Arua — Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect for the Evangelization of Peoples presided over a celebration on December 23 in the diocese of Arua, located in northern Uganda to celebrate the centenary of the arrival of the faith. The celebrations were also to mark the arrival of the Comboni missionaries to Uganda.
Cardinal Filoni expressed his appreciation to the faithful in living out their Christian ministry in the diocese. "I cannot help but express to you, dear brothers and sisters, all of my appreciation for the selfless service that you render so well to Christ and to the Church through your teaching of the catechism, your charitable outreach to those most needy, your education of young people, your reconciliation among families or divided groups, your assistance to the elderly, your help in the parishes, and your assistance with Sunday liturgies; in brief, your dedication through every form of apostolate and missionary animation," Cardinal Filoni stated.
"Be always men and women of goodness, reconciliation, holiness of Christian life, and peace."
The Arua diocese is part of the ecclesiastical prefecture of Gulu which also comprises the dioceses of Gulu, Lira, and Nebbi who have all recently celebrated their centenary as well. Faithful from ecclesiastical prefecture of Gulu were also present at the celebration.
The Italian prelate thanked the bishops and priests for the invitation to take part "in this Centenary of the Evangelization of this blessed land, where missionary saints, religious men and women, have literally spent their lives in giving birth to this Church in Arua."
"We cannot let this special centenary pass us by without pausing for reflection, prayer, and thanksgiving to God and with a sense of gratitude to all those who brought the Gospel to this place. We are the heirs of that great work of evangelization, which is now in our hands. We, who love the Baptism we have received, possess a sacred duty to continue their work, each according to the call and the grace entrusted to us by God, whether as Bishops, priests, consecrated persons or lay faithful."
Cardinal Filoni also emphasized the significance of the Advent season, saying that it is summed up in two words: "God comes."
The bishop of Arua, Rt Rev Sabino Ocan Odoki thanked the Comboni Missionaries for evangelizing his diocese.
"The diocese was founded thanks to the work of evangelization of the Comboni Missionaries. The Comboni Missionaries are still present in our diocese and we are very happy to have them with us," said the Bishop.
Among the most important realities created by the Comboni Missionaries in Arua is Radio Pacis, directed by Fr Tonino Pasolini, a Comboni.