Relive the build-up to Pope Francis'' coming to Uganda, plus the moments when he finally set foot on Ugandan soil.
Presented by Joseph Kizza
9.00pm That's it here
OK, good people, Pope Francis is finally in Uganda and already, we have seen him at State House and then at Munyonyo. Another long day awaits him on Saturday but for now, he heads to the Nunciature in Mbuya for a night's rest.
So that's it from me here today. Thanks for the company and be sure to catch me again tomorrow, same place. Good night!
8.45pm Gifts for Pope
Moments after, the Pope receives gifts from the cathecists, including a sculpure of St. Andrew Kaggwa, a martyr. He also waters a ecumenical (unity) tree, as a gesture towards bringing all the religious denominations in the country together.
When that's done, the Pope walks down the steps the larger sculpture of St. Kaggwa to say a short prayer.
8.45pm 'Omukama abawe omukisa'
Pope Francis says the Uganda martyrs testify to the truth that sets men free. "We stand here today in Munyonyo where King Mwanga was determined to wipe out the face of Christianity, just like King Herod was determined to kill Jesus Christ shortly after his birth."
"I ask all you catechists to pray for me and to ask your children to pray for me.
"Omukama abawe omukisa," concludes the Pope, asking God to bless everyone.
8.40pm 'Yours is holy work'
"I greet you with affection in the name of Jesus Christ," says the Pope, through a translator.
"Jesus is our first and our greatest teacher. I know that your work, although rewarding, is not easy. I urge you to persevere . . .Yours is a holy work.
"The holy Spirit is present everywhere the name of Christ is proclaimed."
The Pope adds that the Christian community in Uganda grew strong through the martyrs.
8.30pm Pope Francis Road
"The blood of the Uganda Martyrs is shed on this soil," says the archbishop, who says that the Pope's coming to Uganda shows the unity and oneness of the Catholic Church all over the world.
Infact, after wishing that the road leading to the Munyonyo Martyrs' shrine be named after the Pope, Lwanga says that Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) allowed them to name the road Pope Francis Road.
"We are eagerly awaiting your message of peace and love," concludes Lwanga, before welcoming the Pope to come forward and speak.
8.20pm 'Your presence here of great significance'
The Archbishop of Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga tells Pope Francis that his appearance at Munyonyo martyrs' shrine is "of great significance".
"We are very grateful to God for you to come to Uganda and mostly to here in Munyonyo," he says.
"We are very grateful for the assistance you have accorded to the cathecists of Uganda through the bishops here."
8.15pm Pope arrives at Munyonyo
7.40pm Large crowd awaits Pope at Munyonyo
Meanwhile, some 23 couples are expecting Pope Francis to bless their marriages at Munyonyo Shrine. Also, crowds are holding lit candles as they await Pope Francis. Ndere Troupe is also putting up a performance . . .
7.20pm Munyonyo next
With the formalities at Entebbe done, Pope Francis, who has practically been up and about the whole day, is now en route to Munyonyo where he will be hold a mass as well as meet catechists and teachers there.
Later, after there, he will finally retire to the Nunciature in Mbuya for a well-deserved rest ahead of another long day.
6.50pm 'Mungu awabariki'
"I hope to encourage and give hope to the sick and elderly," says the Pope in front of an attentive audience inside the State House Conference Hall.
It's a brief speech, and ahead of a busy schedule on Saturday, the soft-spoken Pope moments later concludes his address by wishing Uganda God's blessing in Kiswahili: "Mungu awabariki".
6.50pm 'Concern for refugees'
Here in East Africa, Uganda has shown outstanding concern for welcoming refugees," says Pope Francis, who makes it clear that "justice and reconciliation brings me here today and to help one another".
"My visit to your country is first to commemorate the canonisation of Uganda martyrs," says the Pope.
6.40pm 'A continent of hope'
Speaking about his African trip, the Pope tells his audience that his visit is "meant to draw attention to Africa as a whole, its hopes, struggles and achievements" that make a "continent of hope". He also points out that Uganda has been "blessed by God with abundant natural resources, with strong families, the young and the elderly", and says that the "young people of this nation" should be presented with opportinuties.
Ahead of his meeting the youth on Saturday at Kololo airstrip, the 78-year-old pontiff says he looks forward to meeting with them.
6.35pm 'I am happy to be in Uganda'
President Museveni invites Pope Francis to address dignitaries after introducing the dignitaries present, among whom is Mama Nyerere.
"I am happy to be in Uganda," says the Pope.
6.15pm Pope at State House
The Holy Father is now at State House Entebbe. He is in a meeting with President Museveni, the First Lady and other few selected people. Thereafter, he will be led into the State House Conference Hall to address the dignitaries already seated waiting there.
