A total of 88 catechists were yesterday commissioned and sent out officially to go and preach the word of God in the Catholic Church. The commissioning ceremony took place yesterday at St. Kalemba Catechetical Training Centre in Ibanda Parish, Mbarara Archdiocese with Mass which was presided over by His Grace Lambert Bainomugisha, Archbishop of Mbarara Archdiocese.
In his homily, His Grace Lambert Bainomugisha thanked the catechists for offering themselves to the service of God. He thanked the catechists for the work they are doing in the Church especially in teaching religion, preparing Christians from reception of Sacraments, visiting the sick, among others. He said everybody in the Catholic Church passes through the hands of catechist.
A number of priests and religious men and women are sons and daughters of catechists. I myself am a son of catechist. The chairman of Uganda National Catholic Council of Lay Apostolate (UNCCLA), Mr. Ndyanabo Gervase is also s son of catechist. The catechists have impacted many lives and therefore, they deserve an applause and without their involvement, the church would not have gone this far. Kabale Diocese had Yohaana Kitagana who evangelized Kigezi was also a catechist. He sowed the seeds of Christianity in Kabale Diocese before the coming of the White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa).
To the commissioned Catechists, Archbishop Lambert said: You have been instructed and formed to prepare people seek God more dearly. As we prepare for the birth of Christ (Christmas), help the Christians in collaboration with priests to come closer to God through the worthy reception of Sacraments. It is God who ordains catechists, but the bishop only commissions or sends them. Therefore, the life of a catechist is itself a teaching. Therefore Go and be examples.
His Grace Lambert Bainomugisha also said that a suggestion had come up one of the meetings of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) to have permanent Deacons in the region, but the work which they could do is already being done by the catechists, hence rendering the former (permanent deaconate) inapplicable. To this, the Archbishop appealed to all Christians to support their catechists so that they can effectively evangelize.
St. Kalemba Catechetical Training Centre was established in 1963 to offer training of the catechists of the greater Mbarara (Mbarara, Fort Portal, Hoima, Kasese and Kabale Dioceses) but with time, other Dioceses established their own Training Centres and currently St. Kalemba Catechetical Training Centre trains Catechists of Kabale Diocese and Mbarara Archdiocese.
Mr. Musinguzi Kenneth (from Buhara Parish, Kabale Diocese), head catechist of those who were undergoing formation in St. Kalemba on behalf of the commissioned catechists expressed gratitude to His Grace Lambert Bainomugisha who commissioned them and officially sent them out for apostolate. He thanked Bishop Callist Rubaramira of Kabale Diocese and Archbishop Lambert Bainomugisha of Mbarara together with Parish Priests for supporting them with school dues and other requirements. He also thanked their formators for imparting knowledge into them and their spouses for taking care of the families in the absence. Mr. Musinguzi appealed to their fellow catechists to serve above self to the God who has called them from among the many.
The Principal of St. Kalemba Catechetical Training Centre, Rev. Fr. Fulgentius Tushabe expressed gratitude to God for the gift of catechists in the Catholic Church. He said that of 88 catechists commissioned, 56 were from Mbarara Archdiocese, 31 from Kabale Diocese and 1 from Fort Portal Diocese. 52 catechists were men while 36 were women. Of these 88 catechists, 11 completed a 2 year course while 77 completed a one year course.
Fr. Fulgentius thanked God for the gift of St. Kalemba Catechetical Training Centre for it has served for 60 years (1963-2023) in the training of catechists of greater Mbarara. He thanked the Bishops for always supporting the training Centre and appealed for more support. He also thanked the staff (both teaching and non-teaching) for the dedicated services they render to the Training Centre. He concluded by appealing to the parish priests to send their catechists for formation so that the could serve the people of God better.