The Congregation of Holy Cross joyfully welcomes ten newly professed religious from the District of East Africa. On July 15, Fr. Cyprian Binaka, C.S.C., District Superior, presided and preached at the Mass of Profession and received the first vows of the following novices: Mr. Francis Amukasa, Mr. Moses Baruta, Mr. Deusi Bwambale, Mr. Joseph Isingoma, Mr. Ronald Katongole, Br. Martin Matsiko, Mr. Augustine Muhindo, Mr. Edson Onesmo Mwolekai, Mr. Joseph Rwebembera, and Br. John Marvin Kawooya Sebugenyi.
The novices had excellent preparation for this day. After being in lockdown since March, their biweekly ministry was suspended and was replaced with a weekly holy hour and extra conferences. Also, Fr. Willie Frank Lukati, C.S.C., former District formator, preached the pre-profession retreat on the theme, “Discipleship: A Call to Religious Life in Holy Cross.”
Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, attendance at the ceremony was limited to representatives of each of the Ugandan Holy Cross communities and the novices’ spiritual directors. Even the heavy wind-swept rains, which African tradition considers a blessing from above, did not diminish the joy of the prayer and celebration. The Liturgy concluded with words and gifts of thanksgiving for Fr. Tom Smith, C.S.C., who concludes 7 years as Novice Director, and for Br. Everest Neema, C.S.C., who completes 3 years as Assistant Director. Fr. Fulgens Katende, C.S.C., will continue on the novitiate staff.
To commemorate the occasion, the newly professed planted two trees on the border of the new community cemetery on the novitiate grounds. Fr. Richard Kyazze, C.S.C., generously volunteered to be “chef” for the day, and along with the novitiate support staff produced a wonderful luncheon, followed later in the evening by tasty roasted chicken and pork.
With the Uganda/Kenya border closed, the newly professed are currently living in local communities in Uganda until they receive the necessary clearance to travel so as to begin studies in Nairobi.
Less than a week later, on July 22, ten new novices – 1 brother novice and 9 seminarian novices – were formally received into the novitiate. Those who did not know Rutooro, the local language, spent the prior month in language studies in Kyarusozi. Br. Cleophas Kyomuhendo, C.S.C., new Novice Director, preached at the Reception Liturgy and formally received them into the novitiate. Fr. Fulgens Katende, C.S.C., presided at the Mass, assisted by Deacon Gabriel Lulu, C.S.C., who has joined the staff.
The novices immediately began a three-day, silent, orientation retreat directed by Br. James Nichols, C.S.C., former Novice Director.