The pastoral commission has departments which are as follows
In the past, priests were playing the role of what a catechist is doing today. There were no catechists, a part from the priests who were teaching catechumens, preaching, singing in the church and conducting liturgical services
Quite interesting is that all priests at the parish took part in catechizing the catechumens. Some children among the catechumens would emerge as catechists (helpers) of the priests by the end of the training. These catechists (helpers) were persons of high intellectual abilities, good morals, spiritually motivated, and with leadership qualities. They were chosen by the priests after emerging from other catechumens and basing on the above mentioned qualities. When the chosen catechist(helper) was found incompetent, he was stopped immediately and a new one was chosen
Empowerment of the chosen catechist would be done by being offered tools such as the catechism, the Bible, and cassock(tunic) to show identity. Even when the catechist was outside the church, he would be seen with a kanzu and a big cross on his chest. During that time, women had not yet been included as catechists
The training of the catechists was done through constant contact with priests in monthly meetings, moving with priests as later servers or acting as choir masters. Later, catechists were equally sent one by one to the established catechetical centres eg. Mugalike- Hoima Diocese, Ibanda CTC- Mbarara Diocese, the most of them were trained for three years and two years course
Students for the training would be selected after serving period of two years as catechists in their local churches but with full report of their capabilities to complete the course and serve faithfully in the future
At the centre, the parish priests would render full service to facilitate the student catechists, in terms of tuition, personal needs and transport to and from the centre to his home. Back at home his wife and children were helped in case of school fees and some domestic needs eg. Medical attention
Due to long distances for training, the catechists going for training at Mugalike and Ibanda reduced greatly. With this background, the diocese of Kasese thought of establishing a mobile catechetical centre, Nsenyi in 1990, with the help of the pastoral coordinator, Rev. Fr. Expedito Masereka and Mr. Augustine Tibaijuka as the first director. The mobile center was sustained by the Diocesan Bishop who offered a vehicle to enable the team reach and achieve their objectives. Later, the residential catechetical center begun in 1993 starting with three months and six months in 2003. Mr. Augustine Tibaijuka as the first Director was followed by Mr. Emmanuel Ngasirye( 1997-1998), Mr. Deogratius Byabanoba(1999-2004), Mr. Andrew Kahindanzogha Bulemu(2005), Fr. Peter Mubunga Basaliza(2006-2011)
The catechists would be sustained through receiving support from their local community members, by receiving physical goods, 10% from Christmas and Easter. Priests (parish priests) would keep helping the catechist financially voluntarily in time of need. Catechists were given second hand clothes, their annual pox tax to government agents was paid. The catechists’ wives were offered clothes and money to meet their domestic needs
Since schools belonged to the church, catechists’ children were offered free education, free exercise books, pens/ pencils and other scholastic needs. Catechists’ children were the most highly educated in the community because of free education from the mission schools. They were most disciplined children because mission schools were led by selected persons who had high quality morals
The centre was, however, sustained by grants from Rome, friends of the Bishop, and fees paid by the students.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:
To conduct catechetical instructions
To lead the people in their journey as a family
To guide the people achieve a spiritual goal
To coordinate Christians and other activities
To manage church properties(Land etc)
To live a model figure to the people of God
To represent the parish priest in the local church
Collect church dues and conduct liturgy
Promote catechists standards in terms of evangelization
To have trained catechists in the Diocese of Kasese
To organize follow up courses for the trained catechists
Have a joint retreat: students catechists and trained together with their wives
To teach catechumens from both villages and schools
To encourage lay apostolate groups/meeting
i. Married couples
ii. First Holy communion
iii. Mothers with formation for Baptism
iv. Mediating between priests and Christians
v. Lead funeral rites in absence of the priest
vi. Register some main intentions in his local church
vii. Attend local church council meetings and some marriage councils meetings
viii. Encourage spiritual exercises
ix. Bible study and social development work shops
x. Offer counseling services to broken hearted families
xi. Encourage the council members to facilitate the local catechists office with some facilities eg stationary and the books of accounts
Selection of catechist students (candidates)
Presently, these is no systematic way of selecting catechists. The centre relies on the mercy and good will of the parish priests, and parish head catechists in selecting the right candidates. No interviews and parish priest written recommendations have been made for a long time. The centre has not been sending admission forms to the parish priests for at least three years. Primary four and above is the academic standard for three months although we have some exceptions depending on the need of the parishes
The majority of the catechists selected by the parish priests have been males, and very few females are selected. For example, the centre did not have female catechist students in 2007 and 2008
The laity needs proper formation: we shall look briefly on how the catechists are presently being formed academically, spiritually, morally, socially, humanly and physically.
The following subjects are taught:
There are daily masses, a recollection once a month, life in the spirit seminar in January/February as they begin the year, morning and evening prayers in common daily, spiritual companions prayer and fasting for the staff on Thursdays, lay apostolate movement s (legion of Mary, and the catholic Charistic renewal) on Saturdays and Monday respectively.
Respect for one self and others, being trustworthy and faithful, good character, conduct and behavior in the community are emphasized
The catechists are formed to interact freely with everyone, have generosity a chance to visit the sick in Kagando Hospital every Sunday and pray for them.
At the catechetical centre, there are games and sports every Wednesday and Saturday (valley ball and football), manually work
No indiscipline case has been reported so far. The discipline of the catechist is excellent. The CTC has guiding principles and followed with love by the catechist. There is high a high level of maturity, understanding, perharps, because they are married or convinced of their call to serve God and his people.
There is a balanced teaching staff [2 priests, 1religious and 3laymen] the following is the academic standard:
(i) Two of the staff members have studied senior one year, and a two year course in mugalike CTC hoima.
(ii) A religious is there year trained in theological and pastoral studies (1banda-CTC mbarara diocese)
(iii) One teacher is a grade II in the teaching profession, trained for three years in Theological and pastoral studies (Ibanda-CTC Mbarara Diocese, Eldorest, Rome and a Six months Bible course in Isreal).
(iv) Two priests have a Bachelor’s Degree in philosophy and a masters Degree in Theology.
