AFRICA/UGANDA - The role of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the growth of the living and active faith of the local Church Kampala

Monday, 16 May 2022 missionary animation   pontifical mission societies   local churches  

(Agenzia Fides) - "The Pontifical Mission Societies can be defined as the four evangelical arms of the Holy Father in carrying out the mission of the Church that Jesus Christ began on earth". This is how Father Pontian Kaweesa, National Director of the PMS in Uganda speaks to Fides, on the eve of the General Assembly of the PMS that opens today in Lyon.
"The local Church in Uganda, for more than 144 years when the Missionaries of Africa, Fr. Simeon Lourdel and Br. Delmas Amans, arrived here, has experienced tremendous growth", says Father Kaweesa -. Catholics are about 40% of the entire population of Uganda, which is about 44 million; there are 19 Catholic dioceses under four ecclesiastical provinces or archdioceses; most of the Bishops are indigenous; Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are abundant in most dioceses and parish churches are always full on Sundays and other days when the faithful gather to pray and celebrate the Eucharist. It is a great thing to be a practicing Catholic in Uganda".
It is not just numbers or the construction of churches that testify to a growing Church, but the testimony of a participative and convinced faith based on the example of the missionaries who have worked and are working here. "The first Catholic missionaries in Uganda must have been inspired and encouraged by the future Blessed Pauline Marie Jaricot and her charism for the mission of the Church - continues the Director of the Ugandan PMS -. It is no coincidence that the first Catholic missionaries to arrive in Uganda came from France". They were later joined by other missionaries from other countries, such as Mill Hill from England, Jesuit missionaries, Comboni Missionaries, etc. In particular, Father Kaweesa says his family's connection to the late Father Gabriel Besseteaux, a French missionary who was his parish priest when he was only 12, played a fundamental role in his vocation to the priesthood. "As children, we felt so special to have a missionary priest who stayed and lived with us at home", says Father Kaweesa. During the holidays, I accompanied him when he went to preach and I always served mass. It was the closeness and testimony of this missionary priest that made me desire the priestly life". "It was in the Seminaries that I learned how so many people, through the PMS, support the formation and the education of priests and religious". Father Kaweesa concludes, "I learned how many churches were built, how many schools, hospitals and retirement homes, all built and maintained through prayer and the support of the PMS". (E.G.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/5/2022)