KAMPALA – The Catholic Church in Uganda is ready to host the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the African Bishops Assembly under SECAM, due in country July 19-29 this year, Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa, and the Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference has said.
Bishop Zziwa says the country expects over 400 international guests that have confirmed to attend the celebrations to mark the 50 years of The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), with delegates from Africa, Europe, the US, Asia, and others.
The delegates include Cardinals Archbishops and Bishops. Pope Francis had been invited to preside over the celebrations but earlier in the year, the Pontiff informed President Museveni that he was not able to make it.
It is understood that the Pope will be represented by a delegation from Vatican, which is likely to include the African Cardinals serving at the Holy See — Peter Turkson from Ghana, Robert Sarah Guinea, and Archbishop Protase Rugambwa of Tanzania, who works as the Secretary for the of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples at the Vatican.
On May 10, Bishop Zziwa launched a fundraising drive at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala, intended to raise about UGX one billion that is needed as part of the local church’s support to organising of the celebrations and praised the role of the laity Christians in supporting the church. “The SECAM Golden Jubilee will require some funding and it is for that reason that we are gathered here to look for support of individual companies and other people of good will to assist us in raising about four billion (Shs4 billion), which is our budget. The funds will be used for accommodation, upkeep, food and transport of the delegates and organization,” Bishop Zziwa, who was flanked by SECAM Vice President, Bishop Mathieu Madega, of Mouila, Gabon and SECAM the Secretary-General, Fr. Joseph Komakoma said.
The UEC Chairman said the Ugandan bishops are always happy and proud of the contribution of the laity to the growth of the Church, and for the support rendered to her projects.
Bishop Zziwa announced that a Core Organising & Planning Committee has since instituted at the begging of the year was at the forefront of the activities.
The SECAM Organising Committee is headed by Msgr. John B. Kauta, the Secretary General of the Uganda Episcopal Conference. Key Committee heads include the President of the Catholic Laity in the country Mr Gervase Ndyanabo for Protocol & Security, Fr. Dennis Lwegaba for Liturgy; Fr. Phillip Odii heads the Publicity and Communications, Ruhinda North MP Thomas Tayebwa for Finance and Fundraising, Dr. Emmanuel Kiiza Aliba for Construction and Sanination, Dr. Patrick Birungi for Transport and Ms Cissy Kagimu for Reception and Welfare.
Msgr. Kauta said the committee has been working very hard to prepare everything possible for a successful celebration. He reported that President Museveni had already donated the vestments to be used during the celebrations and had offered government’s support to pay the costs of hotel accommodation for the delegates to the celebrations.
“I want to thank the committee, and especially the Finance subcommittee under the leadership of Mr. Thomas Tayebwa, which is working very hard to make sure we organize the celebrations successfully,” he said.
During the fundraising launch, a total of Shs180 million was raised in cash and pledges. The Chief Fundraiser, King Caesar Mulenga donated Shs25 million. His financial pledge was announced by Dr. Francis Runumi, who represented him at the function.
Mr. Mulenga also bought a portrait of Pope Francis at Shs15 million. Other prominent donors included Bukedea District woman MP Anita Among (Shs20 million), Mogas Chairman Mr. Godfrey Rugazoora (Shs10 million), Centenary Bank (Shs10 million) and Eng. John Bosco Kariisa, who bought a portrait of President Museveni at Shs10 million, Gen. David Muhoozi, (Shs1 million), and Lt. Gen. Joseph Musanyufu (Shs1 million).
The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) is a body that brings together all Catholic Bishops in Africa was born in Uganda at the time when St. Pope Paul VI visited the country in 1969.
It is the body that brings together all the Catholic Episcopal Conferences of Africa and the Islands to work in solidarity and collegiality at pan African level to promote the Catholic Church’s participation in education, spiritual, medical, social and economic development of the continent.
It was founded in Uganda
The Bishops of Africa, during one of their recent plenaries, decided that they hold the organization’s golden jubilee celebrations here in Uganda, where it was also founded.