One staff member is a part-timer and is a parish priest.
Generally, the staff members are committed, serious with their work, cooperative, loving, caring; have concern for the college
There are projects at the formation centre and are geared to help the catechists learn to be self-reliant when they go back to their respective parishes. They will be mentioned in the achievements
ON GOING FORMATION
In this area not much has been done presently. On going formation, is primarily done by centre facilities, who got to parishes following the trained catechists, supervise and advise them to the new methods of teaching catechumens. This is done each holiday particularly at the end of each academic year.
This program is sustained by the bishop through the diocesan treasurer who offers fuel and maintain the vehicle, that enables the centre facilitators reach the parishes for effective teaching
The centre presently is sustained by Grants from Rome, friends of the Bishop, fee paid by the students (40,000 per term) and some extent projects at the CTC(agriculture). The board of directors decided that each catechist student family should be helped with 20,000/= (twenty thousand shillings) per term. The money is supposed to assist their wives and children. Unfortunately most parishes do not give the money to the families. It seems some parishes lack arrangement for this.
Presently, there is no organized system of supporting the catechists in the parishes. They generally rely on the help from Rome, the percentages of Easter, Christmas, Tithe, Sunday for catechists. However, all these are not uniform in the whole Diocese. Most of the catechists families are so poor that the majority fail to educate the children.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES
A college of catechists has been put in place
Majority of catechists serving in the Diocese are trained
Rev. Fr. Peter Mubunga Basaliza (2006 to date has been chosen to take lead of the catechetical centre as the first priest since it was opened 1990)
Lay people have been at one time been empowered to act as Directors of the CTC Nsenyi
Nsenyi parish gave part of its land for the operations of the catechetic centre
There is a Diocesan stable catechist’s council under Mr. Africano Byaruhanga as a chairperson and Rev. Fr. Basaliza Peter Mubunga as a chaplain; guided by the catechists council constitution approved by the Bishop
There is an increase of money generating projects for the centre, to manage the feeding of the student catechists eg coffee plantation, secured land at Mukunyu, a zero grazing cow, lockup shop
Director’s residential houses, staff house, dining hall, men’s dormitory have been constructed and a woman’s dormitory under construction
A choice of well trained facilitators has been including one rev. Sr. and one priest whose roles are to prepare students spiritually and academically
Water and power supply has been put in place
Women catechists have been allowed to train as catechists
Right time for retreats to catechists in the field have reflected spiritual improvement on catechists serving the local churches in the Diocese
Education standards of some of our catechists to up grade has been done eg some catechists have been selected on sponsorship to go back to school while managing their local churches
On-going formations have been organized eg. Course Paul, in Mairo-Ikumi (Nsenyi parish)
Some catechists have been installed Eucharist church ministers
Majority of catechists have taken advice to support themselves using the existing micro-finance institutions and also supporting their own micro-finance with 5000shs per year
Most parish priests offer percentages to the catechists from Christmas and Easter collection
1. Most catechist to go for training usually refuse due to lack of essential property that may sustain them at the college. The wives may not manage to stay back home without financial support
2. Some catechists don’t easily see the difference between the trained and untrained catechists
3. Some parish priests don’t comply with the recommendations given to them for their student catechists after the course
4. There is lack of trained personnel in the teaching profession at the CTC. Hence when supervising CTC students, inspection element misses a lot. This needs one to know the methods of lesson teaching
5. Fees payment is delayed by most parish priests
6. There is too much relying on donations to support the centre
7. No organized way of supporting both the catechists and their wives together with their children
8. There is a big gap between the clergy and the catechists
9. There is lack of retirement package
10. Facilitation for pastoral work for most catechists still lacks: in terms of transport, books eg. Bibles, catechism, Mugigi syllabus and hymn books
11. The CTC land still needs defined marked boundaries
12. Equipments for practical subjects at the centre still lacks (eg tool box, brick laying equipment)
13. Accommodation for full time catechists si still neglected in some parishes
14. There is no organized policy for forming catechists’ leadership
(a) CHOICE OF CATECHISTS
A catechist should be chosen by his/her local community, presented to the local church catechist, who should present him/her to the parish, to be recommended to the training centre by the parish priest in consultation with head catechist and the Christian community
Interviews are to be carried out by the CTC staff to the catechists applicants and admission forms sent to the parishes. Emphasis should be put on women catechists ro be trained
The present formation should be maintained. However, we recommended the following additions
Considering the level of education in the society of today, the persons to be selected should have the following academic qualifications
1. For three months course: should have completed primary seven as minimum academic standards
2. One year course: should have completed primary seven and above as minimum academic standard with a credit or distinction in three months course
3. Two years course: should have completed senior four and above or passed a one year course with a distinction if he is below senior four
Practical subjects should be taught for example tailoring, carpentary, bricklaying. This can help the catechists to be self reliant in the field. Music subject should be compulsory for all. In addition mathematics, English, accounts should be introduced.
1. Teachers at the CTC should be qualified teachers and efficient in their subjects in the college curriculum
2. Teachers should be Grade III and above or with diploma, a degree
Staff members should be sent for further studies in Theological and Pastoral Instituions like Eldorest and Rome
Persons like Grade three teachers and above without an intention of being catechists, but like to study theological and pastoral courses at the CTC should be given chance to be trained. The formation can help them to deepen their faith and perhaps at one time become catechists
We recommend a day for fasting for the catechists, make Holy pilgrimages, for example to Katoosa when fiancés allow
Catechists who have trained for:
Serves a local church
Leads local Christians
Conducts Sunday services
Collect church tithe
Can lead sub parish church
Can instruct: Mugigi, married couples
Prepare parents for infant baptism
They can do the following
Train married couples
Legible to be head catechists
Prepares catechumen for confirmation
Form part of on going formation team
Coordinate all lay apostolate groups in the local/sub-parish with consultation of the priest and head catechists
ON GOING FORMATION
Retreats and workshops should be organized annually
Upgrade courses be allowed to form personnel both at the centre and in parishes
Education standards be raised
SUSTAINING A CATECHIST AND THE CTC
The following recommendation are made:
In addition to the support from Rome, Missio-munich, the following contribution need to be made:
Enough land should be secured to support the feeding of the catechists
There should be local contribution from the Christians through:
a. Ten percent on the tithe and baptism fee to be given to the CTC
b. Food collection (beans, cassava flour, maize flour etc) should be made during harvest seasons
There should be remuneration offered:
3 moths course 20,000 per month
1 year course 40,000 per month
2 years course 50,000 per month
The above amount of money would be collected by the Christians where the catechist will be serving in agreement with the parish priests
1. Grade III teacher 150,000/=
2. Diploma teacher 200,000/=
3. Degree teacher 250,000/=
PART TIME TEACHERS
Grade three teacher 100,000/=
In the conclusion, combined efforts as a family of God in choosing, training and sustaining the catechists should be made. A well chosen catechist, with good training and sustainability can be able to make a very good evangelization in the Diocese of Kasese
Lay Apostolate generally means the care by members of the church towards their fellow members to help them live the life of Christ.
