Kabale Diocese joined the rest of the world in celebrating the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, a remembrance when Joseph and Mary presented the Child Jesus in the temple. The same day is observed for Praying for the Consecrated life (Religious Men and Women). The Religious Men and Women from different congregations throughout the Diocese gathered on February to renew their vows and commitment to the service of God. This was preceded by candle lighting and Procession into Rushoroza Cathedral.
While preaching during Mass celebrated in Our Lady of Good Shepherd Rushoroza Cathedral, Bishop Callist Rubaramira reminded the consecrated men and women that the light of Christ which they received at baptism should be rekindled day by day as they journey in the consecrated life. He also urged them to always listen attentively to Jesus and know what he wants of them. He said the perfect example of the who practiced this was the Blessed Virgin Mary, who did more of listening and contemplating.
In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day for women and men in consecrated life. This global celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd every year.
The celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life, which will be observed for the first time on 2 February, is intended to help the entire Church to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels and, at the same time, is intended to be a suitable occasion for consecrated persons to renew their commitment and rekindle the fervor which should inspire their offering of themselves to the Lord – Pope John Paul II on January 6, 1997.
Bishop Callist Rubaramira also announced that the Holy Father has decided that 2025 will be a year of Jubilee and according to the tradition of the Catholic Church, after every 25 years, there is celebration of Holy Year. The religious February will start their preparations for the celebrate this Holy Year and will be climaxed next year on February 2, 2025, when the consecrated Men and Women will celebrate in their own countries, and the whole Catholic Church will celebrate in October. The theme is “Pilgrims of Hope”, and it will be a year of hope for a world suffering the impacts of war, the ongoing effects of COVID-19 pandemic, and a climate crisis.
Bishop Callist said the Church in Nigeria is under great persecution and requested the religious to pray for the people in Nigeria and called on intense prayer for the conversion of the world. He also called on members to continue advocating for the protection of environment. He thanked those who participated in cleaning the environment (Rushoroza hill) and urged them to plant trees especially fruit trees in order to conserve the environment and also get food. He reminded the religious that Kabale Diocese has embarked on the financial sustainability and requested them to invest positively in order to transform their revenue because ‘aggressive’ poverty has hit Kigezi sub region. Every parish in Kabale Diocese was urged to start at least 3 projects in order to have income generated so that Christian are not burdened with financial collections.
Sr. Scholar Kyobutungi, Superior General of the Daughters of Our Lady of Fatima thanked God for the gift of life and for sustaining us. We are called to reflect on or vocation and service in our various communities, implementing our charisms. She thanked the chairperson of the Association of the Religious in Uganda (Kabale Chapter) for preaching Laudato Si by cleaning and caring for the environment. The sisters and brothers held cleaning on Thursday.
As we prepare for the Lenten season let us have Laudato si at the back of our minds, consideration of of the poor among others. As an individual and community, continue being a reflection of Jesus’ face in the world. The world is aggressively trying to influence us, how ready are we to stand against it? Commitment to listen to the cry of the poor, universal brotherhood/sisterhood (preferential option for the poor) and implementation of Laudato Si (being friends of environment). Be close to those who have poverty of love, loneliness, belongingness, bearing in mind to hat we are doing the mission for the same God. See the face of God in every creature especially those that society pushes to the margins – Sr. Scholastic Kyobutungi, Superior General of DOLF.
As we start the preparations for the jubilee of consecrated life and the holy year 2025, it calls us to conversion, to prayer and to repentance. This jubilee involves renewal, rediscovering the sense of fraternity not forgetting our charisms. May our hearts be open to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.
In her remarks, Sr. Anosiata Atwiine, DMJ, Chairperson of the Association of Religious in Uganda (Kabale Chapter) expressed gratitude to God for the big turn up of the religious priests, brothers and sisters. She welcomed the new members who had been transferred to Kabale Diocese. She thanked the Bishop for the homily delivered and the message of Holy Father inaugurating the year to prepare for She also appreciated all the members who heeded the call to implement Laudato Si which turned out to be ‘a preaching without talking’. She urged members to always turn up for the celebration as it’s the only day in the year when we come together and the religious to celebrate together as one family.
Congregations, Institutes and Associations for Women Religious in Kabale Diocese include Holy Family Sisters, Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC), Daughters of Mary and Joseph (DMJ), Little Daughters of St. Joseph, Missionary Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, Medical Mission Sisters, Sacred Heart Sisters, Daughters of Our Lady (Benebikira), Daughters of Mary (Bannabikira), Our Lady of Fatima (DOLF) and Consolers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Abahumuza). The Institutes and Societies for Men include Brothers of Christian Instruction, Brothers of St. Joseph the Worker, Spiritan Fathers and Apostles of Jesus.