On July 15, 2023, a historic event took place that showed the visible fruit of missionary efforts. This is how we might define the experience of those who participated in the ordinations held at the minor basilica in Kampala-Munyonyo, Uganda.
For the Provincial Delegation in Uganda, the feast of St. Bonaventure, his “birth into heaven,” was the day chosen for the first Conventual Franciscan friar from Uganda to be ordained to the priesthood, Friar Godfrey KATUMBA. Another confrere, Friar Edward KIRONDE, was ordained to the diaconate. The Most Reverend Paul SSEMOGERERE, Archbishop of Kampala, Uganda, presided.
The ordination liturgy itself is always associated with a solemn and unique atmosphere. In fact, the guests at this event included the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI; the Assistant General for the African Federation of Conventual Franciscans (AFCOF) Friar Anthony Bezo KUTIERO; the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Francis of Assisi in Kenya, Friar Obed Muriungi KAROBIA; the Rector of the seminary in the Province of Kenya, Friar Raymond Owinda OGUTU; and the Head of the Secretariat for the Missions of the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow), Friar Dariusz GACZYŃSKI (representing the Minister Provincial of the Province of Cracow). Also present were all the missionaries who work in the Delegation, the friars in formation, and numerous local clergy and faithful from the parishes of the newly ordained and from the Conventual Franciscan missions.
After the liturgy, Friar Godfrey took the floor and thanked those present for their support during his vocational journey. He also mentioned the recently deceased godfather of the Conventual Franciscan mission, the Most Reverend Cyprian Kizito LWANGA, Archbishop of Kampala, Uganda.
Friar Carlos expressed his gratitude and stressed the missionary work of the Province of Cracow. By his presence, Friar Carlos wanted to underline the joy that accompanies every vocation received from the Lord, regardless of the type of service performed. He also mentioned his desire that the ministry of the newly ordained should always have a Franciscan nature and be connected to the dimensions of minority and fraternity.
Finally, a letter was read out from the Minister Provincial of Cracow, Friar Marian GOŁĄB. In it, he talked about the important milestones that have been reached during the twenty plus years the Order has been present in Uganda. They include the visible fruit of having local vocations, the profession of solemn vows and the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
The new priest has been transferred to the friary and parish in Kakooge. Recalling the history of our presence in Uganda, Kakooge is the historic site where the first Conventual Franciscan missionaries arrived.
Friar Piotr DĄBEK