KAMPALA, OCTOBER 21, 2014(CISA) – The Catholic Church in Uganda has celebrated 50 years since the 22 Uganda Martyrs were canonized at St Peter’s Basilica Rome by Pope Paul VI on Mission Sunday, 18 October 1964.
Coincidentally, the beatification ceremony of Pope Paul VI took place the following day on October 19 at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family in Rome.
According to Vatican Radio the function which was held in Lubaga Cathedral, Kampala, Uganda started with a congress that was followed by a Holy Mass.
It was led by the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda, Archbishop August Michael Blume, assisted by the Archbishop emeritus of Kampala Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, Kampala Archbishop, Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Auxiliary Bishop of Kampala Christopher Kakooza, Bishop emeritus of Hoima, Edward Albert Baharagate and Uganda Episcopal Conference Secretary General, Mgr John Baptist Kauta.
The Uganda Martyrs were Christian converts – 23Anglican and 22 Catholics — who were murdered for their faith by the King of Buganda between 1885 and 1887, after they refused to offer sacrifices to traditional gods.
Pope Paul VI was the first Pope in history to visit sub-Saharan Africa. He was in Uganda between July 31 and August 2, 1969. He was the first Pope to make a pilgrimage to the shrine at Namugongo, where he laid a foundation stone for the present minor Basilica at the spot where St. Charles Lwanga was killed.
Beatified by Pope Benedict XV on 6 June 1920, the Uganda Martyrs were declared saints after two nuns, Sisters Aloyse Criblet and Richildis were miraculously cured of the Bubonic plague through their intercession.
Though the martyrs were canonized in October, the main celebrations take place annually on June 3 which is the Uganda Martyrs Day in the liturgical Calendar.
KAMPALA, OCTOBER 21, 2014(CISA)- Uganda health officials have said that all suspected cases of the Ebola like Marburg virus had tested negative and those held in isolation have been released.
A 30 year old medical technician died from Marburg on September 28, 11 days after falling ill in a Kampala hospital where he worked, sparking alarm.
“At the moment there are no new cases reported or suspected,” senior health ministry official Issa Makumbi told AFP on Tuesday October 21.
Five people placed in isolation earlier this month had all been cleared and released, he added.
The Marburg virus is one of the most deadly known pathogens. Like Ebola, it causes severe bleeding, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and has a 21 day incubation period.
Uganda has passed more than 21 days since the last confirmed infection: that of the hospital worker who died.
But it is yet to pass the 42 day period needed until the complete all clear is given.
“We have to remain vigilant until we have been declared free of Marburg,” Mr Makumbi added.
Like Ebola, the Marburg virus is also transmitted via contact with bodily fluids and fatality rates range from 25 to 80 percent.
The Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 4,500 lives in West Africa since the beginning of the year.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Marburg outbreak in Uganda in October 2012 killed 10 people.
MONROVIA, OCTOBER 21, 2014(CISA)– President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has asked for more support to help tackle Ebola saying West Africa is at risk of losing an entire generation to the disease.
“Across West Africa, a generation of young people risk being lost to an economic catastrophe as harvests are missed, markets are shut and borders are closed,” the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said in a “Letter to the World” broadcast by the BBC on Sunday October 19.
“The virus has been able to spread so rapidly because of the insufficient strength of the emergency, medical and military services that remain under-resourced,” said President Sirleaf adding that the three affected countries were already in bad shape when the outbreak began.
“There is no coincidence that Ebola has taken hold in three fragile states Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – all battling to overcome the effects of interconnected wars,” she said, adding that Liberia once had 3,000 medical doctors but by the end of its civil war, which ended 11 years ago, the country had just 36.
According to the UN World Food Program, the Waterloo area in Freetown, Sierra Leone has 350 houses under quarantine with the number of people suspected of having the Ebola virus and infections in the district rising.
The current Ebola outbreak in West African is the worst on record and has killed more than 4,500 people, most of them in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“This fight requires a commitment from every nation that has the capacity to help, whether that is with emergency funds, medical supplies or clinical expertise… It is the duty of all of us, as global citizens, to send a message that we will not leave millions of West Africans to fend for themselves against an enemy that they do not know, and against whom they have little defence,” President Sirleaf said.
VATICAN CITY, OCTOBER 17, 2014(CISA)– Pope Francis on Sunday October 19 beatified Pope Paul VI, while celebrating the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.
In his homily the pontiff described Pope Paul VI as a “great Pope,” a “courageous Christian” and a “tireless apostle” reported Vatican Radio.
Pope Francis noted that it was Pope Paul VI who established the Synod of Bishops.
“When we look to this great Pope,” he said we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!”
“Paul VI truly ‘rendered to God what is God’s’ by devoting his whole life to the ‘sacred, solemn and grave task of continuing in history and extending on earth the mission of Christ,’ loving the Church and leading her so that she might be ‘a loving mother of the whole human family and at the same time the minister of its salvation,’” said the Pope.
While recalling the experiences of the Synod, a word which means “journeying together” Pope Francis said, “pastors and lay people from every part of the world have come to Rome, bringing the voice of their particular Churches in order to help today’s families walk the path the Gospel with their gaze fixed on Jesus.”
The pontiff gave thanks to God for the work of the Synod, and invoked the Holy Spirit to continue to guide the process as it moves toward the Ordinary Synod of Bishops set to take place in October next year.
KINSHASA, OCTOBER, 17, 2014 (CISA) – Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (CENCO) has condemned the attack on two catholic priests.
“It is unacceptable to blame the church personnel who, faithful to the hierarchy, exercise their pastoral ministry,” said a statement from CENCO.
The two priests were attacked on Sunday October 12 in Lodja, 750 km north of Mbuji-Mayi capital of Kasai oriental, the same day a convent was damaged.
The attack came after the priests reportedly read a Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference during Sunday Mass which criticized the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow incumbent President, Joseph Kabila, to vie for election for a third term, Fides reported.
In September, the bishops released a pastoral letter opposing a constitutional amendment that would allow the new presidential term. They cited a provision of the constitution that explicitly prohibits amendments to change the two-term limit. The bishops’ stand drew angry criticism from Kabila’s supporters.
In the message published on 14 October, the Bishops said that the pastoral letter “sparked a lively debate”.
Catholic priests and religious in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been threatened with violence since the country’s bishops opposed bid to allow President Kabila to serve a 3rd term.
The Bishops have organized three days of prayer, from October 17 to 19, all over the Country, “so that God may enlighten the future of the nation.”
President Kabila supporters have formed a group of “young Catholics” to petition the Vatican, calling for an end to the “interference of the Congolese bishops in national politics” but the bishops’ conference said the group’s leaders are not affiliated with existing Catholic organizations.