Pope Francis’ road map for the faith? Serve the poor.

1 Pope Francis addresses residents and staff at the House of Charity near Kampala, Uganda. | Screenshot/CTV

The world is marked by growing indifference, but Christians cannot forget Christ's call to serve the poor, Pope Francis stressed in his speech this afternoon at the House of Charity in Nalukolongo, Uganda.

"I appeal to all parishes and communities in Uganda – and the rest of Africa – not to forget the poor. Not to forget the poor!" the Pope repeated. "The Gospel commands us to go out to the peripheries of society, and to find Christ in the suffering and those in need."

"The Lord tells us, in no uncertain terms, that is what he will judge us on!"

Pope Francis said indifference and selfishness are spreading in many parts of the world. He lamented a growing throwaway culture, which he said victimizes the unborn, the young, and the elderly. He also decried human trafficking and neglect of the elderly.

So how can Christians respond to this growing culture of indifference? Parishes and families can open their doors and hearts to the poor, the Pope said.

"This is the royal road of Christian discipleship," he said. "Our families need to become ever more evident signs of God's patient and merciful love, not only for our children and elders, but for all those in need. Our parishes must not close their doors, or their ears, to the cry of the poor."

"In this way we show that people count more than things. That who we are is more important than what we possess. In this way we bear witness to the Lord who came not to be served, but to serve."

The House of Charity is located in Nalukolongo, a suburb of Uganda's capital Kampala. It was founded in 1978 to serve the poor, sick, and disabled. Today, it has more than 100 residents from Uganda and neighboring nations. The House of Charity is run by the Good Samaritan Sisters, whom Pope Francis commended in his address for their "years of quiet and joyful service in this apostolate."

"This is a place which has always been associated with the Church's outreach to the poor, the handicapped, the sick," the Pope said. "This is a home. Here you can find love and care; here you can feel the presence of Jesus, our brother, who loves each of us with God's own love."

The Pope then entrusted the House of Charity and its residents to Mary's loving protection and promised his own prayers for the ministry's continued service to the poor and witness to the Christian faith.

"By simple gestures, by simple prayerful actions which honor Christ in the least of his brothers and sisters, we can bring the power of his love into our world, and truly change it." 

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