St. Paul Catholic Church, Mukono, Uganda
(This reflection was written by Tom Guszkowski, parishioner at St. Francis Borgia)
In the fall of 2011 our parish had the privilege and pleasure of hosting seven members of our sister parish, St. Paul Catholic Church in Mukono, Uganda for a period of two weeks. This delegation consisted of four women and three men, including the newly ordained associate pastor, Fr. Benjamin Lubega. The four women were members of St. Paul church’s Women’s Guild, a very proactive group of Catholic women who have initiated many worthwhile projects to the great benefit to the parish and the women of Uganda. The other representatives included a physician and an educator.
By way of background, this was the third visit to Cedarburg by members of our sister parish, the others having occurred in 2004 and 2007. Members of our parish had made visits to our sister parish in Mukono on three occasions, 2001, 2006 (led by our pastor, Fr. Tom Eichenberger) and 2009 (led by our associate pastor, Fr. Dan Janasik who visited within the first 30 days of his ordination).
The members of our parish welcomed our visitors with great warmth and the members of our Twinning Committee, led by Anne Pagel, planned and coordinated many activities during their two week stay, including apple picking, a Brewers’ game and trips to the Milwaukee County Zoo and to Chicago.
This visit presented our parish with the opportunity to share in Eucharistic celebrations of the Mass with our brothers and sisters who journeyed to Cedarburg from half-way around the world. These celebrations began with a procession of our visitors and members of our parish who had visited Uganda, all in the formal attire of the Ugandans. These were very moving celebrations and reaffirmed the universality of our Catholic faith and traditions for all of our parishioners.
One of the most significant experiences afforded to our visitors was extended by Archbishop Listecki, who invited them and members of our Twinning Committee to join him in the celebration of his First Friday Mass at the Seminary. The spirituality of this experience was enhanced because Archbishop Listecki invited Fr. Tom and Fr. Benjamin to concelebrate at the Mass. Afterward, Archbishop Listecki generously shared his time posing with our visitors for many photos and asking questions about their lives in Mukono. This was a heart-warming experience and made a deep impression on all who were involved in this event.
On reflection, we in Cedarburg received these blessings from the visit:
----We shared our hospitality with wonderful and impressive members of our universal Catholic Church who live 7,000 miles away.
---We received a unique insight into what might be called a Ugandan spirituality, which consists of a greater dependence on God’s care resulting from their more difficult lives than our own in America.
----We received a heightened awareness and interest in the economic and political activities in Uganda because our brothers and sisters are experiencing them in real time.
----Our spiritual lives have been enriched because people from half-way round the world are praying for us and we are moved to pray for them in return.
In summary, the visit presented us with the awareness that we are not only friends and members of the same universal church, but also brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.