(Vatican Radio) During his stay in the Ugandan capital on Saturday Pope Francis visited a home for the sick, the disabled and down-and-outs run by the Good Samaritan sisters. Before greeting residents and staff at the centre, the Pope visited the tomb of the first Ugandan Cardinal Emmanuel Nsubuga who founded the home in 1978 and was buried in the grounds there.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report:
Pope Francis began his visit to the House of Charity in Nalukolongo by stopping for a few moments of prayer in the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Africa. He was then accompanied by the Good Samaritan sisters to the tomb of the former Cardinal Emmanuel Nsubuga, who set up the centre and was renowned for his outspoken condemnation of human rights violations during the reign of former dictator Idi Amin. He was also instrumental in organising the first visit of a Roman pontiff to Uganda, helping to coordinate Pope Paul VI’s three day journey to the newly independent nation in the summer of 1969.
Today the House of Charity cares for about a hundred people of all ages and different religious backgrounds, from Uganda as well as from the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi . The youngest patient being cared for by the sisters is an eleven year old child, while the oldest is a man aged 102.
In his brief address, Pope Francis thanked the Good Samaritan sisters for their quiet and joyful service. He appealed to all parishes and communities in Africa not to forget the poor but “to go out to the peripheries of society” to find Christ amid the suffering and those in need. “How sad it is”, he said, “when our societies allow the elderly to be rejected or neglected” or when the young are exploited by the modern-day slavery of human trafficking.
If we look closely at the world around us, the Pope said, it seems that, in many places, selfishness and indifference are spreading. How many of our brothers and sisters, he added, are victims of today’s throwaway culture, which breeds contempt above all towards the unborn, the young and the elderly!
As Christians, the Pope said, we cannot simply stand by, closing our doors and our ears to the cry of the poor. Instead, he said, our families need to become ever more evident signs of God’s love, witnessing to the fact that people count more than things, that who we are is more important than what we possess.
Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ address to residents of the House of Charity in Nalukolongo, Kampala on Saturday 28th November 2015
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!)
|All the contents on this site are copyrighted ©.|