Pope’s visit brought unity, say clergy

Kampala - Religious leaders have hailed the Pope’s visit, saying it brought unity among different denominations as well as infrastructure development in the country.

The clergy said the visit saw leaders from different denominations join hands to support the redevelopment of the Catholic Martyrs Shrine and the Anglican Martyrs’ Museum in Namugongo. Muslims, Anglicans and Catholics all took part in the preparations.

“The Pope’s visit brought people together and the collaboration between the Catholics, Protestants and Muslims was amazing. A Muslim donated the cross at the blessed lake to us free of charge and the shrine fencing was done by Muslims,” said the Rev Fr Vicent Lubega, the vicar of Namugongo Shrine.

Government hailed

Fr Lubega also hailed government for its support towards the Pope’s visit.

“Government has never been more involved in church matter than this time; it gave financial support for the renovation of the shrine and the UPDF, supervised by Brig Timothy Sabiti, made sure security was to the maximum,” he added.

Rev Esau Bbosa Kimanje, the assistant vicar of the Namugongo Anglican Museum, noted that they had always requested government to work on the road leading to the place but that it was reluctant until the coming of the Holy Father.

“Our place was not as developed as it is now, we had a long term programme of the museum construction since we were short of funds and even the road leading there was in bad shape but government funded us to prepare for the papal visit which we used to develop our museum,” said Rev Kimanje.

Mr Enock Rukundo, the site manager, Uganda Martyrs Museum, Namugongo, said the visit will make the museum famous.

“The Pope’s visit enabled government to come in and we were given Shs1.5b towards developing this place in preparation since it is the martyrs that brought the Pope,” Mr Rukundo said. “In return, the Pope’s visit to the museum gave us publicity which has boosted tourism in this museum,” he added.

Reaction to Pope's visit

“Business was thriving. Any material or item that had the Pope’s face or name was easily

bought even up to now. Rosaries were sold most because believers wanted their rosaries to be blessed by the Pope,” Catherine Nakijjo, vendor.

“I’m happy the Holy Father visited Africa and I am gladly taking back the Pope’s message of kindness, peace and loving God to my fellow citizens in South Sudan,” Alleluyah Peter, South Sudanese pilgrim

“Though the road from Kyaliwajjala to Nakiyanja was blocked, we managed to work and indeed business was booming. The day ended when we were happy with the earnings.,” Denis Kigonya, boda boda cyclist

“Pilgrims were many yet the entrance gate was one. So it was an inconvenience but since we had back-up from UPDF and police, security was managed,” Francis Agenonga, security officer

Source: Monitor