The Catholic Church has revealed that Pope Francis will not be visiting Uganda this year, the Nile Post has learnt.
The Pope had been expected to Uganda in July after being invited by African bishops under their umbrella body, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).
However, in a press statement released on February 21, the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) said they r have been informed that the Catholic Church leader will not be able to attend the conference scheduled for July.
“The office of the President of Uganda has officially communicated to the Ugandan Episcopal Conference that the Holy Father will not be able to attend the symposium,” reads in part the statement by UEC’s Secretary General, Msgr John Kauta.
The Pontiff’s visit that was scheduled for late July and was to coincide with SECAM’s long year golden jubilee celebrations launched last year.
The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar came into existence after a meeting by African bishops in 1969 in Kampala, following a resolution by the Vatican Council to have a structure that would bring together Catholic Churches in Kampala and Pope Paul VI presided over its inauguration.
Pope Francis’ visit was therefore going to be a big occasion as over 400 Bishops are set to gather to mark 50 years of SECAM.
The Uganda Episcopal Conference has however in the statement said the 50 year celebrations will continue as scheduled, despite the Pontiff’s absence.
“The opening mass for the climax of the celebrations will be held on July 28, 2019 at Uganda Martyrs Catholic Shrine in Namugongo,”said Msgr Kauta.
“We are expecting over 400 bishops from all the Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar.”
The current Pope last visited Uganda in November 2015.