By the way, remember that the Pope is in Uganda to mark the 50th anniversary of the canonisation of the Uganda Martyrs by Pope Paul VI (who was the first to come to Uganda in 1969) in 1964. The 22 Catholic converts were executed on the orders of Kabaka (Buganda king) Mwanga after refusing to tod enounce their faith.
5.50pm 'You are welcome'
When Pope Francis arrives at Entebbe Airport, he greets a long queue of a Uganda delegation that have come to receive him. He is also introduced to the Ministers and Catholic church leaders.
Moments later, the pontiff is ushered into the VVIP (Very Very Important Persons) lounge at the airport.
5.50pm At Entebbe airport
Shepherd One, the pope's plane
5.30pm Pope greets bishops
5.25pm President Museveni receives Pope
President Museveni, flanked by the First Lady Janet Museveni, and joined by others, welcome Pope Francis
A 21-gun salute for the Pope . . . as the anthems are played
5.05pm Pope Francis arrives in Uganda
At exactly 5.03pm local time, Shepherd One, carrying Pope Francis, kisses the runway at Entebbe.
Welcome to the Pearl of Africa Holy Father!
4.40pm All set at State House
All is set at State House in Entebbe as Pope Francis braces to set foot on Ugandan soil for the first ever. Two others of his kind have been here before . . .
I can't but reiterate that Uganda is the only African nation to host THREE popes.
4.40pm Warming up . . .
Energetic scenes at Entebbe airport as Uganda awaits Pope Francis' arrival. He will be here any time from now.
4.25pm Did you walk?
Vision Group last month organised two papal walks; one in Kampala, from Kololo to Namugongo and another in Mbarara, from the Uganda Martyrs Church to Nyamitanga Cathedral. This was meant ot fundraise money for the revamping of the maryrs' shrines.
Among those who walked was Vision Group chief executive Robert Kabushenga, Buganda Kingdom premier Charles Peter Mayiga, KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi, and several others.
All those efforts have come down to this very important time of Uganda's existence . . .
4.20pm Kenya . . . done and dusted!
On his landmark African schedule, the Pope can now tick off Kenya. Next: Uganda.
The Holy Father is expected to preside over a 9am mass at the martyrs' shrine at Namugongo on Saturday after a sojourn at the Anglican Shrine.
4.10pm Pope Francis departs from Kenya
4.00pm Pope 'man of the people'
"Pope Francis is a man of the people," says the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali.
"He loves working with other religions. He is the head of the Roman Catholics worldwide. So, his coming to Uganda is a pastoral visit. He will pray for Uganda, the people of Uganda, and strengthen our ecumenical spirit."
Ntagali has therefore called on Anglicans to turn up in big numbers to welcome the Pope later today.
The Archbishop will be among the very important persons (VIPs) delegation to welcome the pontiff, who has just flown out Nairobi aboard Shepherd One after a two-day visit there. Ntagali says all religious leaders are expected at the Uganda Martyrs' shrines in Namugongo at 7am local time on Saturday.
3.50pm Meanwhile, South Sudan president arrives at Entebbe . . .
President Salva Kiira of South Sudan is in the country ahead of the Pope's visit. Meanwhile, Shepherd One, the Holy Father's plane, is rolling on the JKIA runway, and in no time, the mighty iron bird, emblazoned with the Alitalia logo, will be airborne.
3.45pm Bye bye Kenya!
3.30pm At Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Kenya bids Pope Francis farewell . . .
The Vatican and Kenyan flags on the Pope's plane . . .
Pope Francis, flanked by President Uhuru Kenyatta emerge from the airport . . .
Anthems are sung . . .
3.20pm Pitching camp at Entebbe
As Pope Francis prepares to leave JKIA in Nairobi, across the skies at Entebbe International Airport, where he will land a few hours from now, journalists are getting their notebooks, pens, cameras, recorders, etc, ready for his arrival. It's a very important day for Ugandans . . .
Are you planning on catching a glimpse of the Pope? Where will you be stationed?
3.00pm Seen this place before?
Can you guess what or where this place is? . . . anyone?
OK, enough of the guesses already! You are looking at a beautifully lit Namugongo martyrs' shrine where Pope Francis will lead a Mass on Saturday.
2.50pm Nalukolongo set
I mentioned earlier that Nalukolongo is part of the Pope's schedule in Uganda. There, he will meet the needy people, according to Bishop Joseph Franzelli of Lira Diocese.
The early morning rain did not come in the way of preparations to have the place set for the pontiff's planned visit there . . .