The purpose is that as we live the life of Christ we get the promises of God that is salvation.
In this case the mission of the church in making people live the life of Christ not only to bring to men the message and Grace of Christ but also to penetrate and perfect the temporal shphere with the spirit of the Gospel. In full filling this mission the laity therefore exercise their Apostolate both in church and in the world in both the spiritual and temporal order.
Here in Kasese Diocese the lay faithful tries to implement and full fill the above requirement through:-
1. Living a good example in their daily life
2. Coming together for prayers in their families and groups thus movements and Associations
3. Through joining various lay Apostolate Movement and Association
4. Receiving of sacraments especially Eucharist and penance
5. Visiting the sick and the lapsed and helping them to come back to the church who is the source of everything
6. Bible study in their homes through joining the various SCC
7. Offering material help to the needy
The laity in this diocese are organized in two ways
1. Through Apostolate movements
2. Through councils
These are organized and elected members from the faithful to help in the administration of the church. They are elected from the local churches to the Diocese level where the Ise Bakristo or head of laity is chosen
The challenge here is that most of the councils are only ceremonial so the synod has put in place measures of helping the councils to be pastoral oriented
LAY APOSTOLATE MOVMENTS AND ASSOCIATION IN KASESE DIOCESE
These are organized groups of the faithful accepted by the church where people come together to exercise their obligations to study and try to understand much about their faith and put in it in practice in order to become witnesses of Christ
Canon 300 puts it clear that a movement or association to call itself “catholic” must have the consent of a competent ecclesiastical authority, which according to canon 312 includes the Holy see, Bishop’s conference for national movements and associations and the en the Diocesan Bishop for Diocesan Associations.
The lay apostolate Movements and Associations in the church are of 3 kinds
1. These common to all faith full i.e. cleric, religious and lay faithfull
2. Those only for clerics thus ordained ministers
3. Those for the lay faithful only who are members of the church but not cleric nor religious
In this Diocese most of the Lay Apostolate Movement and Association mainly have the lay Faithfull as members. The cleric are the mainly as chaplains
The apostolate of the lay Faithfull fall under the 3 different categories of people. i.e. children, youth and adult. All these three before were coordinated by the lay Apostolate Department. However, following the resolution of the Uganda Episcopal conference of 1994 the three were separated into the youth Apostolate, children Apostolate (PMS) and adult Apostolate which is now commonly called Lay Apostolate
The movement and Association which are fully recognized by the church in this Diocese are:-
• Legion of Mary
• Secret heart of Jesus
• Devine mercy of Jesus
The first category of the movements were already in the church here by the time we received the diocese. This second category were introduced after the attainment of the diocese as seen below
• Pillars of St. Philomena (2004)
• Abakaiso (martyrs guild 2004)
• Catholic workers movement (2006)
• Catholic women association(CWA)
• Catholic professional of Uganda (CAPU 1990)
• Catholic Charismatic Renewal (1992)
• Cana fraternity (2005)
• Focolara (1991)
These are other movements and associations which started in this Diocese but never took pioneer, Teachers guide, Kolping, Santa Egidio among others
OBJECTIVES OF THESE LAY APOSTOLATE MOVEMENT AND ASSOCIATION
1. Evangelization of fellow Catholics through the proclamation of the gospel : evangelization means revealing Jesus Christ, his gospel and bring the gospel into all the strata of humanity and transforming humanity. Here evangelization if for two reasons:
a) Evangelization is to bring about the transformation of society which is aimed at liberating the human person physically, politically socially and spiritually this is what is called integral development. Pope John Paul II put it that “The church may be truly said to evangelize when solely in virtue of the good news she proclaims, seeks to convert both the individuals consciences of men and their collective conscience of all activities in which they are engaged and lives”. This means every activity done on earth should be a means of evangelization whether gardening, working in office, moving to market places etc Christ should be seen in whatever you do.
2. Evangelization is an imperative: Here for a Christian to evangelize is not on option but a must. Before his ascension Jesus commanded his followers to be his witness not only in Israel but to the end of the world (act 1:18) Earlier on Jesus has commanded his followers “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation”(Mark 16:15) this command applies to both the Pope, Bishops, clergy, Religious and the lay Faithfull. Vatican II puts it clear that “The principle duty of both men and women is to bear witness to Christ… this should be in their family social groups and in their sphere of their profession.
The general question here is how can the lay apostolate movements and association be strengthened to make sure that their first and main objectives is realized
TO IMPROVE ON PRAYER OF CATHOLICS IN FAMILIES
The need for proper Apostolate is very vital and family prayer is highly emphasized in these Apostolate movements. It is clear that the family just likes the church must be regarded as a centre to which the gospel must be bought. Pope John Paul II added on that “The family that prays together stays together”.
However there are two challenges in realizing this objective:- first is need for family to be Evangelized and family Apostolate to be strengthened. Two is encouraging families to evangelize
Here the church has to attach great importance to family Apostolate and every opportunity should be used to make sure that family prayer is strengthened and then families be charged to evangelize the neighborhood. Parents should help the children, then a family joins with the neighbors…hood and finally to the community in groups of association. Vatican II emphasizes “ Christian couples are for each other, for their children and relatives… witnesses of the faith. They are to pass it to their children and educate them in their faith”.
