Jinja Diocese Family Day

On 23rd November 2014 Jinja diocese celebrated its family day while the universal Church celebrated Christ the King. On this occasion, the Bishop of Jinja Diocese, HIs Lordship Charles Martin Wamika officially closed the year of Mary and solemnly inaugurated the year dedicated for consecrated life. The day was colourful and the whole diocese was in the festive mood. In that memorable day, since it was the official opening of the year for consecrated life, all religious congregations which have communities in the diocese of Jinja were asked to use this occasion for vocation promotion by putting up stalls for exposing materials which can explain the congregation, its charism, and life-style.

We also used this chance to explain about our Order to those who came to visit our stall and to promote vocation. Many youth benefited from us and we hope for good number of vocations from Jinja Diocese.

Stall

A Reflection on the Synod of Bishops on the Family 2014

The two-week long Synod on the family, convened by Pope Francis last year, ended last Sunday (Oct 19, 2014). The Synod was convened to discuss the “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” The Preparatory Document described the purpose of the Synod “to define the current situation and to collect the bishops’ experiences and proposals in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the Family in a credible manner.” The working document also invited ordinary Catholics in the pew to send in their reflections and assured them that the Synod “will thoroughly examine and analyze the information, testimonies and recommendations received [from them] to respond to the new challenges of the family.”
As the discussion of the Synod revealed, the issues and current situation [contexts] included for discussion were varied and complex. On the one hand, the context is the place and role of traditional families. Many people surely find themselves very blessed to be in traditional families. On the other hand, as the Synod’s final message said, enfeebled faith, indifference to true values, individualism, impoverishment of relationships, stress, children with special needs, aging, poverty, migration, and violence continue to exert immense pressure on families. The context is also a large number of divorced and remarried Catholics who find themselves excluded from the internal life of the Church. The issue is further complicated by the process of annulment, which, in reality, is meant to uphold the inviolable bond of marriage. However, what is meant to uphold something positive can also become a cumbersome process. Perhaps even more complex is the issue of the definition of marriage. The very traditional definition of marriage as a monogamous life-long covenant between a man and a woman is in question.
The Synod published a final report and it will function as a working document for the 2015 Synod. Meanwhile, the midterm report that was released raised major controversy. Of course, the media focused on the hot-button issues such as communion for divorced, remarried Catholics and homosexuality. The three; the divorced, the separated and homosexual debate took centre stage. Forgotten in the dark was the aspect of Polygamy that is a challenge to Christian marriage especially in sub-Saharan Africa. However, from the big-picture perspective much more was accomplished. In this reflection, it is my intention to focus on the great accomplishments of this Synod, and also see its implications for the complex issues that confront the 21st century family.
1. Two Theologies at Work. Apart from the hotly debated topics, it was the methodology adopted for the discussion that was truly interesting. Theologically, there are two primary approaches to any issue – the first approach is ‘theology from above’ and the other, ‘theology from below.’ The starting point for ‘theology from above’ is doctrine. In this approach people begin by asking, “What does Scripture and tradition say about the family?” Once that is ascertained, the emphasis is on ensuring that families can live up to the ideal that doctrine reveals to us. In this approach, the emphasis is on preserving the doctrine and preventing the new context from diluting doctrine. Those who are faithful to the doctrine find themselves in communion with the Church and others either must find ways to comply, or find themselves excluded from communion. ‘Theology from below’ has a different starting point. Doctrines are still of primary importance, but the starting point is different. The starting point is the context within which people and families find themselves, either because of their own choices or simply because life and relationships are complex realities. In this approach, doctrines are ideals that God has set before us. We are all obliged to unflinchingly strive toward them. As we all strive toward the same ideal, different people are at different points. Some of us have traditional families and thank God for that. Thus, the final message from the Synod upheld and celebrated the value of traditional families as “a gift, a grace expressed.” But not everybody is there. Divorce, remarriage, denial of annulment, long and expensive annulment process, same-sex orientation – these are complex issues. As with the theology of Vatican II, Pope Francis clearly seems to be taking ‘theology from below’ approach in understanding the family and human life in general. He wants to see those who either struggle with sin or find it impossible to comply to be accepted, welcomed, and loved like Christ did in his compassion and mercy.