An Attitude of Gratitude: Mission Focus on Uganda

Click HERE for the Life in the Missions- Focus on Uganda”  Information Sheet to distribute to your PREP or School Children tied to one of the the 2017 Catechetical Mission Resources. 

Click HERE for the Grateful and Giving Tree Mission Activity Heart Template also from the 2017 Mission Resource.

Read about the the Mission Focus on Uganda and enjoy the Grateful and Giving Tree Mission Activity with complete write-up below: 

Focus on Life in the Mission land of Uganda

Jinja is the seat of a Catholic Diocese headed by Bishop Charles Martin Wamika. The locals called the area the “Place of Rocks” – a word that sounded to the British that colonized the area like “Jinja.” And so, it was named.

Here live about 650,000 Catholics in the diocese with 89 priests in 21 parishes. They are spread across an area that is 250 square miles larger than the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Most people do not live near a parish church. They attend Mass—when it is available—at an outstation that is closer to their village. Because there are so few priests, some parishes may be responsible for 20 or 30 outstations and only have Mass every few months. Catholics still meet weekly for a Liturgy of the Word service to listen to the weekly Bible readings and learn basic faith formation.  The children also do the same and meet for 3 to 4 hours to learn about Jesus.

Reverend Alex Okello is the Diocesan Director for the Pontifical Mission Societies in Jinja, which is the parent organization of the Missionary Childhood Association. As part of his job, he travels to all the parishes and now the few local Catholic schools as well. Father Alex encourages the children to be as generous as they can with their time, talent and treasure as they grow in their faith.  As MCA members, students do service projects and sacrifice their time and talent—they clean the grounds, raise vegetables for the pastor to eat— because most of them rarely have spare change to give up. Most parishes and schools in Uganda have one communal box that all students can contribute to when they do have something to give to MCA.

Father Alex and Missionary representatives from the Diocese of Jinja, have traveled to the United States, including to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and spoken in our parishes about his life in the Missions and how our prayers and sacrifices make a difference to the children he works with.   Father Alex also spoke in the city of Boston.  After one of his visits there, at the parish of St. Peter’s, the students were inspired to run a lemonade stand, giving away the drinks for free will donations, if people would listen to a story about the work of Catholic Missionaries, especially in Jinja, Uganda. They raised $258.01 in one morning! 

Just like in the Bible, where the Apostles brought the Good News to everywhere, the Good News and works from Boston didn’t stop there. Father Alex went back to Jinja and spoke to his MCA students about the students’ prayerful efforts. He challenged his MCA members to “think outside the box” and do the same, telling them the story of Plymouth’s lemonade stand.

Jinja’s students rose to the challenge! They made and sold World Mission Rosary bracelets, hand-made jewelry and soap, along with tea and fruit juice, to their fellow students and parishioners and raised the equivalent of $38.57 for the Missionary Childhood Association!

Although they received a total of $31,000 from MCA worldwide for the maintenance of schools and orphanages, the students of Jinja sacrificed almost $200 so that other children can learn that God loves them too!

Here is an activity for children that are elementary school age to cultivate the virtue of gratitude.  After reading about children in Uganda or, perhaps below, about children in Zambia, this activity ties to identifying thankfulness for everything received from God.

Click HERE for the complete Grateful and Giving Tree Mission Activity.