Home Sweet Orphanage-Uganda………help! help!

About 132 miles along the Kampala- Masaka Road at a place called Kamuttuze, one easily notices this sign post. 10 km from this sign post deep into the villages is Home Sweet Orphanage.
Home Sweet Orphanage was founded back in 2002 in memory of Fr. Declan O’Toole a Mill Hill Priest who was murdered by armed attackers in Kotido.

Why in memory of Fr. Declan? Fr. Declan was significant in the life of one street kid, Robert Luwalira. One afternoon this street kid approaches Fr. Declan with a request for a coin! “Mpayo e kikumi”…meaning “Kindly give me 100 shillings”.(100 shillings is 0.04 of a dollar) Anybody who has met the street kids in Kampala is familiar with these words. Literally, the children are not only requesting for a hundred shillings, but are requesting for help. As narrated by Robert himself, this afternoon he was not asking for 100 shillings, but for lunch. Then, Fr. Declan goes with this kid to his residence, gives him lunch and there on they become friends.
Robert is later taken to a driving school where he qualifies as a driver. He is later to serve as a taxi driver. In 2002, Mr. Robert Luwarila is inspired to start this orphanage in memory of his late friend, Fr. Declan.

Why in Kamuttuze? Kamuttuze is Robert’s home area. It is one of the villages in Central Uganda that has been hit so hard by the AIDS/HIV scourge. This has left so many orphans on the village, and Robert was moved by the desire to help some of these orphans.

Our trip to Kamutuuze and to Home Sweet Orphanage: One month to my wedding with Sarah, I read an article from Robert as he showed concern about the crisis at the Orphanage. He exclaimed that he is now overwhelmed by the demands of the children, and is considering shutting down the Orphanage. He went on with a request to any potential individuals/organizations which can be able to adopt the Orphanage and take over the management.
Moved by this story, I asked Sarah if we could go and spend our honeymoon volunteering at this Orphanage. She was happy about it and gave me a go ahead. I informed a few friends, and some were kind enough to send in some support to take to the children. Unfortunately, we could not make it there for our honeymoon like we had planned. All the same, these children were in our hearts, and for two weeks we patiently kept a piece of our wedding cake to take to these children.

On Saturday we finally traveled to Home Sweet Orphanage. It was a six hours journey on bus and bodaboda(commuter motorcycles).
It was at around 1pm when we finally arrived, and we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Robert and some of the children who were at the Orphanage at the time. Singing and joy was in the air.

The orphanage is home for 50 children. About 10 of them are under 5 years of age and not more than 10 are above 12 years old. The biggest number of the children is between 6-12 years.

Thank God for the universal primary and secondary education that the government of Uganda introduced, those who are of school-going age go to nearby schools to study. The Orphanage only needs to provide scholastic materials.

Basically, there are 2 blocks/houses on the site. One long building doubles as the children’s dinning and dormitory. In here are 3 long tables and benches as dinning space, and not more than 7 double-decked beds. This means that most of the children sleep on the floor, while some share beds.

The other block has a classroom for the young ones who cannot walk to the nearby schools. The matron often gathers them here to teach them songs, prayers and storytelling. On this same block is the store and kitchen.

The Orphanage is blessed with a modern water system which was donated by Child Care back in the years. Using a generator, water is pumped from the ground to the storage tank, from where the children are able to fetch the water. Remember there is no electricity on the site, so they have to use a diesel generator to pump the water. Robert says, for the storage tank to be filled to capacity, they will need fuel worth 20000sh(app $10) and the tank is used up within 2 weeks. He had started on construction of a rain water harvesting tank with an aim of reducing the cost of fuel, and use in the flushing toilets. Due to lack of funds, neither the tank nor the flushing toilets were completed.

A piggery had been set up on the Orphanage as an income generating project, but as I write now, there are no pigs in here. Robert says they could not help but sell of the few pigs they had when the crisis hit hard.

What is the situation at the Orphanage as of now? Mr. Robert told us that he has operated the Orphanage for the past 10 years on his earnings from the businesses he runs in Masaka town, topped up by donations from individual friends in the UK. Over the years, these friends have been cutting down their donations and neither are his businesses doing well. This has caused him to think of closing the Orphanage, selling it off or handing it over to interested capable individuals/organizations to run it. He says he wants to take retire from this kind of ministry, and that is why he is constantly calling on individuals/organizations to adopt this orphanage.
The challenge is that he cannot reunite all the children with their families. Many of them are total Orphans, and their immediate relatives claim they are unable to look after the children. Over the years people have known this place as an orphanage, so some of the children are brought and abandoned here. He says there are about 20 children on the orphanage who came in such a situation. So he knows nothing about the families of such children.