In each family the head does not only perform administrative duties but also religious ones as well. He or she is the parish priest of the family and its through joining these various lay apostolate movements that parents can be helped to understand and except this role. Life begins in a family and so faith should be built from the family.
TO HELP CATHOLIC DEVELOP A DESIRE OF RECEIVING SACRAMENTS ESPECIALLY EUCHARIST AND PENANCE
Faith in the catholic church is strengthened through the receiving of several sacrament. In Eucharist the Faithfull receives Christ in their lives who helps them to live a life like that of Christ. It also unites the people ie. “Communion” as we take from the same table and drink from the same cup.
Penance is also emphasized for it promotes the element of reconciliation among the Faithfull. This sacrament brings them together as a family where there is love, corporation, unity, God in this sacrament is seen as a loving and forgiving father.
ENCOURAGING CATHOLICS TO PUT THEIR FAITH IN PRACTICE
Its one of the main objectives of the lay Apostolate Movement to help and encourage the Catholics in this Diocese to live their faith. This in away makes them proper witness of Christ. To meet this objective, the members of various movements and Associations are being called upon to help people in need in all sphere of life
FOSTERING MATERIAL DEVELOPMENT
The various Lay Apostolate movement are encouraged to develop the whole person besides the spiritual part, the members are helped in areas of economic empowerment this is in fulfilling the mission of Jesus Christ as presented in John 10:10 where Jesus said come that we may have life in its fullness.
Full life is where the person is spiritually good, socially okey, economically strong and politically awake. Its among the general objectives of these lay Apostolate movements and associations to make sure that the gospel is real in daily life.
IMPROVE PRAYER LIFE
Prayer as communication with God is highly emphasized through the various lay Apostalate Movement. What is important here is to understand the real meaning of prayer, to develop a desire for prayer, to develop a desire for prayer and live a life of prayer. This is achieved through the various devotions.
These are some of the general objectives of the lay apostolate movement and association. However, each movement and association has other objectives on top of the above according to their devotion and spiritually.
In these Lay Apostolate Movements the following activities are done:-
• Prayer in our groups
• Bible study
• Visiting the lapsed and the sick
• Evangelization crusades in open air
• Home to home visitation
• Helping the needy in areas of physical needs
• Seminars and courses on church related affairs eg course Paul, economic empowerment, seminars, cana sessions
• Family life apostolate
• Pilgrimage especially to the places of the martyrs eg. Namugongo and Katosa
As earlier noted the lay apostolate movement and association have done much in areas of improving the lives of people on this Diocese in the following ways:-
Prayer life of the people has been improved. This is in areas of praying the rosary, praying with the bible, family prayer and others
In the areas of Evangelization the faith full and members of the Movements are able to take the gospel to follow men
There is visiting the sick and praying with them and reporting to the church ministers to have them administer the sacrament to the sick
Renewal of personal life is another achievement. Through our evangelization many people have changed their lives, some witch doctors have left their witch craft which we often collect and burn, marriages have been rectified and blessed in the church and a general change in people’s lives
Improvement in the use of the bible, members have been helped on how they can read the bible in their homes and groups not necessarily in the church. This has led to improvement in the understanding and love for the word of God.
The lapsed have been visited several times and some have come back to the church
Love for our church has developed in the members. Its clear that in most parishes they are the members of the various movements who do most work at the church like cleaning in and around the church, digging church gardens, and other physical duties as required by the church
Church attendance has also improved and also the reception of the sacraments has improved. The meaning and purpose of the sacrament has been emphasized in the movements
The evangelization mission is only left in the hands of the old, illiterate, poor and weak members of this family of God. The educated, young, male shy away from this work. They have not also joined the various movements and associations. This makes the mission not to be accomplished by all of us.
How to bring up the youth with positive values about faith and the joining of the different movements. So family evangelization is not preparing children properly to live in dignity and to reflect the true image of God in which the kingdom of God reigns
Being witnesses Is also a challenge, its said action speaks launder than words some members in these various movements do not live as witness of what they say Vatican II puts clear that “The very witness of Christian life end good works in an supernatural spirit, are effective in drawing men to the faith and to God and that the Lord has said, your life must shrine so brightly before men that they can see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven” (Mt.5:16)
So Christians should be encouraged to be true witness of the faith
The other challenges is the issue of sustaining small Christian communities if these SCC are well sustained they bring a base for bible study in homes and community and it could give a good example of “witness” to children who could later grow up as good Catholics
People also do understand the sacraments wrongly eg penance, some people think that reconciliation with neighbors can substitute confession in the presence of a priest.
There is competition between movements. This has caused rivalries in their activities
That all movements and associations should be established in all parishes in this Diocese in order for us to move as one family of God
That all Christians (catholics be encouranged to join at least one of the movements or associations of a personal choice)
That more seminars be organized by the diocese to various parishes and churches to teach people about various movements in the church and the spiritually their in
That one to register for sacraments like marriage and bronging children for baptism, ones belongings to particular lay apostolate movement should be a requirement which can be proved on production of a membership card
That each lay apostolate movement should be encouranged to give membership cards to its members and record books be kept at the parish
Spiritually should be emphasized in each lay apostolate movement and association
The members of the lay apostolate movements should be trained in biblical apostolate and interpretation in order to equip them in the Evangelization mission for our journey together as a family of God. This will help in interpretation of the bible and literal interpretation will be treated hence the true gospel will passed to all people.
3. PONTIFICAL MISSION SOCIETIES
The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) are the main organizations for the missionary animation and cooperation in the catholic church under the direction of the Pope (Holy see).
The church uses the organizations/societies to spread the Gospel truth and the catholic faith among the people in the world.
Each of the societies has its own specific identity, goal and means of activity (guidelines for SPA mission club 2005, P.7).
