New Vision (Kampala)

13 December 2012

Uganda: Speaker Kadaga Receives Blessings From Pope

Vatican — Pope Benedict XVI has given blessings to Uganda Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga during a mass attended by thousands of pilgrims at the Vatican.

Kadaga who led a delegation of Ugandan legislators to the Vatican expressed delight at meeting the Pope and visiting St Peter's Basilicca.

"I think this is a moment that cannot be repeated. We have been reading about him, hearing stories about St.Peter's Basilica but now we are here physically.

"I think it is something that I will remember all my life. It's a very great moment and I thank God for this opportunity," she said minutes after meeting the Pope.

The Speaker dedicated to all Ugandans readings from the book of St.Mark which the Pope quoted in several languages during the Vatican mass.

She handed over to the Pope a portrait of the Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo, a historical place where Christians were murdered because of their allegiance to their faith.

MPs Paula Turyahikayo, Elijah Okupa, Abdu Katuntu, Betti Amongi, and Chris Baryomunsi who accompanied the Speaker were also delighted by the golden moment, noting that their faith had been renewed by the Pope's blessings.

MP Abdu Katuntu - a Muslim - called the Vatican visit one of his most memorable moments.

"For a Muslim like me, this has been a very exciting experience to be in the Holy See and attending mass with the Holy Father," he said. "This is an experience to remember."

During the service, the Pope launched his Twitter account and sent his first message in several languages to millions of online followers.

"Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart," the Pope wrote.

The Ugandan delegation was in Rome to attend the 7th Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the International Criminal Court and the World Parliamentary Conference on Human Rights.

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