“We have combined the celebration of St. Joseph who was a carpenter with the call in Laudato Si where we are all encouraged to take care of the environment. Children from all over the parishes share short clips of their tree planting activities as individuals and in groups,” she told ACI Africa February 2.
And to adhere to the Pope Francis’ call concerning taking care of the elderly, the children are encouraged to spend time with their grandparents and to share their interactions with older members of the society through video clips.
The children must, however, adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure that the elderly are not exposed to infection with the virus, Dorothy clarified.
The celebration of the Year of St. Joseph at Namugongo Catholic Parish has spread to other Parishes in the Archdiocese and to other Ugandan Dioceses including Lugazi, Kiyinda-Mityana, Masaka, Nebbi and the Archdiocese of Mbarara.
Children are encouraged to record their prayers, poems, songs and other forms of reflections on St. Joseph and to share with their animators through WhatsApp. The recordings are then broadcast on the National Catholic television.
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Dorothy says that it is important for parents and guardians to bring up their children in the example of St. Joseph “especially at a time when most families are facing a father crisis.”
“Our generation is riddled with many challenges that are brought about by the growing father crisis. Today, most families grapple with the situation of absentee fathers and the increasing number of single mothers who bring up their children without a father in their lives,” Dorothy told ACI Africa.
She added, “We need St. Joseph in our families. Single mothers need the Saint to help them in the difficult journey of bringing up their children single-handedly.”
The society also needs St. Joseph to address the “boy child crisis”, according to the Liturgy teacher who notes that the disillusionment of boys in families is causing societal problems including violence.
“Over time, girls have been empowered more than boys. We are thus ending up with boys who grow up with low self-esteem and this is not good for those who are expected to be heads of families. The result is usually domestic violence,” she explains, adding, “Sometimes, it is an unending cycle of violence.”
Dorothy thanks the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) for the opportunity to evangelize on national TV and invites children across the continent to creatively participate in the Year of St. Joseph celebrations.
“I invite all children in Africa to enjoy their space in the Church and to feel the love of St. Joseph as protector of the Church and of families. I invite them to take part in communal initiatives to preserve the environment. Let them plant trees to cover the face of the earth which is turning into a desert,” Dorothy told ACI Africa February 2.
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.