There are four pontifical mission societies;
1. Pontifical Mission Society for the propagation of Faith (PSPF)
2. The pontifical Mission Society of St. Peter apostle (SPA)
3. The Pontifical Mission Society of Holy Childhood or Missionary Childhood(MCH)
4. The pontifical Missionary Union (PMU)
These four (4) societies are placed under the congregation for evangelization of peoples, which directs and coordinates the missionary work and missionary cooperation throughout the world (PMS status 2005, P.10)
It is through the same congregation for the evangelization of peoples where the pope exercises his authority over the mission societies.
Why the PMS are called Pontifical
Etymologically, pontifical comes from the word Pontiff which means Pope. Therefore, the four societies are pontifical because they are societies for the universal church, under the patronage and supervision of the Holy see and the Pope stands as their international patron(A missionary handbook for children and animators-Uganda 2003, P.15). the societies are missionary because in them people are organized and encouraged to support evangelization activities of the church, to show the spirit of fraternity and collaborate with all other missions in the world.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF PMS
The PMS had a charismatic origin. They rose spontaneously from the people of God as private apostolic initiatives of the laity in the 19th century. They then transformed the adherence of the faithful to Christ into a lived missionary responsibility (PMS status 2005, PPII and 12).
The PMS were organized as pontifical after they became deeply rooted in the life of the church, and they acquired an international character on 3rd May 1922, under Pope Pius XII, with the exception of the missionary union which became pontifical with the decree of Pope Pius XII, on 28th Oct. 1956 (PMS status 2005, P.15).
As a gift of the spirit to the church and the fruit of the missionary zeal of its founders, the Pontifical mission societies have always encouraged the participation of all the faithful in the apostolic life of the church.
These societies rightly have the first place in the missionary cooperation as they are a precious instrument by which Catholics are imbued from infancy with a truly universal and missionary spirit and also a means for instigation an effective collection of funds for all the missions each according to its needs (PMS statute 2005, P.13).
Each society, in its own unique way puts into concrete reality the common call to promote the missionary spirits within the people of God.
Pontifical and Episcopal character of PMS
While they belong to the Pope, they belong also to the ‘whole episcopate’ and to the whole people of God. For this reason, the pontifical societies are Episcopal societies, rooted in the life of the particular churches (dioceses). They are promoted by the Bishops at Diocesan and National levels.
The specific objectives of PMS
Among many forms of service to the mission, the Pontifical Mission Societies have always had their main objective ‘the support of evangelization in the strict sense’ though not excluding involvement in the areas of human promotion and development, collaboration with the catholic bodies and association devoted to social and health assistance. Through the universal solidarity fund, the PMS give priority to assisting those churches in difficult situations and with greater needs.
They assist them to tackle their basic pastoral and missionary needs in view of their gradual autonomy, bringing them to a position of responding in turn to the needs of others.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE FOUR INDIVIDUAL SOCIETIES
The pontifical Mission Society for the propagation of Faith (PSPF)
This was an inspiration of Pauline Marie Jaricot, a young lady of fourteen years, in Lyon, France in 1822. She gave up all she had, and began working in the local hospital attending to the needs of some of the most ill patients. Following an appeal from her brother, a seminarian with the Paris Missionary society telling her of the poverty and struggle of many missionaries, she gathered working girls of Lyon into an association of prayer and almsgiving for the support of missions. She found various religious organizations to work for missions and promoted the ‘Living Rosary’ to pray for missions (a missionary hand book for children and Animators 2003,pp.35 and 36)
Before she died in 1862, she emphasized that ‘Each person should therefore see himself as a missionary for the propagation of the faith with the ability and will to contribute to the needs of the peoples worldwide’.
The society’s relevance and main objectives are:
a) To form the people of God so that they become aware of their worldwide missionary vocation
b) To inform Christians about the life and needs of the churches in Mission territories, through the exchange of news, sharing of spiritual values, solidarity in times of trial, moral and material support.
c) To increase spiritual and material assistance, between particular churches (diocese)
d) To promote education for justice especially of young people through information and social teaching of the church
e) To promote economic solidarity by appealing to the generosity of Christians throughout the whole world
The finances are used for
On-going support for pastoral and evangelizing programs of the catholic church in developing and mission countries
Construction and repairs of churches
Hospitals and clinics
Training of catechist
Its feast day is ‘World mission Sunday’ and the whole month of October is regarded as the ‘month of universal mission worldwide’.
1. Pontifical mission society of Saint Peter Apostle (SPA).
In Uganda, this is also called St. Peter the apostle Mission club in schools, seminaries and other houses of formation for the religious. The society is for both the youth and adults. It was founded in Cean France in 1889 by Jean Bigard helped by her mother Mrs. Stephanie Bigard.
The Society’s major objectives focus on:
a) Formation of native priests, religious brothers and sisters in mission countries.
b) Payment of pensions
c) Construction and maintenance of seminaries
d) Organizes world day of prayer for vocations
Therefore our prayers and donations show our desire to share the cares of those who bring the word of God to other.
The society’s feast day is ‘world day of prayer for vocations’ which is ‘vocations Sunday’ which occurs on the 4th Sunday of Easter.
2. The pontifical Mission Society of Holy Childhood or Missionary Children
It was on May, 19th 1843, by the Bishop Charles Auguste Marie De Forbin Janson, in Nancy, France.
Auguste loved the missions and asked the Holy father if he could go to China and take the light of the gospel. While in France, he became a greater preacher of the word of God and later on became the bishop of Nancy.
He met Pauline Jarict founder of the society for the propagation of faith, who presented to him the urgent need of the Chinese Children.
In 1843, Bishop Charles Auguste called the children of his diocese and said to the’Do you want to help me save the children who are suffering and dying in China?’
He then asked them a hail Mary every day and a small coin each month.
The children accepted his request, and from then the work of missionary Holy Childhood started.