( Luke 15:2) This seems a challenge to long held doctrine which presents these family issues as grave evils. That makes some folks very insecure about the stability and future of the Church. Perhaps, they are justified. Thus in his final address to the Synod, the Pope asked the “traditionalists to avoid both the temptation to “hostile inflexibility” and the liberals to avoid the temptation to “deceptive mercy.” To solve the two extremes at the synod i would propose the adoption of equiprobabiliorism moral system that St. Alpohonsus Liguori brought in theology,the theory that strikes a balance between the laxists(liberals) and the rigorists(conservatists). Despite the whole debate polygamy never appeared. People in parts of Africa still do not know what to do with their plural wives whom they have been with for many years,have children and are unable to dispose off. The traditional pastoral approach Christianity presents;chosing one wife while making others ‘sister wives’ ‘and wed her is unpractical due to the complexities that surround customary marriage.
2. The Conversation. There is fear in some quarters that Pope Francis is attempting to change the aged old doctrines on marriage. Nothing is farther from the truth because he has no powers to do so, not even the whole college of Bishops can do so, because divine law does not change. The fact remains that the medieval infallibility of the pope does not count in the present age. Petrine ministry is stronger when decisions are taken in a college, council or synod. However, Pope Francis is clearly changing the conversation. In fact, I am arguing he is changing the conversation about the conversation. The discussion at the Synod was clearly an example of this. First let me talk about the conversation. In Sept 2013, Catholics in the pew were invited to offer their reflections, hopes, aspirations and concerns about the family in preparation for the Synod. This allowed ordinary people like you and me to influence the discussion at the Synod. No wonder, then, those even contentious issues like divorce, the annulment process and others, found a place in the conversation about the family. But then, Pope Francis was not only changing the conversation but he was also changing the conversation about the conversation. He invited all sides in this conversation to speak openly and fearlessly about the issues that the family faces. He was not afraid to bring the different approaches and theologies to the floor for discussion. He asked for transparency. Moreover, even as people debated and deliberated passionately about the complex issues facing the family, he saw in the very conversation the unity of the Church. At the closing speech at the Synod, he confidently said, “Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not….” Unity does not mean uniformity, for him. Rather, unity at the Synod meant that in total openness to the Holy Spirit, the participants can frankly, fearlessly and transparently talk about the issues that need the reflection of the church. Again in his final speech it is with great pride that he confessed, “I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.” It is Pope Francis’ conviction that in these conversations, the Holy Spirit will reveals God’s will for today’s church in today’s world.
Let us agree that Pope Francis seems more to represent a break from the previous popes, a liberal and media friendly. Clearly, in his style, Francis’s focus and emphasis is on pastoral care other than doctrinal. To me, what we need is both a break and continuity with the previous Popes, both pastoral care and doctrinal. But in many other ways he is similar and different to the most recent Popes – Pope John XXIII a well known reformer resulted in Vatican II, Pope Paul VI a Pope who wished Africans to be their own missionaries. John Paul II a pope of the family, a pro-life advocate and Benedict XVI a scholarly pope of Christian unity and of the Latin tradition. However, both believe that “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. To me Pope Francis ‘erred’ by subjecting divine law to a vote. The meaning and ends of marriage are by natural law and by logic clearly defined in Scripture, Tradition and Social Teachings like Costi Connubi,Canon Law and Catechism.

