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MAY THE MARTYRS OF UGANDA HELP YOU

MAY THE MARTYRS OF UGANDA HELP YOU PERSEVERE IN REMEMBRANCE, FIDELITY AND PRAYER

Pope Francis left us a short but very important message about the priestly vocation at the end of his Apostolic Voyage in Uganda. On this Silver Jubilee, it is worthwhile recalling what he emphasized since it is an outline of what your seminary community is called to pursue in forming future priests in Uganda.

 

Speaking to clergy, seminarians and religious, he emphasized three points. First, “Don’t forget!” That means: keeping constantly in mind that the “blood of the martyrs runs in the veins of the Catholics of Uganda.” This striking image deserves much reflection, prayer and, in particular witness which keeps memory alive. He tells us “not to just live off ... [the] legacy,” the fame or prestige of having these Martyrs but “to create future glories” under their impulse and inspiration.

 

Second, this witness requires of us faithfulness to ; remembrance, vocation, apostolic zeal, and holiness. It also means being ready to serve even in other local Churches when the need arises. That advice is particularly relevant at this moment when over a million refugees have recently arrived in one diocese alone, where more priests are much needed. Last June our Bishops declared: We j “launch an appeal to all our priests from other dioceses to consider volunteering to go and provide pastoral care to the people in refugee camps.” Diocesan clergy are also called to leave home, as at this historical moment. Failure to respond, warns the Holy Father, will mean that “the great treasure you possess will be lost and the “Pearl of Africa” will end up “like a museum piece.”

 

Third, remembrance and fidelity, insists Pope Francis, require prayer: “Once ... a priest stops praying or prays too little, because he says he has too much work, he has already begun to lose his memory [and] ... fidelity.” Prayer also includes our own humble and regular seeking forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance. “If you sin, ask God’s forgiveness!” the Holy Father teaches us, “But don’t keep covering up those things that God does not love, don’t hide your lack of fidelity, don’t put your memory in a drawer.” Following this sound advice will assure that the “Pearl of Africa” will continue “to be a pearl and not just an empty word.”

Your Silver Jubilee occurs a few weeks after the Congregation for the Clergy sponsored an international congress on the new norms for priestly formation, entitled The Gift of Priestly Vocation. I urge you to study it and the Holy Father’s talk on it of last October 7th (available on the Vatican website). These and his talk summarized above will be valuable guides for your next twenty-five years.

May the Martyrs, who gave the Church in Uganda its distinctive character and mission, help you persevere in remembrance, fidelity and prayer.

In the Divine Word.

 

+ Michael August Blume, SVD

Titular Archbishop of Alessano

Apostolic Nuncio

 

 

 

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GOLDEN JUBILEE OF EVANGELISATION

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Saint Mary's Cathedral Rubaga, commonly referred to as Rubaga Cathedral, is the parent cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala, the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in Uganda. In 1914 the missionaries began constructing a modern cathedral at Lubaga (Rubaga). Construction was completed in 1924 and St. Mary's Cathedral Rubaga was consecrated on 31 December 1925.

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