In 1922, Pope Pius XI conferred upon it the title pontifical thus making it a society for the universal church, and recommended it for all catholic schools in all dioceses (Missionary handbook for children and animators 2005 P.17)
The society is guided by its universal motto ‘Children helping children’ and entrusted to the care of the infant Jesus
Relevance (Aims and Objectives)
a) A progressive awakening of the universal Missionary conscience and commitment in children
b) Helping children in poorer churches and regions by providing material and financial assistance. This is used in;
Construction of Nursery and primary schools
Care for the destitute children
Health care for the children in hospitals
Other scholastic materials
c) Helping children to deepen and share their faith and love with Jesus and with all the children in the world
d) Promoting vocations from an early age
The annual missionary days for the society vary accordingly;
At the universal level, the missionary day is the ‘feast of the Epiphany’
In Uganda, the national missionary day occurs on the 2nd Sunday of July
3. The pontifical Missionary Union (PMU)
Founded in 1916 by Fr. Paolo Manna, in Italy. It is a society for priests, religious men and women lay pastoral workers, major seminarians and catechists
a. To animate all the people of God for the mission, to spread and promote other pontifical mission societies, through missionary information
b. To foster Christian unity, ‘so that the world will recognize that it was you who sent me’ (Jn. 17.23)
c. To put all the church in a state of mission
PRESENT SITUATION OF PMS IN KASESE DIOCESSE
By 1987, the PMS and the pontifical mission Societies of Holy Childhood in particular was already in Kasese District in Nsenyi parish, which was by then under Fort Portal Diocese.
Presently the PMS department is operational with all the four societies, though not all are active.
Of all the four societies, it is only the pontifical mission society of Holy Childhood, which is very active and well spread in all the parishes in the diocese. The PMS department is headed by the diocesan Director appointed by the diocesan Bishop, and charged with the responsibility of coordinating the PMS activities in behalf of the bishop, and he is accountable to the diocesan Bishop and the national office of PMS.
The society of Holy Childhood has a coordinator, who helps the diocesan Director of PMS to coordinate the missionary activities of Holy childhood. It also has animators in all parishes
Unlike the mission society of holy childhood, the other three societies; Pontifical Mission society for the propagation of Faith, Pontifical mission society of St. Peter Apostle and the Pontifical Missionary Union have no coordinators, and their activities are not felt among the people in the diocese.
PMS ANIMATION ACTIVITIES AND ACHIEVEMENT
Since its inception in the diocese in 1989, the PMS had had many animation activities, and has achieved remarkable results
Below are some of the measurable ones according to the individual societies;
1. MCH has:
Organized and offered ‘school of missionary animators’ courses to MCH animators in all parishes in the Diocese
Procured MCH literature and other books necessary for animation and supplied them to animators in all the parishes
Procured a MCH uniform that is used on
Children days and other church functions
Procured audio-visual equipment to facilitate the animation of children and their animators
Have always organized and facilitated the children’s mission celebration in all the parishes
Translated into lhukonzo, and disseminated the Pope’s and the national PMS messages on the celebrations of individual PMS feast days; world day of prayer for vocations, MCH day, world day mission Sunday
MCH animation has helped children to undergo Christian instructions at an early age
The animation work has helped children to participate in church choir, and take readings during liturgical functions
Because of the animation, many have joined religious congregations, and some are already in the major seminaries
Children have learnt the importance of sacrifice and helping the needy
Helped children to learn how to prayer on their own
MCH has improved the children’s creativity
Formed some children’s spirituality and morality
Trained children to become leaders at an early age
Through animation, some children have learnt the order of mass/service, and the liturgical calendar
Children receiving sacraments at an early age(appropriate) age
Become aware of the need to pray for the sick
Promotion of vocations at an early age
2. Pontifical mission society of propagation of the faith
Celebrate of world mission Sunday
Collection of funds to support evangelization mission of the church
3. Pontifical mission society of St. Peter Apostle
o Celebration of vocations Sunday
o Collection of funds to support vocations (to the universal solidarity fund)
4. PMU( Pontifical missionary Union)
o Priests and catechists work together and are committed to their pastoral work
PMS MISSION ANIMATION WEAKNESS
Although the PMS has achieved some degree of success in its mission animation activities, the survey carried out in the whole diocese revealed some weakness which hinder the smooth functioning of the department
MCH – Pontifical Mission Society of holy Childhood
• Some churches/chapels are still lacking animators for the children
• Some leaders are incompetent
• Limited parental support in some churches
• Animation seminars given to both missionary children and their animators are not enough
• Some animators are not yet trained
• Some of the trained animators serve for a short time and leave, taking away all the animation literature and files for the society
• Limited pastoral visits to the children by the MCH leaders
• Some of the leaders sexually abuse the missionary children, and sometimes impregnate them
• In some churches, there is no enough information that can attract the children to their society
• Some animators are not willing to do voluntary work
• Peer group influence affects the children’s commitment
• It is still difficult to convince boys to join the society; over 90% of MCH members are girls
SPA (Pontifical Mission Society of St. Peter apostle, PSPF- Pontifical mission society for the propagation of the faith, and PMU- Pontifical missionary Union )
These societies have registered similar weakness
They have no leaders in the parishes and village chapels
There has been no senitization of Christians about these societies, so Christians are not aware of them. They only know of the world mission Sunday and vocations Sunday
Unlike MCH, these societies are not facilitated financially
People have not been trained on how to promote these societies in the churches
RECOMMENDATION TOWARDS QUALITY ANIMATION AND PASTORAL SERVICES
To facilitate Christians on “our journey together as a family of God”, the PMS, having in mind the promotion of evangelization in various forms, and having considered the peoples’ views, recommends the following as the best options for holistic, down to earth and integral evangelization in the next periods
Sensitization of the religious, catechists other lay leaders and all the Christian communities on the nature and importance of PMS in the church
Like MCH, each of the other three PMS societies should also have promoters in the parishes
Catholic teachers should be trained and be involved in the promotion of PMS activities especially in catholic schools
The catechists should be empowered to take the lead in the promotion of PMS to enhance evangelization
Have seminars for students
Have follow-up programs and refresher courses to all PMs promoters
To have well informed school chaplains and patrons of PMS
Formation of PMS committees to over-see their activities in all parishes
Provision of funds to coordinate PMS animation activities in the parishes
Regular seminars and meetings for all PMS promoters and the society members
Opening up Sunday schools to strengthen the children’ faith at an early age.
