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BLESSING OF THE CONVENT OF THE MISSIONARIES OF THE POOR

 SOLEMN BLESSING OF THE MISSIONARIES OF THE POOR

 Our Lady of the Poor Sisters Convent. 18th of August, 2018

 HOMILY OF HIS GRACE THE MOST REV. DR. CYPRIAN KIZITO LWANGA ON THE OCCASION OF BLESSING THE CONVENT OF THE POOR MISSIONARIES ON SATURDAY 19th AUGUST 2018

Readings: Ezekiel 18:1-10. 13.30-32   Psalm 50:12-15.18-19 Matthew 19:13-15

1.    A word of welcome

·         To Fr. Allan Borais (Regional superior)

·         Sr. Joan Delmonte (Mother Superior)

·         The Parish Priest and All Priests around

·         Brothers and Sisters

·         Members of the Missionaries of the Poor

·         All People of God

 

2.    Word of Thanks

·         We thank the Lord for the work of missionaries of the poor.

·         We thank the Lord for the developments.

·         We thank God for the professions we had in the last month.

 

3.    Brief history of Missionaries of the Poor Sisters

Some one asked me recently “Is the Church still relevant to today’s challenges?

Congregations like Missionaries of the Poor Sisters are a clear evidence that the Church has been and will always be relevant to people’s challenges.

One of the greatest challenges today are; unwanted Pregnecies, increasing number of Children which has forced some Countries to legalize Abortion.

In the year 2007, rumors about Jamaican government legalizing abortion were rampant. It was certain that there was an attempt to pass this law without public notice. However, God the author of life heard the bitter cries of the unborn infants, crying out for mercy. It was soon enough that the rumor spread widely and finally reached the ear of Fr. Richard Ho Lung, the Founder and Superior General of the Missionaries of the Poor.

Fr. Richard Ho Lung, firmly believe that abortion is inhumane and immoral, literally against the law of God. He therefore made an appeal to the government not to pass this hideous law but rather to promote, to protect and to preserve life. The government then challenged Fr. Richard Ho Lung as to what solution he can offer to impede them from passing the law. Through much prayer and contemplation, Fr. Richard Ho Lung and the Missionaries of the Poor build a home called "Holy Innocent Centre", a' home that will shelter pregnant women who are physically and spiritually in need of assistance.

THE ORIGIN OF THE MOP SISTERS

The institution of the Holy Innocent Centre has a great role to play in the conception of the MOP Sisters. Fr. Richard Ho Lung, the Founder and Superior General of the Missionaries of the Poor together with his Councilors saw the need to form a new community that will fit to the new ministry. A community that will live much like the Brothers, and with the same charism they will work together in building up of the Kingdom of God, by serving the least of our brothers and sisters.

4.    Why we are here today?

We are gathered here today to celebrate the blessing of the convent of the Missionaries of the Poor.  In this, we invoke the special help of God upon all the activities of the Missionaries of the Poor, most especially, in their loving service to the poor.  As you serve the people of God in this Archdiocese of Kampala and in other parts of the world, may you always be strengthened by the example of Jesus Christ who came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) and the loving obedience of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Glorious Assumption into Heaven we have celebrated on Wednesday.  The Blessed Virgin Mary totally gave her life to God in the words, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your Word.” (Luke 1:38)

5.    What is the place of Children in the Church?

There are two occasions in the Gospels when Jesus blesses children and presents them as a model to his disciples; One took place in Caphamaum in Galilee while the other happened in Judaea, probably near Jericho, on the way to Jerusalem.

Today’s Gospel has talked about the second event: Then children were brought to him, relates Saint Matthew. We can be sure that they were brought by women - by their mothers or their grandmothers or their sisters. They had entered into the house where Jesus was, probably nudging forward their little ones until they were right in front of Our Lord, that he might lay his hands on them and pray for them. It would seem as if it was Christ’s accustomed way with children. Perhaps the commotion this would cause had somewhat distracted the adults listening to the Master. And so the disciples rebuked the people. But the Lord intervened: Let the children come to me, He tells them and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them and went away.

By declaring that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children Jesus teaches us, first of all, that children have infinite place there. As a consequence, great care should be taken in the preparation and guidance of children.

