By Spy Uganda
The Orthodox Church has honored President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for maintaining Peace and Stability in Uganda and the whole region.
At a ceremony to witness the consecration and official opening of St. George and Andrew the Apostle Church and a Secondary School in Lwemiyaga, Sembabule District on Sunday May 7th, 2023, the President received an accolade for his good leadership and in recognition of his support to the activities of the Orthodox Church in Uganda.
The Vice President Major (rtd) Jessica Alupo Rose Epel delivered the accolade to the President at State House Entebbe on Monday, which was given to him by His Eminence Chariton Ilunga, the Archbishop of Kananga in the Democratic Republic of Congo who represented His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II.
President Museveni in a message delivered by H.E Alupo, thanked the faithful of the Orthodox Church in Lwemiyaga, for their generous contributions towards the completion of St. George and Andrew the Apostle Church and a Secondary School, which will extend educational services to the surrounding community.
“The NRM government recognises the contribution of the Orthodox Church in extending social services to the people of Uganda, especially in the health and education sectors. The Church has continued to partner with the Government in lifting the population’s standards of living through construction of schools, hospitals etc.,” the President noted, saying it’s a clear indication that the Church cares about the material needs of the believers.
President Museveni emphasized that whereas spiritual nourishment is important, it is not the only aspect of the Christian ministry. He believes a holistic and relevant ministry must express equal concern for the physical needs of the faithful because while here on earth, the believers too, have physical needs like food, clothes, shelter and medicine that must be satisfied.
“Therefore, I call upon all religious leaders to join hands with the Government in the wealth creation campaign to eliminate poverty. Poverty, in Uganda, arises from the fact that 39% of the households are still engaged in subsistence farming. They are still working only for food. This is dangerous because in addition to food, there are other human wants required to live a happy and long life,” the President said, adding that human needs have a monetary value, meaning they can only be obtained through the medium of money.
The ceremony was attended by His Eminence Archbishop Leronymos Muzeeyi of Kampala and all Uganda, His Eminence Archbishop Innocentios Byakatonda of Burundi and Rwanda and His Grace Bishop Archimandrite Panaretos of Nyeri and Mount Kenya.
Others were Orthodox Bishops in Uganda; His Grace Bishop Sylvester Kisitu (Jinja and Eastern Uganda), His Grace Bishop Nectarios Kabuye (Gulu and Northern Uganda) and other religious leaders.
Political leaders included State Minister for Health (General Duties) also Mawogola West Constituency MP Anifa Kawooya, Hon Theodore Ssekikubo who represents Lwemiyaga County, Hon Joseph Ssewungu Gonzaga and Hon Katabaazi Francis Kalungu for Kalungu West and East respectively among others.
President Museveni also welcomed an accolade given to him by the Reverend Sisters of St Francis who celebrated 100 years of existence last Saturday May 6, 2023.
The accolade was in appreciation of the government’s support to the Catholic Church and their activities and most importantly, appreciating H.E. the President’s recognition of the founder of Sisters of St. Francis Sister Mary Kevin Kearney locally referred to as Maama Keviina who was offered a medal in 2014 by President Museveni.
At the ceremony held at the Sisters’ Mother House at Nkokonjeru, Buikwe district, Her Excellency the Vice President Jessica Alupo represented President Museveni and delivered his message.
The President congratulated the Little Sisters of St. Francis upon reaching their 100th Anniversary saying, the celebration is a testimony of their faithfulness to God and mankind since 1st May, 1923.
“I join you to celebrate the vision and wisdom of Sister Mary Kevin Kearney and her companions, who laid a solid foundation for the Little Sisters of St. Francis. I commend the Little Sisters of St. Francis for your devotion to the fight against poverty, disease and ignorance in the communities,” H.E Museveni said. He thanked Sr. Rita Christine Nakitende, Superior General, for her good stewardship and the warm invitation extended to him.
President Museveni commended the Catholic Church for maintaining a cordial relationship and partnership with the NRM government, in working towards the socio-economic transformation of Ugandan society.
“The Church has exploited the private sector-friendly policies of the NRM government to extend social services to the public. For instance, faith-based institutions have constructed a number of schools and hospitals across the country,” the President added, describing the gesture as proof of the Church’s concern for the material and physical well-being of the believers.
He however rallied believers to participate in income generating activities to sustain their households like Jesus Christ, who besides preaching the good news, was also a carpenter.
He said poverty in Uganda is caused by subsistence farming i.e., working for the stomach only which is dangerous in the modern era where all goods and services needed to sustain life must be bought with money.
“Therefore, I call upon the religious leaders to encourage our people to select profitable enterprises in the four sectors of: commercial agriculture, with the correct calculation; industries; services and ICT. These are the sectors where households can generate jobs and incomes,” H.E Museveni said, and reassured them of government’s commitment to maintaining peace and security in the whole Country; construction of the necessary social and economic infrastructure, as a way of facilitating and attracting local and foreign investments to create jobs and incomes for Ugandans.
The ceremony was attended by the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda His Excellency Luigi Bianco, Archbishop Paul Ssemwogerere of Kampala, the Bishop of Lugazi Diocese Christopher Kakooza, Bishop Emeritus Matthias Ssekamanya of Lugazi and the Superior of the Reverend Sisters in Uganda Sr. Ritah Christine Nakitende.
Others were guests from the USA, Canada and from East Africa who delivered messages of peace to H.E President Museveni and Uganda at large.