Giving some lessons (teaching) about PMS at the catechetical training center, Nsenyi
Addressing the weaknesses and gaps indentified in the PMS pastoral activities, and the implementation of the suggested recommendations will help us to walk together as a family of God, and ease the mission of evangelization in the Diocese.
In our society today, the young people are asserting themselves very strongly and are also exerting a lot of influence. Indeed, the young are a living and active in the church, and are at the centre of its interest and love; they are its hope. Along the same line, Pope John Paul II in his letter to the young people for the international youth year in 1985, he asserted that “the youth is precious in itself”, and that young people have a key role to play in the construction of the society.
The church, therefore, cannot ignore their importance. It is the youth themselves who should be first apostles to their fellow youth exercising the apostolate among themselves wherever they are; with reason, one can speak of the apostolate of hope when the young are evangelized and themselves become protagonists in the evangelization of non-Christian youth. The adults, too, are urged by the church to enter into friendly dialogue with the youth so that they may assist them through sound advice and guidance to develop them and to participate in apostolic activities. In the church those considered to be the youth are the boys and girls within the age bracket between 13 and 35 years. This is the group of which acquire special assistance to develop their talents and skills so as to have an integral development.
The global changes looming large in Uganda in particular and in the world at large have presented many changes in the lives of the youth. The most outstanding challenges to the youth are; poverty, unemployment, scourge of epidemics, mixed/foreign cultural behavior, alienating ideologies, social injustice, the lure of drugs and sex. Many youth have found themselves at the crossroads, and as a result they are greatly handicapped and at times they totally fail to choose what genuine and apostolic participation in the church is.
The aim of the youth ministry is to help and assist young people spiritually, socially, economically, as well as in leadership and to make them staunch Catholics. Proud of being and committed to evangelize his or her fellow youth.
On the world youth day in 1991, Pope John Paul II told the youth that they are the hope and wealth of the church and since they are of working age, he exhorted them to utilize that youthful energy to serve their church
The diocesan youth Apostolate office is one of the department of the lay Apostolate commission of the Catholic Diocese of Kasese. The Diocese of Kasese was erected in 1989 curved out of the diocese of Fort Portal with the Rt. Rev. Egidio Nkaijanabwo as the first ordinary. The youth apostolate office has been in existence since that time and it has made the youth programs more felt by the youth themselves. This was not very much noticed before we got the Diocese. Among the movements that existed in the parishes before the creation of the diocese were: Xaverians, young Christian workers and the Legion of Mary. However, their organizational structure was not well outlined up to the local churches as it is today.
Recognizing that the youth exist at different levels and takes an active role in the church at different dimensions, the youth apostolate was put in place to cater for this special interest group in its diversities. To achieve the main objectives the youth apostolate office developed a common vision and a strategy to facilitate their apostolate among the youth and their animators.
Apostolate movements are very important and indispensable. Pope Benedict XVI (in a homily during the eve of Pentecost Sunday, 3rd June 2006) refers to them as the gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church so that she may prosper during this time. These movements do quite a lot of work especially in deepening religion and directing Christians traveling on the theme of the word of God in their situations.
In our case, the Youth apostolate Office coordinates and monitors Lay apostolate movements like: Catholic agricultural Rural Youth Movement (CARYM), Xaverian, Young catholic workers(YCM), Young Christian students (YCS) and catholic Charismatic Renewal Youth Movement(CCRYM). These movements together with the parish youth councils from the Diocesan Youth Apostolate Council, Youth chaplaincy, whose mandate is to foster youth ministry in the Diocese.
The Diocesan Youth Chaplain serves as an ecclesiastical adviser to all youth movements and associations in collaboration with the Diocesan Youth Coordinator. As an ordained Minister, he ensures the spiritual growth among the youth and promotes integral vocation appropriate strategies in collaboration with parish youth chaplains.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF YOUTH APOSTOLATE OFFICE
To adequately network and coordinate the youth Apostolate
To identify and build the capacity of the youth leaders and animators through on going leadership formation courses
To increase access to quality and sustainable Youth friendly services
To organize youth in order to participate actively in Church activities
THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE YOUTH IN CHURCH ACTIVITIES
From the historical background of this paper, we notice that the youth exist at different levels and take an active role in the Church at different dimensions, and that they are a special interest group of people in its diversities that needs a lot of care and attention. In the case of Kasese Diocese, we notice that youth are actively involved in church activities. The following areas clearly indicate their involvement and participation.
Church Choir: Most of the church choirs we have in the Diocese are dominated by both male and female youth. Their involvement in the choir clearly indicates their active participation in the liturgy (Taking readings at mass and services)
Evangelization: Some of the youth are serving as catechists, carrying on the work of evangelization in some churches
Church Leadership: A number of youth are serving as leaders in some church council at local churches and parish levels
Participation in youth apostolate movements: some schools on going youth are active in the lay apostolate movements such as;
a) The Junior Legionaries imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary’s life and role of interceding for the Church
b) Young Christian Students (YCS) who are able to evangelize their fellow youth through their words and deeds following their motto, “SEE JUDGE AND ACT”.
c) Xaverian movement in some secondary schools is promoting the works of Charity
The above apostolate movements in schools have helped to improve the young people’s way of life, their morality and spirituality.
“The young are a living and active force in the Church, and are at the centre of its interest and love; they are its hope”. With the above statement of the Pope, the church is challenged by the life of the youth. This challenge poses a big responsibility to the Church as a family of God, to ensure that as she journeys on her way as a family and body of Christ’s words; “When I was with them I protected them in your name…” (John 17:12). The church, therefore, as the body of Christ has the duty to protect the young ones such that they are not lost, instead gain from her.