2.40pm Ready for take-off
Tighten your seatbelts Ugandans, for Pope Francis is set to depart from Kenya and make his way here. A farewell ceremony is underway at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Shepherd One, the Pope's plane, is rolled on the runway and ready to hit the East African skies.
2.30pm 'I am lucky'
New Vision photojournalist Peter Busomoke saw the two popes who have previously come to Uganda – Paul VI (1969) and John Paul II (1993).
For the first visit, Busomoke was still a student and not yet a journalist.
And 24 years later when Pope John Paul II arrived in Uganda, he was a working as freelance photographer also with BBC magazine Focus on Africa. Around the time of the Holy Father's visit, his wife delivered a boy and they named him after the pontiff – John Paul. Today, Busomoke’s son has just completed his university studies and, just like his father, hopes to see Pope Francis.
On his part, Busomoke will be on duty in Nalukolongo, where the Pope will meet the needy. He says he can’t wait to see yet another pope on home soil.
2.00pm Looking back . . .
Kenya will bid Pope Francis farewell as he prepares to fly out from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport any time with his next destination: Uganda.
Let's take a look back at some of the pictures from the Pope's visit in Kenya . . .
1.40pm Papal culinary delight
Had lunch yet? Feeling like connecting with the Pope via your taste buds?
Well, Café Arabica, a popular breakfast and dinner spot for tourists and corporate class in Mbale is today serving only ‘Vatican dishes’ in honor of the pope’s visit to Uganda, says New Vision journalist David Oduut.
And according to Chef Sam Matanda, it is a special way for Mbale people to identify with the Pope much as they were unable to meet the pontiff face-to-face.
“Already our customers are feeling holy when they are served with the Vatican meals and it’s a special way of thanking the pope for visiting Uganda,” says Matanda, who wishes he had gotten a chance to serve these meals to Pope Francis himself.
12.40pm Where will the Pope be?
Perhaps that's the question that's pacing in your inside. Worry not though, I've got you covered . . .
Today, President Museveni and the Holy Father will mingle for a couple minutes in the Presidential Lounge at the airport, while the members of the papal entourage will precede the Pope to the State House in Entebbe.
Later in the evening, the Pope will visit Munyonyo, and according to state minister Kabwegyere, the event will be purely pastoral and open to the public. Note that Munyonyo is the site where some martyrs were killed, including St. Andrew Kaggwa, the patron of catechists in Uganda.
While there, the Pope will bless a newly constructed martyrs’ shrine at Munyonyo and greet the catechists and teachers who will be gathered there.
On Saturday, at the Basilica in Namugongo, some 3,780 invited guests are scheduled to attend. Out of these, 1,300 are Government officials, whereas the rest of the guests are clerics.
Namugongo will also be open to the public. The Basilica is open to the public today starting noon and closed on Saturday at 6am to allow the members settle down.
Kololo Independence Grounds, where the Pope will meet the youth, will be open on Friday at 5pm and closed on Saturday at 6am.
In Nalukolongo, where the Holy Father will be meeting the needy, no invitations will be given to members of the public.
“We, however, encourage you to line up along the way to welcome the Pope,” said Bishop Joseph Franzelli of Lira Diocese.
12.15pm Receiving the Pope
Meanwhile, a total of 1,000 members of the public have been listed to receive Pope Francis when he touches down at Entebbe International Airport today at 5pm local time.
These people, according to state minister for general duties Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, were mobilised by the Church and will be transported to the airport using communal transport. He told a press conference mid-this week that both VVIPs and other selected members of the public shall be transported in appropriate local transport and the ceremony at the airport will not exceed 25 minutes.
12.05pm More VVIPs . . .
Also on the VVIP list is Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Chief Justice Bert Katureebe, and Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the minister of foreign affairs, the minister in charge of the presidency as well as the minister for general duties.
Apostolic Nuncio (Pope's ambassador to Uganda), Michael Blume is also on this list which further includes the head of public service and secretary to Cabinet, three service chiefs, 30 local Catholic bishops and five Church of Uganda bishops.
President Yoweri Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni are part of the 47 'very very important persons (VVIPs) who will be part of Pope Francis' official welcome party.
Oh, and just in case you are wondering . . . no, the Pope is not yet in Uganda.
That picture you see up there was taken last year in Vatican when President Museveni and his wife met the Pope. During their visit, the Holy Father gave the Ugandan leader a Faith and Social Development book as the First Lady looked on.
11.30am 'We are one nation'
Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani is packed as Pope Francis addresses thousands of youth.
"Let us stand up and hold hands as a sign against division," urges the Pope.
