Comboni Missionaries Celebrate 100-years in Uganda
December 16, 2012 was a joyful day for the Catholic Church in Arua Diocese, north western Uganda, as they celebrated the centenary of the Catholic faith in this Church. The Comboni Missionaries arrived to share the faith with the people here in 1912 with a mission station at Palaro, near the town of Adjumani, on the eastern side of the river Nile.
As missionaries, we rejoice to see that the Church grows. The faith, as a seed, has grown into a big tree. The Catholic diocese of Arua has many faithful lay missionaries, priests, religious, and missionaries who are sons and daughters of the soil. The mission station of Palaro was later abandoned due to various health problems including sleeping sickness. This caused the missionaries to cross the river Nile and go to evangelize the western side of the river.
During the celebration in December, Fernando Cardinal Filone, the Prefect of the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, was main celebrant at the closing Mass at Indriani, an open place not far from where the mission of Palaro stood. The Comboni Missionaries, including Fr. David Baltz, originally from St. Louis, Mo., carried the cross. This was a reminder of the cross the missionaries planted in evangelizing the world.
"I cannot help but express my appreciation for the selfless service that you render to Christ and the Church through teaching of catechism, charitable outreach to the needy, education of young people, reconciliation among families or divided groups and assistance to the elderly," Cardinal Filone remarked.
Arua Diocese, which has 1.2 million Christians, runs a number of health facilities including Maracha Hospital and 12 health centers spread throughout the districts of Arua, Adjumani, Moyo, Yumbe, and Koboko. The diocese founded schools such as St. Charles Lwanga Secondary in Koboko, St. Joseph's College Ombaci, and St. Mary's Ediofe, which continue to dominate academic performance in the area. It also operates rehabilitation centers, notably the Moyo Baby's Home and Don Dino orphanage center at Ediofe in Arua.
The Church has made a great impact on Arua society. Most schools, hospitals, health centers, roads and other infrastructures in the region were constructed by the Church.