The disciples were following the strict rules of their time and Jesus Christ brings freshness to the way of living, of understanding, of relating with each other, yes, even with the children.  This freshness, is fulfilled the teaching of the Prophet Ezekiel as we have heard in the first reading that, “make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” (Ezekiel 18:31)  This newness of the heart and the spirit, reminds us, dear brethren in Christ of what Pope Francis told us that, “REMEMBER, REJOICE, RENEW.” 

In celebrating this blessing of the convent of the Missionaries of the Poor, let us daily strive to live this message of the Holy Father whose heart goes out lovingly towards the poor, the marginalized and all those who are least thought of as the children.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, each and every one of us dear brothers and sisters in Christ has a place in the heart of Jesus Christ.  None of us is foreign to Jesus Christ, He welcomes us and desires our well-being.  While the adults were considered to be very important and that only they could approach Jesus Christ, the children too can come to Jesus Christ.  He does not send them away.  He welcomes them and entrusts this mission to us. 

In this very spirit, as the Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, I started an umbrella association to unite all the children in the Archdiocese.  This was named “Bannakizito” after the youngest Uganda Martyr St. Kizito who was only 14 years of age at the time of martyrdom.  The three pillars of this association are promoting peace, sharing and loving one another.  These pillars are to help the children to lovingly grow in our Catholic faith.

The children get the special blessing of being touched by Jesus Christ.  In touching them, Jesus Christ was blessing them.  He who comes to Jesus Christ is blessed.  Let us therefore come to Jesus Christ who welcomes and blesses us. 

Today, we are also blessing this Convent and we pray that as Jesus Christ touched the little children and blessed them, may He also touch this Convent and bless it. 

6.    Conclusion

Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we pray for the apostolate of all the Missionaries of the Poor that God may abundantly bless them and the people that they serve.

 

SPEECH OF SR. JOAN DELMONTE, MOTHER SUPERIOR

 

Most Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Archbishop of Kampala, and Rev. Fr. Allan Borais, all Priests and Religious Brothers and Sisters, my MOP Family - Sisters and Brothers, and all the faithful present here: GREETINGS and BLESSINGS in JESUS CHRIST!! On behalf of the MOP (Missionaries of the Poor) family, I welcome you with the love of Christ.

Thank you so much for coming out today, in being part of this special occasion: the blessing of this new, beautiful convent for our MOP Sisters.

This journey of building this convent has been a bitter/sweet road for me.

 

If I may, let me start at the beginning:

In 2013, this plot was given to MOP by Most Rev. Archbishop Dr. Cyprian Lwanga, for the purpose of building a convent: such an act of generosity and kindness!

How did I become part of that? In June 2016, I came to visit my Sisters in Kampala.

When Fr. Allan so kindly offered to bring me to see the land, I thought “Oh? No

building? ”As he pointed out where the convent would be, he shared very

quietly, “it is your responsibility to find the funds to build,” “oh really?" I said, “oh yes, really, ” was his reply. I said to myself, “this must be a joke. ” And I

returned to Kingston with a design for a perimeter wall and .............................  looking for

funds!

Plans in hand, I met with our MOP Brothers Council, and explained the situation. When they approved, I thought “that was easy, ” then there came, “BUT you must pay it back!” “Sure, ” I thought, “God will provide. ”

 

On September 17, 2016, the wall was erected and the cornerstone laid, we were blessed by the presence Rev. Msgr. Charles Kasibante, who presided over the event. Now what was needed was the big money for the actual building. A little research and some asking of questions, and I found out there are organizations which fund the building of convents and monasteries. Applications were duly filled and sent, but were turned down. “Oh dear, what now?”\ was getting a little pressure from Fr. Allan: the more time I take the more money it will take. Where to go? To chapel, and back to MOP Brothers Council. Case made out, plans sent, and reviewed. Response: NO to building: too big! Reduce size! Ok, back to the drawing board. New plans were sent. Once again, response: too much! Too big!

 

In Sept 2017,1 returned to Kampala with directions to speak to Fr. Allan to reduce the size. While I was here, myself, Fr. Allan, and Fr. Jesu in Jamaica had a meeting on Skype about the building.