In the meantime, Robert hopes that some potential organizations will come up and adopt the orphanage. May be some other capable orphanages can also consider taking on these children. As we wait and pray for all that, you and me can save the situation of the children. They need food and other domestic supplies. We were told, at the moment the children are only taking one meal a day, and in most cases this is only posho and beans. The orphanage is urgent in need of food. We need to come out and help these children.
The children need domestic supplies like washing and toilet soap, fuel for lighting their lamps ( though I would feel that a solar system is the best option. In the long run, solar is even cheaper than using Kerosene lamps). The children need Vaseline, more bedding, clothes and scholastic materials.
Though not clean enough, the children looked somehow healthy. They only need another matron to boost their personal hygiene. The only matron on the orphanage must be overwhelmed by the number of children that she has to look after. We were told, such a matron would require to be paid at least 100000sh($40) per month.
Thanks to the Medical Missionary Sisters of Kitovu, who offered medical cover for the children. Whenever anyone of them is sick, he/she can be treated at their clinic at no cost. Some of the children are HIV +ve, and whenever they need special attention, Sanyu Babies Home comes in to help.

I and Sarah, on behalf of Uganda Youth Ministry Association have committed to visit the Orphanage monthly, on the last Saturday of the month. Then we can take to the children whatever God is able to provide. Help us, partner with us for this generous cause. Send in your donations, and we will be very happy to deliver them to the children. Support the new Magazine, Your Sunday Visitor. Remember 50% of the funds raised from sales of this magazine goes directly to help these children. And lastly, tell your friends and family to come up and help.
Our next visit to the Orphanage is on 26th May 2012, and these are the items we would wish to take along for the children.

• 50kg of Rice $84
• 100kg of powdered milk $100
• 25kg of beans $37
• 25kg of Gnuts $53
• 10 bars of washing soap $20
• 50 pieces of toilet soap $42
• Books and pens $30
• 20 liters of Kerosene $25
• Diesel for the generator(water pumping) $25
• Vaseline and tooth paste $20
• 25 kg of Posho $32

Total $468

SEND US YOUR CONTRIBUTION NOW. Visit YOU TURNS, click on “Donate” and remember to quote,‘Donation to Orphanage,Uganda’.

Thank you so much and God bless you.


Your Sunday Visitor, a weekly Magazine

Your Sunday Visitor

When Jesus tells us that He is the Bread of Life, He is inviting us to His table at every opportunity.

If we have noticed it, the gospel texts of this week are taken from the gospel of John chapter 6. In that chapter, Jesus gives a long discourse on the bread of life. In fact in the gospel of John, Jesus seemed to be talking much more than in the other gospels. But Jesus is not just talking. In fact He is teaching a very important doctrine, especially when He uses phrases like “I tell you most solemnly”.

And He is not just talking about bread. Jesus is telling us that He is the bread of life. In the ancient world, bread was extremely important – it was a way of taking a crop that would otherwise not be edible and making it into nourishment for the body. There were few meals, if any, that lacked bread at the table. When Jesus tells us that He is the Bread of Life, He is inviting us to His table at every opportunity. He is telling us that He is our nutrition, our livelihood, the center of our being. Jesus is the Bread of Life: He sustains us day to day. He supports us moment to moment. And that goes without saying that at communion what we are receiving is not bread or just the host, but Jesus Himself. It is the Real Presence, and not a symbol, not a representation, not an imagination. Our reception of Holy Communion is a real encounter of Jesus the Risen Lord. Perhaps more important, He is the real bread of life – the Bread that leads to eternal life. And He has invited us to that eternal life in His banquet – the Eucharist. The Eucharist – body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ – is the center of our faith, the core of our being, and it is the real presence of Jesus Christ. He literally is the bread of eternal of life.

Seeking Jesus until one finds Him is a free gift which no one can obtain through his own efforts, although everyone should try to be well disposed to receiving it. The Magisterium of the Church has recalled this teaching in Vatican II: “Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth. Each time we attend Mass, each time we turn to Him in prayer, we should do so with the certain knowledge that He is the All and the Everything of our existence. He is not only the central food, but He is The Meaning. Without Him we do not lack merely nutrition, we lack being. Let us then celebrate the Bread of Eternal Life, the Brother, the Savior, the Lord of Love.

