Uganda’s Catholic Dioceses Notified of Limited Altar Wine Stock, Urged to “regulate use” amid Delays in Shipment

Ampules, glass cruets with wine and water for Holy Mass. Credit: Thoom via Shutterstock

Catholic Dioceses in Uganda have been notified of a limited stock of wine for Holy Mass occasioned by delays in the shipment process. 

In an April 30 letter to financial administrators of Uganda’s various Episcopal Sees, the leadership of JW InterServices Ltd, a company under the auspices of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) that is involved in the procurement and shipment of wine alongside other goods and services, provides details of the altar wine shortage. 

“This is to inform you that due to the Middle-East wars, the ship’s usual passage through the Mediterranean and the Red Sea were suspended and cancelled,” the Director of JW InterServices Ltd, Fr. Asiku Alfred Tulu, says.

Fr. Tulu adds, “The ships have been diverted to take longer and safer routes through the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean which has caused a major crisis and delays of their arrival to Mombasa Port (Kenya).”

The diversion of the ships to longer and safer routes, he says, “has affected the arrival of Mass Wine which we had expected to be here at the beginning of April 2024.”


“The information from our shippers indicates that Wine will arrive in Mid-May and we hope to clear it through Uganda Customs by the end of the month of May,”  the Ugandan Catholic Priest says. 

He goes on to urge Catholic Priests in Ugandan Parishes and institutions to “regulate the use of wine as much as possible.”

“In the meantime, we have limited stock of White Mass Wine, duly approved by the Uganda Episcopal Conference,” Fr. Tulu says, and cautions, “Kindly note, it is also limited.”

He apologizes for “any inconveniences caused by this unforeseen situation caused by the above factors.”

“Kindly relay the same information to all your Parishes in the Diocese,” Fr. Tulu says.

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According to Canon Law, Holy Mass must be celebrated with the use of bread, and wine to which a small quantity of water is to be added.

The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, and not mixed with other substances.

In an interview with Uganda’s Monitor, the Parish Priest of St. Jude Wakiso Parish of Kampala Archdiocese , Fr. Ronnie Mubiru, said he had received the notification regarding the possible altar wine shortage in the country. 

In the report of the interview published Monday, May 6, Fr. Mubiru is quoted as saying that while the Parish has some stock that can last several weeks, “If the wine we have in stock gets finished, we shall talk to the diocese; they know better how that issue will be resolved.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.