THE GOLDEN JUBILEE OF SECAM AT LUBAGA CATHEDRAL, 21st JULY 2019
The Clergy and the Religious,
All People of God,
You are most welcome to the Archdiocese of Kampala! Soyez les bienvenues! Bienvenidos a todos! Bem-vindo a todos vocês!
In a special way I welcome the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, you are most welcome your Excellency. We thank you and your Government for the trendemous support you have given us in the preparations of this Golden Jubilee. The President facilitated the making of all the Chasubles that we are putting on.
I am greatly grateful to God, as the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Kampala, to witness the celebrations of SECAM’s Golden Jubilee and to host such a big number of its members here in Kampala. In my capacity as Archbishop of Kampala, I gladly welcome each and every one of you to this special and historical moment for the Catholic Church in Africa and Madagascar.
It was here in Lubaga Cathedral that Pope St. Paul VI, the first Pope to visit Africa, launched the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). It was also this very Cathedral from where Pope Paul VI gave us a very powerful message: “Africans be missionaries to each other” which has guided our apostolate in these last 50 years. In a special way we remember the Late Cardinal Emmanuel Nsubuga the then Archbishop of Kampala who took the courage to invite Pope Paul VI to come to Africa for the first time to honour the 22 Uganda Martyrs whom he had canonised in 1964.
For a full year since the 29th July 2018, we have in our various Parishes, Dioceses and Countries carried out different activities to celebrate the fifty tear old gift of communion in SECAM. We have had the opportunity to once again reflect on our nature as Church – family of God – and our mission to proclaim Jesus Christ our Saviour. It has been enriching for our Christians to appreciate the familial relationship we enjoy between God our Father and us his children, as well as the mutual familial relationship among ourselves as children of the same Father and of the same Mother Church. We have, even more, recognized that the work of evangelization is a responsibility of us in the Church family―Priests, Religious, Lay people – men and women, youth and children as well. Now that we have come to the climax of our Golden Jubilee, we have reasons to celebrate as a family in gratitude for the activities accomplished and the blessings therein received throughout the Jubilee year.
I recall with gratitude the opportunity I was given to make the introductory remarks at the launch of the Golden celebrations last year on July 29 in Lubaga Cathedral. I wish to briefly re-echo these remarks as we celebrate this historical event of our Golden Jubilee;
We remember the past with gratitude: There has been an abundance of good things: spiritual, material, individual and communal. Gratitude even for the moments of adversity; for it is through adversity that we are made strong and committed, we are tested and proven!
Live the present with enthusiasm: Let every sector of the Church on our Continent i.e. the family, priests, religious, young men and women, rich and poor, live our faith with enthusiasm and joy.
Let us look to the future with confidence; Self-confidence, confidence in fellow men and confidence in God. Many forces are conspiring to shake our confidence: wars, diseases, the fluctuating economy, threats of insecurity and conflicts, Religious fundamentalism, and extremism, witchcraft, satanic and cultic practices. There are also some religious groups which seek to undermine the Church. Basing ourselves on a firm, living faith we must go forward into the future with confidence: “BE NOT AFRAID” because Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
The Theme chosen for this Golden Jubilee is “To build the Church as a Family of God in Africa” in that spirit let us celebrate our Jubilee and bravely proclaim Jesus Christ our Saviour and guide of us all members of one family of God.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa and the Holy Martyrs of Uganda – Pray for us.
†Cyprian Kizito Lwanga
ARCHBISHOP OF KAMPALA