Spiritual life: some youths are receiving sacraments such as; matrimony confirmation, penance and Eucharist
Liturgical functions have been organized
Social life: The youth have socially benefited from the church
a) Some have been given national and international exposure tours
b) Behavior change, Education and life skill development for adolescent/young people programs have been offered to the youth all several levels. These help the youth to relate well with fellow youth and all people.
c) The Good Samaritan program has been put in place to help the youth and their parents develop good social relationships
d) For the good health and physical fitness of the young people, these have been a number of games and sports in some parishes to cater for the non-school on going youth
e) In schools, there have been programs on HIV/AIDS awareness
f) The church has trained people to help in youth animation in guidance and counseling
a) The youth have acquired skills in credit and savings through Micro- finance
b) There has been an effort to help and equip the youth with skills in agriculture through catholic Agricultural Rural Youth Movement (CARYM)
c) Some of the rural youth have joined the SILC (Saving and internal lending Communities) program especially the mountainous youth
d) From NAADS kasese town Council, 10 pigs have been acquired to support the economic well fare of the rural youth
a) The rural youth through civic education have been equipped with elementary skills in politics through the reprogramming and deprogramming seminars
a) Have been formulated right from the Diocesan headquarters to the village churches
b) There is also a good networking system for the youth both at national and international level
CHAPLAINCY: The Diocesan Youth Office has established a network involving the catechists, religious and parish youth chaplains to foster the youth ministry
The youth apostolate office has established a five year strategic plan
THE CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED BY THE YOUTH IN THEIR JOURNEY WITH THE REST OF THE FAITHFUL AS A FAMILY OF GOD
Unemployment: This has destroyed the morale of the young who are becoming aimless and restless, hence high criminality among the youth. According to the recent research, the following have been indentified
a) Research carried out by the prison’s chaplain- Diocese of Kasese, indicates that 85% of the inmates were youth, and worse still our catholics
b) More and more young people are living in trading centers and towns where the traditional bonds of family and clan ties are disappearing
c) The values of family and community life which guided people in the past no longer have a strong hold on the young
d) Families are falling apart and there are increasing numbers of single parent families and abandoned youth in our diocese. These are particularly vulnerable to the evils of prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse and we cannot forget the scourge of HIV/AIDS
Education: The rate at which the catholic youth are dropping out of school in Kasese Diocese is alarming. The drop out rate at secondary level is higher among the girl youth. For instance in a survey made in secondary schools in Kasese and Hima parishes indicate that the catholic youth are dropping out of school at the rate of 25% per annum. Causes indentified for these include poverty, home background and lack of models.
Participation in church activities: Despite the involvement of the youth in church activities, there is still a lot to be desired. This is seen from the following indicators;
a) Some percentage of our catholic youth is still passive members of the church
b) There are some young people who keep getting out of the church time and again unnecessarily.
c) Participation of the youth is tied to economic gains
Pornography: The media of getting information has expanded. There is a lot of pornographic literatures; papers, magazines and films, as well as on the internet. This has a lot of negative effects on the life the young. Some have acquired pervasive habits such as homosexuality, lesbianism and some have become drug abusers.
Early Marriages: This has remained a big problem among parents in some parts of the diocese. Some parents have forced their children to get married before reaching the recommended age of marriage and before completing their education aiming at quick economic gains
Pre-marital sex: This is common among the youth. It is rare to find a youth who is not engaged, and their engagement is characterized by a lot of sexual activities, and the aftermath of this have been:
a) High spread of HIV/AIDS
b) Unwanted pregnancies
d) Youth single mothers and
There is need for a collaborative/joint effort to help the youth out of the above identified challenges. There is a tendency of parishes dodging their responsibility towards the youth by always referring them to the Diocese; as a result, the youth are left hanging and helpless
The youth’s evasion of the catholic church
It is absurd that some youth are evading the catholic church, opting to be members of Pentecostal churches. The youth’s evasion of the church is one of the challenges in the youth ministry today and particularly in the diocese of Kasese
With the above, one can with reason speak of the apostolate of hope when the young are evangelized and themselves become protagonists in the evangelization process
Some of the causes identified include:
Boring liturgies, where some homilies fail to touch the lives of some youth. The youth want vibrant music that touches them emotionally during worship
Shallow catechesis, where most of our catholic church doctrines (dogmas) are not explained
Agents of evangelization(priests, religious, catechists, pastoral councils) have shown low interest in youth ministry
Failure to involve the youth in church activities has also made them evade the catholic church. If we are to journey together as a family, we all ought to work and live together as a family
Failure to attain financial assistance from the catholic church, they decide to find them elsewhere
The church shall Endeavour to utilize the services of the youth by promoting their educational programmes through sponsorship, by soliciting and securing employment opportunities for them and by involving them in liturgical functions
Intensive sensitization campaigns among the youth about self-awareness, poverty eradication, general development, drug abuse, global changes, and HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns through music dance and drama and recreation games at all levels. Establishing a fund to support the youth
Establishing a fund to support the youth activities(Ie Ensure that every collection realized on a youth Sunday is given to the youth desk)
Dialogue between parents and the youth will be emphasized so as to bridge the gap between the parents and the youth to help journey together as a family of God.
To enhance the spiritual growth of the youth, parents, church leaders and school administration should encourage the Youth to join youth Apostolate movements and associations like Legion of Mary, Xaverian, charismatic renewal movement, YCS,CARYM etc
There is need for a well equipped youth resource centre for recreation, apprenticeship skills and accessibility of information
The church should make music ministry a point of focus
There is need to respect the special interests and ideas of the young
The youth should be included in the parish annual budgets as a priority. The parish should be able to sponsor at least one youth groups already in existence in the project target areas
The church should put more emphasis on enculturation. This will help the church to promote edifying cultural values among the youth
The catholic youth should be encouraged to actively participate in government programs in order to achieve the eight millennium goals (MDGS) and these are
i. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
ii. Achieve UPE and USE
iii. Promote gender equality and empower women
iv. Reduce child mortality
v. Combat HIV/AIDS,malaria and other diseases
vi. Ensure environmental sustainability
vii. Develop a global partnership for development
As we journey together as the family of God, we have to keep close to our young people who must carry the mantles of success to every generation in the diocese. It is a project, which must involve every person of good will in our diocese. The common slogan “Young people are the future of the church”, indeed this beautiful saying should not stop at lip service but the practicability of it be manifested in the mission of transmitting and renewing the great message of salvation.