Catholic Priest in Uganda Cautions against “mechanical observance” of Faith Practice

Fr. Achilles Mayanja. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Christians have an obligation of upholding religious practices and serving one another with love and mercy without dwelling on external appearances that are merely “mechanical”, a Catholic Priest in Uganda has said. 

In his Tuesday, January 18 homily at St. Mary’s Lubaga Cathedral of Uganda’s Kampala Archdiocese, Fr. Achilles Mayanja said that people of God get the Holy Spirit through religious practices and sacraments of the Church.

“We must be very careful when it comes to practicing our faith. We must avoid mechanical observance of religion,” Fr. Mayanja who serves as the Apostolic Administrator’s Delegate for Kampala Vicariate said during Holy Mass that was aired on Facebook.

The Ugandan Priest added, “We must not just learn the laws by heart but we need to learn the heart of the law; the heart of our religious practices is love, mercy and service.”

“Let us not do things mechanically. Somebody goes to Church because it’s time for Church, somebody goes to prayers because he must do it,” Fr. Mayanja said, emphasizing on the need for Christians to avoid looking at external appearances before making decisions.


He went on to challenge Christians to identify the heart of their religion by saying that changing the way or manner of talking does not amount to miracles.

“What is the heart of your religion? That is why some people think that when they change their way of talking, then miracles take place. This kind of mechanical application of religion is not very good,” Fr. Mayanja said, and added, “Let us go into the heart of religion, the heart of religion is mercy, love and service.”

Reflecting on the First Reading of the day about David’s anointing, Fr. Mayanja said that people of God receive the Holy Spirit through continual and regular reception of “sacraments and religious practices.”

“We come into contact with the Holy Spirit through sacraments and religious practices. The more we receive the sacraments, the more the Holy Spirit will continue to lead and guide us,” Fr. Mayanja in his January 18 homily. 

He added, “So it’s important to receive the sacraments and to come for (Holy) Mass; these are the moments the Holy Spirit gets in touch with us.”

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The Catholic Priest who celebrated his Silver Jubilee as a Priest in 2019 said that Christians can succeed in life just like David when they remain “in contact with the (Holy) Spirit.”

“When David was anointed, he became in contact with the (Holy) Spirit, and it helped him to become very successful. We need the Holy Spirit to help us become successful in whatever we do,” Fr. Mayanja said.

He further cautioned the people of God against not only judging others but also using their external appearances to define them.

“The lord does not judge using externals; on many occasions, people make a mistake, they judge others based on how they are dressed, whether they are tall or beautiful. The lord looks at the heart. So, stop judging people by what you see,” the Ugandan Catholic Priest said January 18.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.