News from Uganda
Today is GOOD FRIDAY, just back from the prison and God was very Good- The Liturgy of the Word, The Way of the Cross, The General Intercessions, The Kissing of the Cross and The Holy Communion. The Prisoners made the Celebration come alive. JESUS WAS ALIVE. Yesterday, Br. Rufin and myself celebrated Holy Thursday Eucharist – the washing of the feet of our brother prisoners. We felt thankful for this service, gift of our Ordination and for the Great Gift of the Eucharist.
The Lord, our novices (1994-2003) and the friars in our province were very good in bringing me closer to God, challenging me and bringing me closer to friars and people of God. Next Friday, 17 April, is my flight to India. Four months ago our Province of St Thomas, the Apostle of India, gave birth to twins on 29 November, 2008, the day when our Reg B. Rule 1223 was approved: Twins – The Custody of Mary, Mother of God (North India) and Foundation of St Francis (North-East India). I chose the Custody, but was told both by the Provincial Br Arok Sundar and Custos Br Leos Ekka we would dialogue for the good of the Order in India and they wanted me back, 21 April the Friars of the Custody will have their First Get-together to Dare to Live the Gospel, going through our life and ministry.
I was due to leave last year, our friars Aimable and Augustus in San Damiano and our Provincial Sebastian asked me to extend to 2009. A blessing to me.
On April 15, 1994, friar William Raj and I arrived Nairobi, renewed our vows on April 16, Journeyed to Uganda on April 17 only to hear on 18 April that our brother Georges Gashugi was martyred because of his tribe in Rwanda. Br. Giacomo Bini, our Vicar Provincial then, told me he had planned that George could assist me in the novitiate.
I interceded with George to pray for me from above in my task of serving the novices. Friars Cornelius-Guardian, Joseph Bishyanuka-Asst Director of novices, Jules Razakasoa, not forgetting Peter Confeggi-Australian and Benedict-Polish, and of course Mzee, the friar of the soil, to help me. He did very much and gently. And from Kashekuro Richard, Silvestro and Ivica, not forgetting Pero who was on Sabbatical in Uganda and the previous Novice Director. Our House Chapters, Regional Meetings, Tanzania-Uganda Combined Meetings and picnics did bind our International Fraternity by God’s grace.
My Provincials: Friars Giacomo Bini, Jacques St-Yves and Sebastian and Guardians: friars Cornelius, Gianfrancesco, Servulo, Nicodeme and Aimable, we supported each other. As Cornelius used to say: “We are all different” and so we could agree to disagree and work together as friars minor focusing on the novices, needy brothers and sisters, terminally ill patients at home and in the hospitals, clinic of St Francis and Hiikas Buremba, Rwemigina and Rwentondo. All the time our help came from the Lord.
Departure of William was painful, Joy K. Devassy joining us in 2001 was an abundant blessing to me and appointed to our novitiate house, we stayed with brothers Servulo, Jose Louis and myself.
A Blessing from above was my knowledge of English, that helped my prayer life and short dashes for recollections and retreats opening my mind to our people, cultures and to organize Inter-Novitiate Meetings in Nyamitanga – Poor Clares, Daughters of Mary and Joseph, Good Counsel Sisters, Fatima Sisters, Montfort Missionaries and Friars Minors.
My return to my province of origin has no strings attached, I Begin Again trusting in Abba Father. Glad Brothers Augustus is serving the novices with Aimable the Asst. Novice Master and myself serving the novices, Rufin joined our fraternity since January 24 and our friars from Rushooka-Holy Name of Jesus Friary with Friars Carmelo-Guardian, Kizito Parish Priest, Teofil, Viateur and Agapitus (deacon ministry) and memories of Ulrich and Ivica recreating the Parish with a Water Project, Education and reaching out to orphans and building up the parish. Welcoming in 1998 the Daughters of Divine Charity. What more can one ask from the Lord, but be thankful. Thanks brothers from the Custody of Madagascar and our Province of St Francis.
God is NOT ONLY GOOD BUT ALSO GOD SURPRISES US.
15 APRIL, 2009 my brothers and novices and people from Kakoba gave me the best send off and for me the best event of all the Lord has done in my life for the last 15 years. The celebration was focused on 800 Years of the Foundation of our Order and my send off. This was a double gift for me as the next morning we friars from Holy Name Friary and San Damiano Friary – 16 April, 2009 – renewed our vows to the Most High to Dare to Live the Gospel, by HIS GRACE ALONE.
For the Celebration, Bishop Lambert was present, I was to lead the Eucharist and the Bishop would speak. Brs Aimable and Augustus not only invited the religious from Mbarara but also our terminally ill people. Mama Hilda, Januarius sfo, our benefactor and Eucharistic Minister, Francis Ishanga, a big friend of the friars and benefactor and the people of Kakoba contributed to make the celebration memorable one and great. Augustus was the brain behind with our novices executing this double occasion and Rufin being involved in all the gritty tasks to be done. The Guardian, Br. Aimable was the eye for any need arising. I felt thankful to God and could only say: “The Lord has done marvels for me, giving me international brothers for 15 years, and Holy is His Name.
Brs. Aimable, my Guardian, Carmelo, Guardian of Rushooka and Teofil, dashed off with me to the Entebbe Airport, to meet Richard, Mama Hilda’s son who was on duty there and so I was on an easy street through the airport requirements needed. Thanks for your prayers and my brothers who journeyed with me till I journeyed to my Province of Origin and moved into the Custody of Mary, Mother of God. Ruhanga Webare, Webare Ruhanga Nakasingye.