, 30 September, 2020 / 7:35 PM
Ahead of this year’s World Mission Sunday on October 18, an official of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) has explained how Church leaders will engage the media in marking the event in the East African nation.
"We plan to offer a series of presentations on Mission Day and the mission of the Church on our Ugandan Catholic television (UC TV),” the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Uganda, Fr. Pontian Kaweesa has been quoted as saying in a September 29 report.
He adds, "We will also produce a live broadcast on Radio Maria to talk about Mission Day in the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic.”
“We have written to all the Bishops and diocesan directors of the PMS to urge the faithful of their respective dioceses to pray for the mission of the Church and to live a novena before Mission Sunday in their homes and communities,” the Ugandan Cleric further says.
Ahead of the day, PMS officials in Uganda have also facilitated the creation of two digital posters with the theme of Mission Day 2020 "Here I am, send me" (Isaiah 6: 8), the 57-year-old Cleric says, adding that the posters will be shared through various digital platforms.
The officials have also engaged Bishops through “a special bank account” in the annual fundraising initiative toward the Universal Solidarity Fund that aims at supporting the missionary needs of the universal Church, Fr. Pontian has reported.
“In order to promote the contribution to the Universal Solidarity Fund, we asked the Bishops to allow the creation of a special bank account where the faithful can send money, in addition to the traditional fundraising system,” the Ugandan Cleric says.
The fund is used as a basic means of support for a new or young Church, as a form of support for a Church in a mission dependent area where self-support is not well established, and as a form of support to a Church in a mission dependent area where an emergency has occurred.
“Now it is time to bring the gifts of the Good News and our faith as treasures to be shared. Every gift is better when it is shared," Fr. Pontian says.
Amid COVID-19 restrictions, which led to closure of churches in Uganda since March, the Church “went to her children, their homes and their families,” Fr. Pontian who has served in his current position since January 2018 recalls.
He explains, “During the lockdown, we encouraged all the baptized to pray together in their families. The Word of God was shared by catechists, Lay leaders and Priests who visited the homes and small Christian communities.”
“The children were prepared for First Communion and the Sacraments of Penance. The Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Marriage were also celebrated following the current standard procedures provided for in these cases,” he adds in the September 29 report.
Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni announced eased restrictions on places of worship September 20, allowing for gatherings of up to 70 people at a time.
“In Uganda, the pandemic has negatively affected the livelihood of a large part of the population: many survive with only one meal a day and without money to buy other essential goods and medicines,” the National Director of PMS in the country says.
He thanks the Holy Father for establishing the COVID-19 emergency fund to help affected communities.
In his World Mission Sunday message released on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, Pope Francis said the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for mission and service to others.
Pope Pius XI instituted World Mission Sunday in 1926, to remind Catholics about their commitment and support to the missionary work of the Church through prayer and sacrifice.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa