News from Uganda

Holy Family and New Year celebration at Kakoba

As the feast of the Holy Family is within the Christmastide, so was the Christmas spirit of joy prolonged. This was shown even in the changing of atmosphere, just to make sure that we celebrate it spiritually and not only theoretically.  It was on a Sunday of 28th Dec 2008. We had morning prayers half an hour before the usual time just to make sure that we are on time for our journey to Kashekuro, Bushenyi. It was almost a surprise for the commuter us we had to use arrived late. After a follow up by one of our elder brother, it arrived.

No sooner had it arrived than we immediately started the journey. We had with us 2 sisters and 3 novices of the Divine Charity congregation, from the other side of Mbarara town. The journey was to take us to the next district called Bushenyi, particularly at Kashekuro, the native parish of Br. Byaruhanga Augustus. But this was a Sunday, so how could we do without Mass on a special feast like this? And so it was!

After travelling for more than an hour, we arrived to the Parish,. On entering the priest’s compound, we were warmly welcomed by everybody, especially by the two priests. What a joy to return to the roots of our Franciscan presence here in Uganda?  Although it is many years since the friars left the house still the qualities of the Franciscan spirituality could still be reflected by every piece in the house.   That is, the privacy of the cloister, the simplicity of the walls and the warmth of the whole structure and all who dwelt in it. Not forgetting the presence of our dear brothers and sisters, the secular Franciscans. They were all very happy and joyful at our visit.

The Holy Mass started immediately. It was a very dynamic Mass which comes across almost once in five years time. Christians from all the outstations were present in the T shaped parish church. It was filled to the brim without any exception, even the altar was crowded by more than 20 catechists, 4 seminarians and several altar boys. Moreover the liturgy was coloured by liturgical dancers, who were dancing the traditional moves. Really if there is one place where Inculturation has been successful is here in Uganda. This was also reaffirmed by the unique bringing of the Gospel and the bewildering participation of the thanksgiving song by the whole congregation of the faithful. The dynamism of the Mass was also added by the eloquent homily of Br. Augustus, baptism and first communion of more than 50 children in total. In short it was breathtaking.

Immediately after Mass we rushed home where our host, the family of Br. Augustus, were waiting for us. We were cordially welcomed by everybody. Without wasting any time we had a late lunch, for it was about 4 pm. After lunch there was an introduction of both sides, that is the visitors and hosts. The atmosphere was very joyful and fulfilling as we were celebrating the Holy Family. The day ended with taking some photos. We took the journey back safely and joyfully for the car was full of songs all the way to Mbarara.

Three days later was the closing of the year 2008. This was sanctified by a liturgy of its own. There was an hour of songs of praise. This was followed by half an hour of adoration of the Holy Sacrament. The attendance was good and the mass was also unique. The faithful were allowed to share what the Lord had done for them in 2008. This was part of thanksgiving, which actually was done immediately after the thanksgiving song.

As if that was not enough, on Thursday morning of 1st Jan 2009, we had mass of the Mother of God. Not to remain with our joy and peace alone, we took it to others. Our elder brothers chose the Kakiika prison as the best place. In the afternoon, 5 novices with 2 elder brothers proceeded to the men’s prison. There we had mass with them. They were very happy to get mass on an important occasion like that. This was substantiated even in their committed participation in the liturgy by singing and dancing lively. This marked the end of our Christmastide at Kakoba.