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Pope Francis in Uganda – Day 3, Central African Republic – Day 1

This morning at approximately 9 o’clock, a farewell ceremony was held at the Entebbe airport (full video) and Pope Francis then departed by airplane to Bangui, Central African Republic. Also, as he traveled, he sent greetings to various heads of state of the nations he flew over (full text).

After less than three hours in the air, Pope Francis touched down at the M’poko international airport in Bangui. He was greeted there by head of State, Catherine Samba-Panza, and the Papal Nuncio, Mons. Franco Coppola, as well as other officials. Pope Francis and Ms. Samba-Panza also had a brief meeting in the presidential lounge of the airport.

Pope Francis then traveled to the Presidential Palace where him and the Papal Entourage met with Ms. Samba-Panza and other officials, Pope Francis and Ms. Samba-Panza exchanged gifts, and Pope Francis addressed a gathering of diplomats there (full text).

Afterwards, Pope Francis traveled to the Refugee Camp set up in the parish of St. Sauveur, which houses about a thousand displaced people, and addressed them (more details, full text, full video, summary video). Following that, Pope Francis traveled to the Apostolic Nunciature in Bangui where he met the Bishops of the Central African Republic.

In the afternoon, he went by car to Faculty of Evangelical Theology in Bangui (FATEB) where he met with and addressed approximately 400 representatives of the Evangelical Community of the Central African Republic (full text).

After the meeting, Pope Francis made a brief stop at a pediatric hospital Bangui where he met some children and left a gift of medicines.

Next he traveled to Bangui’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception for Mass with priests, religious, catechists and young people, and to open of the Holy Door there to begin the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Central African Republic. To begin the Jubilee Year, he spoke a salutation in front of the Holy Door (full text), and during the Mass for this first Sunday of Advent, he gave a homily (full text, full video, summary video).

After Mass, Pope Francis went out into the Churchyard and administered the sacrament of reconciliation to some girls and boys gathered there, and addressed them (full text given, full text prepared, summary video). Afterwards, Pope Francis gave a final blessing and returned to the apostolic nunciature for the night.

As well today, Pope Francis sent three tweets:

I come to the Central African Republic as a pilgrim of peace and as an apostle of hope. (link)

Where there is violence and hatred, Christians are called to witness to the God who is Love. (link)

The Jubilee Year of Mercy reminds us that God is waiting for us with open arms, just like the father of the prodigal son. (link)

Also of note from Pope Francis’ visit to Bangui, 4,000 boys and girls scouts helped cordon-off almost all the routes Pope Francis took.

And that’s the Pope Francis news for the day!