The Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), Most Rev. John Baptist Odama called on Catholics to “open the doors of the political system to Christ.

Addressing the participants on 11th, October, 2017, at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Kampala during the opening ceremony of the Missionary Congress to honour the celebrations of the Centenary of Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU) and the Golden Jubilee of Vatican II Decree known as Ad Gentes Divinitus (Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity), Archbishop Odama said Catholics living by the value of the gospel should open the doors of the political systems to Christ for effective governance to transpire.

“We as a Catholic Church exist for missionary work and we must live for it and do it. Here in Uganda the Catholic Church is only 139 years old but has the message of Christ reached to everybody? Are all Christians living by the values of the gospel? Therefore, we can’t rejoice for the 100 years of PMU without realizing how much missionary work is left to be done in our country. The political systems that we have must be opened to Christ to avoid all appalling acts that we have been witnessing recently,” said Archbishop Odama who is also the Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese.

He added that, Catholics led by the Holy Spirit should eradicate tribalism by all means and learn to change this attitude to be a gift of God but not an enemy to one another.

“As Catholics we should open the doors of our cultural systems to Christ and open the doors of our hearts from tribalism. That face that you are seeing right next to you is consistently the image of God, and he termed it ‘as love that person as I love you’. Thus we have an obligation to consistently recognize his presence. Missionary work means to love,” he explained.

Most Rev. John Baptist Odama, President of Uganda Episcopal
Conference delivering his speech at the opening of Missionary 
Congress to honor the centinary of Pontifical Missionary 
Union (PMU)
The Congress, which is underway until 14th, October, 2017, is held under the theme, ‘Mission Concerns Us All: A call to Animation and Cooperation’ (cfr Mk 16:15). It has been organized by the Pontifical Mission Socities (PMS) national office of the UEC.

According to the National Director of PMS, Rev. Fr. Philip Balikuddembe the PMS General Assembly of 2015 sitting in Rome encouraged the national conferences to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Second Vatican Council which was promulgated on 7th, December, 1965. However, at its last Annual General Meeting in 2016, the PMS National Council resolved to combine the two events to honour the two institutions and reflect on their contributions towards missionary work in Uganda and elsewhere.

The five-day event attracted 171 delegates from the four ecclesiastical provinces in Uganda and these include: Bishops, the Religious, Diocesan Pastoral Coordinators, Diocesan Education Secretaries, Diocesan Head Catechists, Diocesan Heads of the Laity, Diocesan Women Leaders, PMS Diocesan Directors and Animators. The Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda, His Excellency Michael August Blume and the President of the Episcopal Commission for Missions, Rt. Rev Damiano Giulio Guzzetti were also in attendance. Delegates from five African countries including Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and South Africa also participated. Botswana and Swaziland were represented by the delegates from South Africa.

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