Monday, 30 November 2015

LAVIGERIE DAY 2015


Every year on 26th November, the community of Lavigerie house as others do, celebrates Lavigerie day. Lavigerie is the founder of the Missionaries of Africa. So every year his death is celebrated on that day. On November 26th 2015 the day began with preparations. Cleaning, arranging and decorating were done in the afternoon. The preparations marked the beginning of the celebrations. Food as one of the most important things on the party was also in preparation by the people concerned. All the first part went on well as with eager waited for the celebration.

The Eucharistic celebration


The celebration of mass presided over by Fr. Otto Kato the vocation animator of Uganda followed. Many people from different communities attended in person to make the day colourful. Among  them were the two FROMA members and the mother of Fr. Aloysius Beebwa. The lively mass animated by the students went on well. It inspired many people. Then we proceeded to the refectory for the celebration of life and joy.


Since, it was refectory and recreation hall, then something most important followed. First was a welcome speech from the rector Fr. Arsene then introduction of guests by Fr. Yago which were followed by presentations from different teams. Kiwanuka team presented first about the challenges faced in a community of formation which Lavigerie as a seminarian also faced, and then also the importance of spiritual directors in formation. It was then followed by    Tobbi Kiiza team which presented about the formation process with different behavior of confreres.  Amans team presented a poem about the work done by cardinal Lavigerie reffering to him as papa (Father(dad). The last team to present was Maapera that presented about the first proclamation of the gospel by Fr. Lourdel and Br. Amans and also the death of the first martyrs. The presentations created awareness and entertained the people present. 


Presentation from different teams 

After the presentations, it was time for filling the stomach and then become happier. Interactions were made as the eating was going on with joy that would be seen by faces. By my interactions with some I managed to reach, I really felt that there was joy. Thanks to the founder of the congregation. It was my first time to be part of the celebrations but I enjoyed and wishes I celebrate more.


Enjoying a meal together


John Agaba

Sunday, 29 November 2015

GIFTS OF LIFE



As we had our monthly re-correction at Lavigerie House, the facilitator Fr Okwi George M.Afr talked about the gifts life gives us. Life is the period between birth and death according to the Cambridge International Dictionary of English. And in this context, life is the period given to us to live on the earth which we call the pilgrim life as Catholics and gifts are chances given to us by life. The gifts according to the re-correction are as follows; 
  • The gift of family. We all have families where we belong and have responsibilities either as family heads or as members. The fact that we have seen some good and new things which may help our family members who do not know them; we should be the cement of happiness. We can provide what we can especially by mentoring and praying for them. We can start by living a worthy and happy life then they can see and learn from us. We should also thank God for the gift of our families.
  • The gift of friends. As human beings, we all have friends and families where we belong. Friends are either because of who we are, or they have been with us since young age. Sometimes friends that we have can determine our character, like a saying “tell me your friend, I tell you who you are.” So they can define us, we should be mindful of whom to keep and who to leave. We should also be useful to them.
  • The gift of work. All of us have who families and friends so have some work to do for them. God gave us land to use our hands and minds to produce what may be needed for us and our family members and friends. So we have to help people to get what to use in their life. As missionaries we should be ready for any work, he defined missionaries with this French phrase TOUT TERRAIN which may be used for a four wheel drive. Therefore, we should be hardworking and useful.
  • The gift of problems. When I say problems are gifts, someone may ask “is this man normal?” But the fact is problems help us to mature up and that’s why I say they are gifts. The only way to help to determine whether they are gifts or not, is the way we handle them and our attitude towards them. The more we think about how difficult they are, the more they become difficult, just cool down and talk to God. So, whenever we get problems we should ponder about them to find a solution and an opportunity after them. We should also ask God to tell us the reason for them.
  • The gift of money. We all have and need money to use in our present needs and the needs of others. Whenever we get money it’s a reminder that, there is labor, love and appreciation. So we should respect and work to get money for our use. But avoid being slaves of money and being capitalists who don’t care about others.
  • The gift of time. We all need time to prove who we are and what we can do. That makes time precious and important. We should value our time and not slaves of time tables but users of time table.
  • The gift of gratitude. This is concerned with being thankful to people we meet and God Himself. The Baganda have a saying “entasiima ebula agyiwa” (that if you are not grateful, you will lack who to give you). So we should be thankful even to what we think is so little. In case of mistakes, we should try to solve them instead of attacking those who commit them. Be thankful
  • The gift of a giver. We don’t make anything on our own but we receive everything, which implies there is a giver. The giver in this sense is God our Father, redeemer and protector. There is nothing we can give other than being thankful. We thank Him for giving us all that we have.
  • The gift of love. The most important gift is this, we all have those whom and what we think we love: and those that think they love us: even those who love us and whom we love. The question is why and what do we call love? Love is not a feeling but love is God and a gift, love is an affection of care responsibility and concern. St. Paul describes love in his first letter to the Corinthians 13:4-7(read it please). The lord Jesus gave us a command of love. Therefore we should love.
  • The gift of mercy. We are all merciful, can we put that in practice. On 8th November 2015, Pope Francis declared a year of mercy, what shall we do as an act of mercy towards those that need it even ourselves? We were all urged to realize and be merciful to one another, especially those that need help.
  • The gift of freedom. We all have the rights of doing whatever we want but be considerate and not misuse our freedom. Cardinal Lavigerie once said “am human and anything inhuman offends me” referring to the freedom of humanity. So we can do anything but be careful of not being slaves of freedom. We should choose the life that will give us happiness forever and at peace with God.
The last gift is the gift of knowing. We all know something about something. But is it useful? Can it help me? Should be the question we should ask ourselves. As one Greek philosopher said “know thyself” Also we should know ourselves and what we can and we cannot do. If God defined himself, why not us?
I can define myself and do whatever little I can do with all my capability. Evaluate my diary actions know when and how to improve.  That is the message that I thought we should think of and try to put in action we shall see a positive change.