Fr. Natukunda Robin OSM (23/11/2014)

THE CHRISTIAN AROMA

MaryThe seed of the seven holy men drew together by their love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary spread its branches to shelter the servants of Mary in the whole world. The mother of God is the Christian aroma that young men and women need in this troubled world. She holds the flames of light to all believers yearning to be closer to Christ. I willed to be closer to the heart of Jesus. As I drew closer, I realized that, to draw nearer, I had to pass through his mother. Walking through my childhood memories, I trace the root of my vocation. Ladies in our Christian community would gather at home every Sunday to pray the rosary. I would always be charged with reading the litany of our lady and continued with the spirit at school taking on n different responsibilities as the liturgy minister, consequently, the desire to serve Mary takes course.
The moment we experience God’s call, He will always bring us back to himself. After my A-level, I joined university and part timing at Rene pharmaceutical industries. It seemed like religious vocation had twisted its course. However, after my first year, there was an irresistible desire for religious life after a talk with one of the seminarians in the order of the servants of Mary. When my classmates at the university leant of it, I was ridiculed and many thought that I was bewitched. This is common today as people tend to lose the sense and value of religion but I chose to serve God in the order of Servants of Mary, and as an aspirant, I have always looked at Mary as the aroma of my life.
I have experienced the care and love of mother Mary from child hood. She has constantly provided parental care and love. In Mary, the source of justice and comforter of the afflicted, I have always sought solace. In fact I felt her inspiring presence as a postulant at kisoga. The night before I was diagnosed with Diabetes; I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, recited the prayer of Hail Mary three times for I was terrified about life and thought my vocation could come to a halt. Living as a diabetic and being accepted in the order of servants of Mary, seems a clear answer to my prayer and the presence of Mary in my response to God’s call. We can have different experience but we can all agree that Mary has never abandoned those who seek her intercession.
Today as ever Mary is the Christian aroma. She is the model of Christian discipleship, in her obedience: Mary is our role model. In this regard, mother Mary, did not only obey the call of God to be the mother of Jesus Christ, but also of Joseph her spouse. She willingly accepted the request of her son at the cross to take John as her son, she who believed from the beginning, invites you and I to say YES, I will follow you Lord. Brothers and sisters, this is the time to discover and realize God’s mission in your lives. It could be that He wants you to serve him in the order of the servants of Mary. Take time to witness the discipleship of our Lady and have a personal experience of the Christian aroma.

By Mubiru Joseph
Mpumudde – kiwa mirembe

SILVER JUBILEE OF BALIKUDDEMBE CATHOLIC PARISH

ST .JOSEPH MUKASA BALIKUDDEMBE CATHOLIC PARISH KISOGA

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Kisoga Parish made appositive scar of celebrating 25years in existence, thanks be to God! It is well noted that Servite Missionaries came to Uganda in a year of 1987. As servants of Mary, they do work in the spirituality of Mary. However, the Parish was started on 29/01/1989 under the Servite missionaries. Specifically, FR. BENEDICT BIAGIOLI was abundantly thanked for the great and memorable work he did.

Coming back to the celebration of silver jubilee, it was celerabrated on Sunday 9/11/2014. It began with holy mass animated by RT. RV. MATHIAS SSEKAMANYA the Bishop of Lugazi Diocese. Many priests were noticed during procession that is, Msgr. Richard Kayondo from Lugazi Dioceses, Fr, Mathias Kyaterekera (parish priest Kisoga Parish) Fr, Musoke, from Kiwamirembe Community Jinja, Fr. Ggita, from Nairobi, Fr, Masaaba from Nyenga minor seminary (the innate of Kisoga Parish), Fr. Francis (curate of Kisoga parish), Fr, Denis Omusugu from kisoga servite community among others including Religious men and women.

Among other important chief guests included, Mr. Charles Kabanda Ssentamu ‘ssabakristu’ of Lugazi Diocese, Mr. Kkaya Joseph head teacher, Hon. Nambooze bakireke member of parliament, Mrs.Majorine Tushabe Nandinda St. Balikuddembe s s s Kisoga, the family of sacred heart of Namilyango college and among other distinguished guests.

Mass

In Bishop’s words, he emphasized, peace, Justice and reconciliation in the families. Among the parents, he condemned domestic violence in the families.

According to the parish priest, Fr. Kyaterekera Mathias, recognized the presence of the Bishop and the clergy, he continued to appreciate the big turn up of faithful (Christians) this characterized through the great number of 45 married couples which authorized on that day, can you imagine?. He highlighted the development projects in the parish have undergone. He concluded by thanking servite missionaries, he also thanked all those who support the parish both priests and Christians.

The function was attended by many people all over the world. Because of the high number of population it was difficult to estimate the real number of people. The function ended late evening after when people celebrated in eating, drinking, and entertainments, it was wonderful and fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Long live servite, long live Kisoga Parish, long live Lugazi diocese.

By .Ssempijja Henry (philosophy Jinja) Kiwamirembe community.

New Members for Secular Servites

It had been the long desire to go to Kidera, a small village in Kamuli District – Uganda and receive some twenty three new secular members for our Order. We are happy, because we finally made it on 18th October 2014. Fra. Lourdu Xavier, Fra. Kabambi Justin, Fra. Lukalango Thadeo and Mr. Allule Christopher and other two secular members from Jinja went to Kidera to celebrate Mass and receive the vows. Twenty three members took perpetual vows as secular servites on that day.

Secular Servites