Know Patients’ Limitations, Win Their Hearts: Ugandan Catholic Bishop to Medical Students

Bishop Matthias Ssekamanya during the 6th graduation ceremony of St. Francis Schools of Health Sciences (SFRASH) in Uganda’s Catholic Diocese of Lugazi. Credit: Ugandan Catholics Online

A Catholic Bishop in Uganda has, during a graduation ceremony, urged medical graduands to work towards winning the hearts of their patients in the example of the person of Jesus Christ.

In his homily during the 6th graduation ceremony of St. Francis Schools of Health Sciences (SFRASH) in Uganda’s Catholic Diocese of Lugazi, Bishop Matthias Ssekamanya encouraged the graduands to have knowledge of the limitations of their patients in view of freeing them from “their miseries and pains.”

“Our graduands, get the hearts of those you are going to treat. Know their pain and limitations and release them from pain,” Bishop Ssekamanya said during the Thursday, November 24 graduation event.

The Bishop emeritus of Lugazi Diocese added, “Majority of our populations are poor and these are the people you are going to serve. You as workers are going to help these people, relieve them of their miseries and pains.” 

Reflecting on how Jesus interacted with those who were discriminated against on account of socio-economic status, he urged the graduands to emulate the kindness of Christ towards those in distress, including the poor. 


“I am saying this to appeal to you, the outgoing medical workers, to have the spirit of Christ, which is love and sympathy,” he said, adding, “Jesus Himself cured people by first being kind to them. Let it be the same thing with you.”

The Ugandan Bishop went on to advocate for compassionate hearts, saying, “I think psychologically, you are taught how to get into the minds of a sick person, how they feel; so be kind, sympathetic in your hearts.”

The graduands in medicine, he said, “still a challenge to psychologically accustom yourselves to go into the minds of the people you treat. Make them see that you know what they are going through.”

“When you are out there, where you will work. the way you will receive a patient; the way you talk to them will matter a lot and it will also market your facility and yourself,” the 86-year-old Bishop said during the November 24 event at the private institution that was established in 2013.

In his homily, Bishop Ssekamanya also underscored the value of prayer and urged the graduands to embrace a life of being in prayerful solidarity.

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“Whatever you do, pray first. Jesus Himself spent 40 days praying before He started His work so that His mission may be fruitful,” the Catholic Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry as Auxiliary Bishop of Uganda’s Kampala Archdiocese in June 1985 said.

He added, “When you go to work, first thing, kneel down and pray for the power of healing. Never forget your duty to God and your country through your excellent services.”

He urged the graduands to bear in mind that their profession would encounter challenges. The Ugandan Bishop said, “You will get several temptations maybe to give up; to mess up your joy; or to just make money through unethical ways, but that is not your mission.”

He added, “Know your mission and that will give honor to your family; school and to your fellow workers.”

As SFRASH’s ambassadors across the globe, the Catholic Church leader said, the graduands will be required to pay attention to their respective behaviors, which he said are very essential as behavior determines individual reputation.


“I pray that wherever you go, have the attitude of a good medical doctor so that people speak well of you and you will attract God’s blessings. I also pray that as you attend to others, you should not forget the health of your mind, soul and body,” Bishop Ssekamanya said during the November 24 event.

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.