Servants and Neighbors in Jinja, Uganda

Along with my site partners Anna, Justice, and Avery, I have been so grateful to have such a wonderful start to my time with the Holy Cross brothers and priests in Jinja, Uganda. We have been so welcomed by the Holy Cross community, and there is an overwhelming presence of love and support among all members. Through living in community with the brothers and priests, and attending the national celebration of the Ugandan Martyrs Day Mass, I have witnessed the love, patience, compassion, and grace that the Holy Cross brothers and priests have shown towards each other and those they serve. 

The Martyrs Day Mass in Namugongo was such a beautiful display of celebrating God’s love for us and our commitment to Him. Millions of people from Uganda and neighboring countries came together to celebrate Mass and commemorate the 50 Ugandans that were executed for their belief in God. Hundreds of Catholic priests, including many Holy Cross priests, joined to provide the Mass and distribute the Eucharist to the millions of people. It was such a beautiful site to witness millions of people receive Holy Communion, sing hymns together, and profess their faith. After Mass, amid millions of people attempting to file out of the Namugongo, I watched Father George, C.S.C., agree to bless a young girl’s water, and then graciously bless close to one hundred cartons of water, rosaries, etc. as people lined up to him. It was amazing to see Fr. George’s patience granting so many blessings during a chaotic time. 

Every day, I witness the Holy Cross priests and brothers of Jinja acting as neighbors and servants to each other. They live in communion together – socializing together, celebrating morning prayers and Mass together, dining together – and there is so much joy and love among members. Each brother and priest is involved with the Holy Cross Lake View Senior Secondary School in some capacity, acting as teachers, administrators, counselors, etc. There is so much pride for the school, and the brothers and priests serve the students so as to support them completely. The girls and boys volleyball, net ball, and chess teams recently competed in a local tournament, and many of the brothers and priests went to cheer on the teams. The Holy Cross community in Jinja, Uganda, is one that is certainly filled with love, communion, and support, and I am so grateful to be a temporary part of this community.

By: Celia Faroh, one of nine students serving at Holy Cross missions this summer through Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.

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