PRESS RELEASE FOLLOWING THE ANNUAL PLENARY OF THE UGANDA EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE

June 9, 2007

PRESS RELEASE

 

We the Catholic Bishops of Uganda meeting at our annual plenary at St. Augustine’s institute in Nsambya on June 4 -9, 2007 , have prayed, reflected and discussed issues and challenges facing the Catholic Church  and our Country.

We the Catholic Bishops of Uganda meeting at our annual plenary at St. Augustine’s institute in Nsambya on June 4 -9, 2007 , have prayed, reflected and discussed issues and challenges facing the Catholic Church  and our Country.

We spent a full day studying the legal duties and prerogatives of the Episcopal Conference in the framework of the Catholic Church. One such issue is the power to fix the minimum age of marriage. Keeping in mind the fact that according to the law of our country, in order to marry, one is to be at least 18 years of age, we have discussed the issue and submitted our views to Rome for approval.

We continue to support the efforts of our brother Archbishop John Baptist Odama of the Archdiocese of Gulu in his involvement in the peace negotiations in Juba. Once again we call upon all the parties involved to do everything possible so that people of northern and eastern Uganda regain their peace, freedom and human dignity.

We have discussed and evaluated the operations of the Catholic Secretariat. We commend the tremendous work carried out by the various departments for the people of God in our country. As some officers leave to take other assignments, we would like to single out and appreciate the services of Rev. Fr. Robert Binta- the Financial Administrator, and of Bro. Rogers Kazibwe in charge of Social Communications Commission. In order to sustain the continuity, Rev. Fr. Eustachio Lwemalika takes over as the Financial Administrator, and a new Executive Secretary for Social Communications will soon be appointed.

We are glad to announce that the revised Charter for Priestly Formation of our seminarians has been finally approved and will soon be published.

We have reflected on some burning issues affecting our society. We were touched by the conditions of the prisons in the country and we urge each Diocese to develop a prison ministry to cater for the spiritual and material needs of the prisoners. We have also decided to establish an Advisory Board of competent and wise lay people from the four ecclesiastical provinces to help us and the relevant departments of the Catholic Secretariat understand deeply the root causes and to plan adequate answers to the problems concerning the Family and the field of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation.

Finally, with the help of facilitators from the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA), Nairobi, we have started to reflect on the second Synod of Bishops for Africa that shall take place in 2009 in Rome. The process will involve consultations of all the faithful at grass root level so that the voice of the people of God in Uganda may be heard and contribute to the growth of the Church on the African continent.

 

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+Matthias Ssekamanya

Chairman

Uganda Episcopal Conference