For the past two months Father Vincent (from our twin parish Holy Trinity in Uganda) and I have been pen pals, emailing each other and sharing news about our respective parishes. I asked permission from him to share with St. Mary’s some of his writings, and he said, “Yes.” This is an excerpt from one of his correspondences. He talks about sub-parishes, which he and one other priest visit.
About the Sub-Parishes I visit: My parish is very big and people don't have easy means of transport as there is in the States. When I was in the States, I saw that many people have cars and can drive to go where they want, so in a similar way, they can move easily from their homes to the Church to pray. But here it’s different, with no easy means of transport. If I count within the whole of my parish only two people have a car; two cars in the whole parish and even these are very old cars! Even though I need one myself for my ministry, I don't have one. So with this problem of transport, people cannot reach the main church. Here parishes are divided into different sub-parishes, and a sub-parish is headed by a catechist. In those sub-parishes we build a village church where people gather on Sunday to have a service, or Mass when a priest goes there. The priests try to do whatever is possible to bring services, as often as possible to the people. If they cannot come to the church, we try to reach them.
Holy Trinity parish is divided into 13 Sub-parishes, but so distant from the parish and from one another. Always at the beginning of the month (first Friday), we make a pastoral program to be sure that we get to all the parishes to celebrate Mass, celebrate other sacraments, visit the sick, elderly etc. And, we are only two priests here!
So we do a lot of traveling, very long distances, to do our ministry and it’s challenging because the people are poor and cannot support our services, I always believe in God's providence. Please, always pray for us.
It’s now dry season and there is a lot of dust on the roads, much too much. As I am using a small motorcycle for my transportation, so much dust disturbs its flow and makes it cough. I will send some pictures for you to see our dirt roads taken the last time I went to one sub-parish which is 20 kms. away from the parish main church. These are small structures and in some places we pray under the trees. Since the parish is big we go on different days to be able to visit all the sub-parishes in the month. Many people come to pray, for example 300, 400, 500 ....... depending on the area where you go, some sub-parishes have a bigger population than others.
I am happy sharing with you,
I wish you God's choicest blessings and love.
Waiting to hear from you,
Fr. Vincent Mukiibi