Pope Francis to make first visit to Africa

Vatican City, June 19 (IANS/AKI) Pope Francis will visit the Central African Republic and Uganda from November 27 to 29 , according to a Vatican calendar made public on Friday. The visit will be the first made to Africa by the pontiff.

Francis said last week he would visit Africa “God willing” to mark the 50th anniversary of 50 Ugandan martyrs.

He was referring to Christian converts who were murdered for their faith from 1885-1887 by the King of Buganda, Uganda’s largest traditional kingdom, after they refused to offer sacrifices to the traditional gods.

“God willing, I will be in Africa in the month of November, in the Central African Republic and then in Uganda — even if this is still just a possibility,” Francis told a gathering of priests at the Vatican.

In the Central African Republic, Roman Catholics and Protestants each account for about 25 percent of the population.

Uganda has a large Christian majority with Roman Catholics and Protestants making up 41.9 percent and 42 percent of the population respectively.

The 50 Ugandan Anglican and Roman Catholic converts were canonised at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome by Pope Paul VI on October 18, 1964.

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