Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pentecost at Emmaus

The main altar at the Catholic Uganda Martyrs Shrine.
Jamie and I finished our time in Kampala last Wednesday, May 23. All in all it was a full week for us in the Ugandan capital. All told we visited a total of seven different sections of the Ugandan prison system: Remand, Murchison Bay, Kigo, Maximum and Condemned - all men, and the women's sections at Kigo and Luzira. In addition, we assisted at seven Masses at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Matugga, four of them as part of their pre-Pentecost novena. In addition, we participated in the weekly prayer meeting at Christ the King Parish in downtown Kampala.

An outdoor sculpture depicting the martyrdom of St. Charles Lwanga.
A visit to Kampala would not have been complete, however, without seeing the Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namogongo. We were able to stop at both sites: the Church of Uganda shrine where most of the martyrs gave their lives in witness to Christ, and the Catholic basilica built over the spot where Charles Lwanga, the  leader of the Catholic martyrs, was immolated.

On Thursday, we headed north of the city to Emmaus Centre for Catholic Discipleship and Evangelization, to help lead the weekend Pentecost retreat that began that evening. We were collaborating with Fr. Stash who facilitated the retreat.

Jamie helping to lead worship.
The weekend consisted in several sessions each day, Mass and evening times of prayer and ministry. The themes, of course, all had to do with the Holy Spirit: His renewing and purifying power, the call to holiness and transformation, how He helps us to pray, His role as the Advocate, and the prophetic quality He imparts to the Word of God.

Reading the Gospel at Pentecost Mass.
The culmination of the retreat was Mass on Pentecost morning, presided by Fr. Stash. It lasted more than three hours and the congregation was exuberant.

Blessing small children after Communion.

The congregation praying for us at the end of Mass.

Fr. Stash and me.

I really liked this guy's jacket.
A special blessing for me and one of the reasons for the time at Emmaus was the opportunity to visit two youth from the Comboni group in Torit, Samuel Oryem and Elizabeth Pasquale, both of whom we are sponsoring in the nine-month discipleship formation program at Emmaus. They are part of a larger group of 11 youth which also includes Ugandans and Tanzanians. I was very proud and grateful to God to see how much they are learning and growing spiritually. I was also privileged to contribute to their formation by giving a morning of teaching on the role of the laity in the Church, referring to Blessed Pope John Paul's Apostolic Exhortation The Lay Members of Christ's Faithful. As Blessed John Paul reiterates, lay people are really on the "front lines" of the Church, especially now in the New Evangelization.

Samuel Oryem Paul and Elizabeth Pasquale from South Sudan.

1 comment:

  1. Fr. Herald, we miss you in Kenya. Please pass by the World Youth Alliance and say hi the next time you are in Nairobi. I left WYA-A but I am still engaged. I pray the best for you. I hope to see you soon.