Forming a Brotherhood of Hope
Rev. Ronnie Nguvu, C.S.C.
The last half of the 20th century in Uganda witnessed tremendous political trials and tribulations and these circumstances greatly affected the cultural and spiritual well-being of the people. The situation tested even the most hardened missionary’s zeal for the mission. Should one withdraw to safety or stay in the midst of the perils to educate the minds and hearts of the nation and work for a world in which justice and love would prevail?
Despite the difficult conditions which caused many other religious to leave, the men of Holy Cross, driven by their missionary zeal, crossed borders of all sorts to educate, preach, and improve the lives of many people in Uganda. By coming and staying, they became hope for Ugandans.
To ground the mission of Holy Cross, the early missionary priests and brothers realized the need for training indigenous men to follow in their footsteps. From our earliest years in initial formation in the Congregation, these pioneers guided us in living together with brothers from other lands.
These men of Holy Cross were bound by the same Constitutions that bind us today: “to serve the Lord Jesus in mission not as independent individuals but in a brotherhood.” The growing numbers of African priests and brothers, myself included, are the fruits of their labors.
Today the work of formation continues so that we can continue to have laborers for the Lord’s vast harvest in our parishes and schools. Working now at the Novitiate, I realize that the spirit of service, perseverance, and mutual respect required in formation work is the same spirit that is required in hastening along God’s Kingdom in all of our apostolates. And so I am challenged by the zeal shown by those first Holy Cross missionaries to be zealous in the tasks assigned to me, that just like them, the men I help form will be hope for the people of Uganda of today and tomorrow.
Fr. Ronnie Nguvu, C.S.C., is a member of the District of East Africa (Kampala, Uganda).