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation helps us to reach many other Truth-seeking readers worldwide, especially the youth. When you get to the link above, click Donate, and give a note “Donation to UYMA”. Thank you!

Jesus is pretty firm on this command:Proclaim the Gospel

Like all Christians, Mark was repeatedly called to humble himself. Mark accepted some of those calls. As Mark humbled himself, the Lord showed great kindness to him. The Lord promised: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted”. In Mark’s humility, the Lord exalted him by choosing him to compose one of the Gospels. The Lord even made Mark a canonized saint, internationally recognized for centuries as a model disciple. Even churches and cities are named after Mark. The Lord continues to work through Mark’s intercession and ministry in an amazing way.

Among the four gospels, Mark’s account is unique in many ways. It is the shortest account and seems to be the earliest. Mark the Evangelist was an associate of Peter and likely wrote his gospel in Rome where Peter was based. It is significant that Mark, as well as Luke, was chosen by the Holy Spirit to write the gospel account even though he wasn’t one of the twelve apostles. Augustine of Hippo, explains: “The Holy Spirit willed to choose for the writing of the Gospel two [Mark and Luke] who were not even from those who made up the Twelve, so that it might not be thought that the grace of evangelization had come only to the apostles and that in them the fountain of grace had dried up”.

Proclaim the Gospel. Jesus is pretty firm on this command. Sometimes I wonder why. If I have Christ in my heart, what is the big deal about him being in someone else’s heart? If I have a good relationship with Christ, why is it important to share that? Evangelism is way outside my comfort zone. Can’t it just be Jesus and me? Jesus says no. We must never forget that we are in the midst of an ongoing spiritual battle! For that reason, we must remain “sober and vigilant,” as today’s first reading tells us. Who are we fighting? “Your opponent the Devil,” Peter tells us, “is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Our battle is with the Devil, and we get our “marching orders” clearly in the next verse: “Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.” So there it is – we are to resist the Devil, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, and take heart that we are not alone. Throughout the world, in many countries today, Christians are undergoing much suffering. We must support each other in prayer, and always remember that after we have “suffered a little,” “God . . . will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

As Blessed John Paul II would say, “Don’t be afraid!” Remember, we are on the winning side of this battle! Let us fight it well, with the sword of the Spirit and the armor of God!

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation helps us to reach many other Truth-seeking readers worldwide, especially the youth. When you get to the link above, click Donate, and give a note “Donation to UYMA”. Thank you!

God created us to need daily spiritual nourishment

Across time and cultures, bread remains central to the family meal. Christ identifies with bread in today’s gospel. The crowd had been pushing Him to give them a sign and they mentioned the manna in the desert. Christ stated, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst.” This promise of Jesus addresses needs in us deeper even than our physical ones, and reminds us that we cannot live on bread alone. We have a right to material necessities, and an obligation to provide them for those who do not have them, but we would be deluding ourselves if we believed our or others’ hunger would be satisfied by this world’s goods alone.
The living bread faces stiff competition. A slang term for money is bread. To have no bread means you are broke. Nowadays, money appears as the power that sustains us. After all, with money we can buy almost anything. “You’ll find all your needs up on the shelves.” Even those who bake bread first go shopping. Most don’t look out their back window upon a field of grain. Our hands get dirty doing other things.

Similarly, God created us to need daily spiritual nourishment. Yet we don’t recognize the signs of our spiritual hunger as readily as physical hunger. Our spiritual recognition is dulled the further we move away from Jesus. For example, many Catholics skip Sunday Mass and feel no different afterwards. God fed the Israelites with daily manna. He wanted them to come to Him each day in faith for nourishment. Those who go to daily Mass regularly notice a difference when they aren’t able to go to Mass one day; they still come to Jesus that day in prayer and in His Word. Come to Jesus daily to be nourished. Then bring several anorexic people to Jesus.
A lifestyle of indulging in carnal desires results in losing our appetite for the things of God. The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; the two are directly opposed. The flesh will gradually put to death our desire for prayer, God’s Word, Holy Communion, and Christian community. Our lifestyle can make us spiritually anorexic. We starve to death spiritually, and starving people don’t have the strength to work.

As St Augustine said: ‘You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless till they rest in you.’ .Our appetite for God is insatiable: the goods of this world are not adequate to it. Only God Himself will suffice. God gives us the nourishment of the Eucharist—Christ Himself—for food and drink. Lord, be bread for my journey, and may others draw life from my communion with you.

Why do you follow Jesus? Ask yourself and reflect on this today.