 

After much discussion, an agreement was made to reduce the size. And I assured

Fr. Jesu that I would follow through. Fr. Allan once again had to go to speak to the engineer: Mr. Ssenfula Isaac of Mabrese Constuction, new plans were needed with changes, and I must carry it back to Jamaica.

 

This time, praise the Lord! All was approved, but with the condition that I pay back. “Sure, no problem! I will just ask my “husband. ” He always provides\ Pray, YOU are listening!

 

January 2018, ground was broken and construction started, thank you Lord! Did it stop there? Oh no! This is where the begging began. A message came from Fr. Allan that we have to feed the workers, and we need so much of this and that, security has to be upgraded, so the begging, the pleading and the crying was left to me.

 

There were times when I would see his name on my phone; I would ignore it, for I knew it was another request. More begging, more humbling of myself. But all is good, for God is so good. Is begging easy? Not at all! But it was not for me, but for HIM. Were there disappointments, pain, hurts, oh yes! Moments of giving up, but at those times I felt His love and comfort even more, through words of encouragement from my community and even from strangers. Indeed, God is good.

 

Am I finished begging? Not at all! Word from Fr. Allan is that funds are low, so we will need to go back to the Council for another loan. Lord, are you listening? We- you and I - have to pay this back. He tells me “worry not, my dear. ’’“Okay, 1 will worry not. ”

And here we are on this joyous occasion. Was it worth the pain, the worries and the struggles? Oh yes!!

 

For we have built a house for God, and that is what all this is about. It was a

labour of love for God from all who partook in bringing us to this point.

Convents are meant to draw labourers in building God’s Kingdom. For us, MOP

Sisters, it is to protect and save the life of the unborn. Abortion these days is too easy a choice for women in distress. But, that is not according to God’s Will, for Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. We MOP Sisters will defend life from the moment of conception till natural death, regardless of nationality, race or religion.

 

This is what God is asking of us. It is unique to His Most Sacred Heart and to the Heart of our Blessed Mother.

Sisters, be ready and be open to all that God asks of you. I also pray that you foster a deep love and devotion to our Blessed Mother, because with every new convent, her Immaculate Heart is illuminated and glows with deep love for all mankind in honour and worship of Her Beloved Son.

 

As you may know, convents are traditionally named after one of Mother Mary’s titles, because every convent stands in heaven as a jewel upon her Crown. That is how happy it makes her. It is then our responsibility to keep making her happy; by the way we live out our calling.

The name of this convent is Our Lady of the Poor. Mother Mary is always there to comfort, support and guide us.

I would like to thank Your Grace Archbishop Dr. Cyprian Lwanga, for your generosity in gifting us this land.

 I thank our MOP family, Superior General Brother Anil and Councilors, for their financial support.

Thank you, Fr. Allan, who, on top of all his responsibilities, has been here, every step of the way.

I thank my community of Sisters, who at times when I became a little short- tempered, continued to love me.

 

Thanks to our great supporters in Toronto, among whom 1 must single out Margaret Lobo who never said no to any of my begging emails; to Elsa and Jerry always ready to apply balm to heal hurts; to family and friends, who, if truth be told, are the hardest to beg from; to Leslie Chin of MOP Canada who had lots of questions but also gave positive answers to our requests; to the St Joseph the Worker Prayer Group, who interrupted their vacations to help fundraise; and to many more friends and well-wishers too numerous to mention, and of course to our Local friends and Associates, who helped us with material goods, prayers and support.

 

I thank God for them all!

Oh yes, to Mr. Joseph Katende, our contractor, who was very patient with it all, especially with Fr. Allan!

But most importantly we thank God, to Him be all the Honour and Glory forever. AMEENA!!

 

I do ask for your prayers that one day we will have a HOLY INNOCENTS - KAMPALA. This is my vision. Also pray for these young Sisters and the many more who will join them, that they be formed as hand-maids of the Lord with joy in their hearts.

Once again, thank you all, and may God bless us all!!

 

 

The following pictures are offered to us by Rev. Father Joseph Sserugga:  

Many thanks to the Photographer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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