Pastoral Thought

5-26-19

 

            Father James Okello is well known to almost all of you from his visits to St. Catherine’s over the past 8 years. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Gulu in northern Uganda, a heavily Catholic part of Africa. Eight years ago Father founded a primary school for children aged 5 to 8 named “St. Catherine of Siena.”  Many of you have given money and participated in fundraisers, not only to build the school, but also to help its operation. As you see from our exhibits, it has been a great blessing for many children who would otherwise lack schooling. Our own Mary Gispert has coordinated this, and we can’t thank her and she can’t thank you enough for this wonderful bond.

            In early May came some wonderful news. For the past two years Fr. James has been working in another area to start a parish and build it a large church. He has been appointed pastor of this parish. St. John the Evangelist in Paicho comprises 16 chapels (local congregations) with a total of 32,000 Catholics. His local collaborators in each chapel are lay catechists, men and women formed as disciples and trained as pastoral leaders for each community, i.e., on Sundays when Father cannot come for Mass, they conduct worship.

            I have a bond with Father James, something like a father, something like a brother. The vitality of the African Church, its many ministries, the joy people take in their faith, and the motivation it gives for human betterment are a great sign of hope. Before too long, I have to go over and share in Fr. James’ joy with his people.

Father John Hynes