"We are one nation. This is not just raising our hands, it is a stand against tribalism. Overcoming tribalism is a daily endeavor. It is a work of the ear, heart and hand."
11.15am On standby: 38 ambulances
The ministry of health has deployed over 400 health personnel and 38 ambulances to handle emergencies that may arise during the Pope's visit.
The experts will be deployed at Entebbe Airport, Munyonyo, Nakiyanja, Nalukolongo, Namugongo, Kololo and Rubaga.
"We have stocked enough medicines and supplies to treat those who may fall sick," says health minister Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye.
Read full story here
11.00am One man, one continent, three nations
Pope Francis, on a landmark visit to Africa, is wrapping up the first leg of his trip in Kenya, where he has been since his arrival there on Wednesday . . .
He will then come to Uganda today, and stay until Sunday . . .
Before concluding a tight travel schedule in the Central African Republic . . .and fly back to Rome on Monday.
10.45am All set
Pope Francis has arrived at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani in Kenya's capital nairobi to a huge welcome by youths that have gathered there to meet him. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his wife Margaret are also in attendance.
Meanwhile, across the border, here in Uganda, the stage is set for the Pope's coming. Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine is ready to host the Pontiff.
10.35am Plan your day accordingly
10.25am Caught the Pope fever yet?
I bet you have. It's one fever that's very contagious, I should say. Some have prefered to dub it 'Pope-mania'.
Well, like I mentioned earlier (see entry 9.28am), the local media is awash with everything Pope. The leader of the 1.25 billion-strong global Roman Catholic Church is trending online, on TVs, on radios and in newspapers. Donal Cronin, takes to Twitter to show you just how.
Uganda awaits his coming . . .
10.10am Did you know . . .
. . . that before beginning seminary studies, Pope Francis (years ago), worked briefly as a a chemical technologist, a bar bouncer and as a janitor sweeping floors?
10.00am On the move
The 78-year-old pope packed his bags and left Rome Wednesday morning destined for a three-nation African trip to Kenya, Uganda and the Central Africa Republic (CAR). He departs from Kenya today, with Uganda as his next stop until Sunday, after which he will wrap up his African trip in CAR.
9.45am 'The Lord never forgets you'
Pope Francis has been known to pay a lot of attention on the poor, and he has recently said that the Roman Catholic Church must humbly serve the poorest in society. The Argentine-born pontiff has said he wants today's Catholic Church to resemble Francis of Assisi's "Church of the poor".
So it's not surprise that he included a visit to the slum neighbourhood of Kangemi. And during the Mass he has led there, he has urged the community to remain strong even in the face of poverty, as Kenyan paper Daily Nation tweets . . .
9.35am What the papers say
Bukedde, Uganda's most popular vernacular newspaper, splashes a lovely picture of a smiling Pope Francis as its lead . . .
9.28am What the papers say
Of course East Africans are absorbing the news of the pontiff's visit to the region. He is on a tight three-nation African trip. So with the Holy Father jetting in Uganda later today, what are the papers saying?
No prizes for guessing what the front pages are saying . . .
New Vision welcomes the pontiff in a special way . . .
9.25am In Kangemi
Pope Francis kicked off his African trip in Kenya. As Ugandans warm up for the Pope's arrival this evening, right now he is in Kangemi, a slum village in Nairobi where the Catholic Church leader is leading a mass at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church.
9.10am Record three-time host
Not many popes have visited Africa. In fact, Francis becomes only the third pope to land on the continent in recent memory.
Pope Paul VI slapped on a hat as he stepped out of an East African Airways plane at Entebbe when he became the first pope to set foot in Africa by visiting Uganda in 1969.
Twenty-four years later, Pope John Paul II came to Uganda, during his long papacy in which he visited as many as 42 countries on the continent.
And now, 22 years on, Uganda hosts yet another pope, thrusting the East African nation – dubbed the ‘Pearl of Africa’ by Sir Winston Churchill – into a unique position of being the only African nation to host three different popes.
9.00am Good morning
Hello and welcome ladies and gentlemen to live text commentary, pictures and updates as Pope Francis makes his first Ugandan visit.
When clouds of white smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on the night of March 13, 2013, the Catholic world finally breathed a huge sigh of relief. A new pope had been chosen to replace Pope Benedict XVI, whose resignation the previous month had stunned the whole Church.
And with all eyes across the world fixed on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica that Wednesday late evening, out finally emerged Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the newly elected pope . . . Pope Francis, we would get to know him as.
It’s nearly three years since and this very man will emerge out of Shepherd One, the pope’s plane, and set foot – for the first time – on Ugandan soil, since ascending to the papacy.
As it happened: Pope Francis in Uganda