Prayer. God our father thank you for the words of wisdom shared in this re-correction and our facilitator, thank you for the gift of our lives, thank you for your love though we offend you, you forgive us always, thank you. So we ask you to bless us and protect us in fulfilling what you teach and want us to do. Through Christ our Lord. Amen


JOHN AGABA AMOOTI

Friday, 20 November 2015

The Dead are not Separated from Us




St. Augustine uttered that; ‘From the moment a man begins to exist in a body which is destined to die, he is involved all the time in a process whose end is death.” This mystery of death confronts us with such questions on integrity of eternal life. Thus, no other thing does man have less than reflection of death; man’s wisdom remains not in the meditation of death but life.Battista Mondin disparages this as distinctive of our so-called advanced society.

One day at home, I started a debate on death and you cannot visualize the magnitude with which my parent shut me down, calling me ‘sick’. This is how we detest death; we all feel inexorable, dreadful and fearful at its thought.  Yet whether we deliberate on it or not, it awaits us in store. It is something not inessential to us. If you have not beheld the sight of someone who dies, then I invite you to the grasp that life is a course of becoming that gently yields to death.

This separation of our loved is excruciating and sometimes even wounding. When it strikes, it indeed leaves abysses which cannot be filled. But Christ our Lord and master conquered death and gave us a new hope. Therefore, as St. Paul proclaims, nothing, not even death or pain, will separate us from the infinite love of God; either we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

In John: 10:10, Jesus proclaims, “I have come to bring life and life to the full.” God, through His boundless goodness was pleased to raise man by grace to the level of eternity. Jesus Christ is sign of His abundant love. Thus, Jesus Christ sustains and nourishes not only to our material needs but enhances the dignity of mankind beyond the measure of any created reality. Christ makes us noble, worthy sharers and partakers in His divine nature. He, in the operations of his sacraments, raises man to the state of divine grace. This is the charity of God’s profound goodness to man. Although sin distracts this magnificent relationship, Christ our mediator continues with his salvific mission of mercy to endow man with the richness his grace.

Our faith professes to the belief in the resurrection of the dead and communion of saints. When our brother and sisters die, it is noble of us to pray for them. The Church honorably lauds the saints on the 1stNovember, recognizing that all the saints are have a share in the glory of God. However, we are reminded that not all the departed are saints. This may illuminate why the Church reserves the 2nd November for the commemoration of the departed. Further, she demands the month of November as a time when each one of us (pilgrim church) can take time to pray for those who have gone before us.

The African and indigenous notions of death is in fact implanted in a rich understanding. The connection of the dead to us is not estranged by the fact of death, but they continue to live and they remain part of us. The libations on one hand served not merely to placate the dead, but it ensured a continued co-existence between the living and the dead. This belief is very patent in the catholic faith; the dead are not dead. The hope of life is offered us that death is neither the end nor a separation.

The dead are people who were once like us and no doubt one day, we will be like them. It is not the end of us; it is the very condition for the prospect of eternal life. It is a passage and through it we stand a possibility of a wondrous union with God. I therefore beseech you to join in praying for those who have gone before us, knowing that when we will be like them, we will surely taste the goodness of the Lord. Particularly in this month of November, let us remember the many people dying in wars, our relatives, parents, brothers and sisters, children and friends who have gone before us, and offer them to God.

KENETH ETIGU

Sunday, 15 November 2015

ST URSULA SPECIAL SCHOOL FOR DISABLED CHILDREN


Disability could be understood as the state which denies one his or her identity, power and dignity in the society. But all these misconceptions are being erased out by the St Ursula Special School trying to restore the power, identity and dignity of disabled children in our societies who have been marginalized. As part of the course on Trauma, Identity and Power, we decided as the class to shift our theoretical concepts to practical ones in the field. We visited the school of children with multiple disabilities. 


The school is named after St Ursula; it is called St Ursula Special School. Indeed, it is special from others; since, they are helping children who have mental disabilities. These are children who have been marginalized by some of their families and society. The vision of this school is to empower these children so that they may be acceptable in society and their families. They are being taught some basic education, such has cleaning themselves and even going through the same academic program as other normal children do. Despite their disabilities, they do things which are very amazingly and helpful in the community. For example, they are making rosaries, table clothes, and necklaces as a way of realizing their talents. This means that there is no human being in this world who is completely powerless to contribute something good to society.



St Ursula Special School is a place where these young boys and girls can feel parental love and realize their talents despite of their nature. I felt bad to hear that in some situations their parents can reject their own children by not identifying with them as their offsprings, simply because they are lame or have mental problems. 

The school has taken a role of enlightening them on their rights as human beings. Some of these children have been beaten, raped and abused. The dignity of some of these children has been violated. Strangers could manipulate them. Now it is our role as human beings to fight for the right of these children because they are like us, although their nature distinguishes them from others; they have the same dignity that I have and the same that you have, so take a step and help disabled children where you are now. It is a challenge to us, religious, to bring back to society, those who are marginalized and to restore their dignity. From that special school, I have noticed that children are the same despite the disabilities, and we should not deny the identity of these young children from ours. Let us try to be identified with them, try to love and you will be loved.

Collins Imbussi