls and saves the world; but not without our ministry and our collaboration. We, who are vowed to His service, can say, with Saint Paul, “We are God’s fellow workers” (1Co 3,9).
Take heart! Have courage, beloved sons and daughters! Let Us repeat to you also the exhortation of the Apostle Peter, whose most humble successor We are: “Be firm in your faith!” (1P 5,9). Permit Us also to remind you of the power, We might say the decisive power, of your example upon the young Christianity around you; if you are good and holy, then your communities of faithful will surely be good and holy. Example is the first witness which they have the right to expect from us who are consecrated to the Lord. This is the sermon which all of you, men and women, old and young, can preach: your example! The example of true faith and piety: for if you are in sincere union with Christ, those to whom you dedicate your ministry will be also, The example of charity and concord, especially between local personnel and the personnel coming from outside, from abroad, to plant the Church of God here. Be humble (cf. Phil Ph 2,3 Rm 12,10); help one another; do not give too much importance to differences of nationality, of education, of race, of tribe; always remember that we are brothers (cf. Mt Mt 5,47 Mt 23,8 1Tm 5,1 Rm 10,12 1Co 12,13 Ga 3,28). And strive truly to live that ecclesial communion which makes us all one in Christ (Jn 17,21-23), all one Mystical Body (1Co 10, 16-17, etc.), for we are the Church, all one thing with Christ and between ourselves. In order that this mystery of twofold unity the sacramental unity with the risen Body of Christ, and the mystical and social unity among ourselves through the Holy Spirit, in the self-same faith and charity-may even now, during this life of pilgrimage towards the life to come, be brought to perfection, let us make sure to honour, in the Bishop, the sign and the minister of unity. Let us understand the meaning and the value of the Hierarchy in the Church; for we must be united to the Body of Christ as He conceived and organized it, if we wish to live in the Spirit of Christ, that very Spirit which animated that Mystical Body (cf. St Ignatius of Antioch; St Augustine; Encyc. Mystici Corporis; Lumen Gentium, Nos. 18, 19, etc.; Ep 4,11-14). The Bishop! Your own Bishop! Be always close to him, understand his wishes and his needs, give shape and action to the new organization of the ecclesial community, let your obedience be loving and easy, and see in the Bishop your shepherd, your teacher; in fact, see in him Jesus Christ Himself (cf. Lumen Gentium, No. 21)!
Beloved sons and daughters, would you like a final remembrance? Then have filial devotion to Mary most holy, the Blessed Virgin, true Mother of Christ and spiritually our Mother. You will have great need of her - to understand Christ, to serve Him, to imitate Him; you will need consolation and confidence - entrust yourselves to Our Lady (cf. Lumen Gentium, No. 68).
It is to her, as We depart, that We confide the Church of Africa, and especially this Church of yours here. Invoking upon all of you her sweet, powerful, motherly protection, We salute you and once more We bless you.
Goodbye! And, by God’s mercy, may we meet again one day in Heaven!
Our last words on the soil of Uganda and of Africa are of thanks to God, Who has shown Us such rich human, religious, and Christian values in all the persons We have had the honour of meeting. Both Catholics and the faithful of other religious denominations have shed their blood upon this land in the name of Almighty God, so that today the national community of Uganda includes differing faiths which respect and esteem one another.
To His Excellency Doctor Obote and this Republic, and to all the Nations of Africa, We offer Our thanks for the generous welcome given to the humble Head of the Catholic Church; and We bear away with Us the vision of this immense multitude of human faces, demonstrating the universality of the vocation to the Faith, already announced to all Nations.
We carry also in Our heart the sufferings of those who have no voice; and for them We shall implore that peace and brotherly help may heal their wounds, cure their maladies, and relieve their poverty. This appeal We address to all men of good will, and especially to those Africans better able to assist their fellow-citizens of this Continent.
Speeches 1969 - Kampala - Friday, 1 August 1969