In the first reading, we look at Stephen who was one of the first seven deacons, and is generally regarded as the first Christian martyr. There was no doubt as to Stephen’s exceptionally good character, and the miraculous power that he had been given by God. When the members of the synagogue could not answer Stephen’s arguments, they prosecuted him as a criminal and brought false witnesses against him. It is a virtue miracle of providence that not more Christians have been murdered, by way of perjury and distortion of law, when so many thousands hate Christians.
The blame lies within the heart of the sinful person, who, refusing Christ, testifies in a deceitful and desperately wicked fashion. Yet, while we are servants of Christ and like, Stephen, we possess a clear conscience, cheerful hope and divine consolation, we know we can smile in the midst of danger and health.

In the gospel some of the crowd followed Jesus in boats across the sea and when they found Him, Jesus pointed out to them that they followed Him because He had fed them, not because they were seeking the Messiah. Their motivation was strictly driven by a physical desire for food, but Jesus points out that they would be much better off looking for the food that brings eternal life. They followed Him for the wrong reason.
There are two kinds of hunger — physical and spiritual. Only God can satisfy the spiritual hunger in our heart and soul — the hunger for truth, for life, and for love. Jesus also spoke about the works of God and what we must do to be doing the works of God, namely to believe in God’s Son whom he has sent into the world. Jesus offers a new relationship with God which issues in a new kind of life: A life of love and service, and the forgiveness of others which corresponds to God’s mercy and kindness; a life of holiness and purity which corresponds to God’s holiness; and a life of submission and trust which corresponds to the wisdom of God. This is the work which Jesus directs us to and enables us to perform in the power of the Holy Spirit. God feeds His people when they need it, as He gave manna in the desert and bread to the thousands. God feeds His people the bread that brings life eternal.
What must I do to get to Heaven? Believe in the One and only savior, Jesus Christ, and allow Him to live, breathe and work in and through you! When working with teenagers, who are so worried about peer perception, feeling good about themselves, I ask them a simple question: What is more important: Feeling good, looking good or being good? I am pleased to announce that all of them will say, “Being good.” They all have Him inside of them! It is just a matter of getting Him and letting Him live!

Jesus is still with us – in the Eucharist, in the Spirit that dwells within us, and in our loving encounters with one another

Today’s first reading describes a scene in the Temple. It happens in Solomon’s Portico just after Peter has cured the lame man. As the man leaps for joy, a very large crowd gathers (later reports put the number at three thousand). Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, declares that it is God who has worked this miracle, and that what they have seen is another proof that the man, Jesus, whom they crucified, was truly God’s Son. We can imagine how those words must have pierced many hearts with terrifying guilt. They were the ones who had cried, “Crucify Him!” just a short time ago. Memories of God’s terrible punishments in years past must have crowded their minds. What were they to do? Peter’s words reassure them. Since they acted out of ignorance, God offers them salvation if they repent and believe. They must be baptized in His Name, and in the Father and the Holy Spirit. And they must spread the Word. This is the mission of every follower of Jesus!

The Gospel is even more exciting! Scene One takes place in the upper room, where the two disciples, to whom Jesus appeared on their way to Emmaus, have just returned, breathless and bursting with the news that Jesus is alive. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were privileged to walk with the Lord Jesus and experience His wisdom, compassion and mercy. They got to know Him through the breaking of the bread. Once they had experienced the powerful presence of the Lord at the table in Emmaus they could hardly contain themselves. They ran back to Jerusalem to tell the apostles what they had seen and heard. Even as they speak, Jesus suddenly appears to the whole assembly, throwing them into consternation and fear. With powerful persuasion, Jesus convinces them that He is not a spirit, but a human person, very alive. He asks them for something to eat. They give Him a piece of baked fish which He eats in their presence!

We, like the two disciples, are given a tremendous gift when we experience the real and substantial presence of the Lord in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. In that powerful Sacrament, Jesus gives us everything that He can possibly give, His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. The greater news is that Jesus is still with us – in the Eucharist, in the Spirit that dwells within us, and in our loving encounters with one another. He is here in our sorrows, supporting and strengthening us, keeping us on the journey that will inevitably lead to fullness of life, if only we are faithful. May we always remember that the gift of the Eucharist is given to us as stewards. We are to pass on to others the Lord whom we receive by bringing to the world His love, compassion and mercy. We are called to be witnesses. May we do so with clarity and integrity.

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation helps us to reach many other Truth-seeking readers worldwide, especially the youth. When you get to the link above, click Donate, and give a note “Donation to UYMA”. Thank you!