Head of Laity Kampala Archdiocese Christmas and Happy New Year Message 2022
Dear Beloved people of God, praised be God Almighty who has kept us alive up to now. Many of our colleagues have left this world during this year under different forms of death and we pray that the most merciful Lord grants them eternal peace in his Heavenly Kingdom. As we celebrate Christmas and the upcoming New Year 2023, we should thank God for the gift of life, for the many achievements and for the many challenges He has enabled us to overcome.
I warmly congratulate everybody upon reaching this Christmas and New Year festive season. The year 2022 posed us with 2 highly dangerous and life threatening diseases namely COVID 19 and Ebola, but thank God the situation is now getting better! Let us continue being vigilant with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as guided by the Ministry of Health to guard against loss of more lives and facing life distortions brought about by the impacts of the two diseases (epidemic and pandemic).
Allow me to thank our Archbishop His Grace Paul Ssemogerere for successfully steering the Archdiocese through the year assisted by His Excellence the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, the Vicars General, Chancellor, Pastoral Coordinator, Episcopal Vicars, Monsignors, Parish Priests, Heads of Departments and all the Clergy, plus the entire Council of the Laity. We look forward to many more fruits arising from the good foundation laid this year and plans for 2023. Dear fellow Christians, you have also played an important role in sustaining and advancing the development of our Archdiocese at its different levels and corners and we are greatly indebted to you. We cannot adequately thank you or reward you, but we pray to God Almighty to abundantly bless and grant you all the happiness you so desire.
At this juncture, let me take this opportunity to warmly congratulate our beloved Cardinal His Eminence Emmanuel Wamala upon celebrating 96 years of age on 15th December 2022, 67 years of priesthood on 21st December 2022, 41 years as Bishop on 22nd November 2022, and 28 years as Cardinal on 26th November 2022.
We thank the Almighty God for his protection and pray that He continues blessing and protecting our Cardinal to live beyond 100 years. Dear fellow Christians, as we end the year, the term of office for the Pastoral Councils in Kampala Archdiocese is coming to the end and we have to renew our leadership. I hereby call upon all of you dear laity Catholics of Kampala Archdiocese to rise up and stand for elective positions at the various levels of Pastoral Councils including that of the Archdiocesan Head of Laity (Ssabakristu), when His Grace the Archbishop declares the roadmap for the election of new leaders. This is because God created all of us to Know Him, Love Him, Serve Him, and thereafter enjoy Eternal Happiness with Him in Heaven.
Each of us has to play his/her part in growing and sustaining God’s Kingdom by serving in his Vineyard. We need to have new blood, new energy and new brains/ideas in our church leadership for better results. This calls for the participation of everybody. Dear people of God, as we celebrate Christmas the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who was born unto us to bring peace in the world and free the oppressed, it is very unfortunate that in this country we still have abductions and kidnapping of our fellow Ugandans going on unabated and many abductees have not been released, or taken to court to be charged, or seen anywhere for a long time, yet some leaders when talking about the issue take it as a simple or joking matter without having any empathy for the families and relatives of those people! It should be very clear to our leaders that whatever the circumstances, the government has the absolute responsibility to protect the lives, rights and property of all Ugandans irrespective of who they are.
I also warn the abductors and kidnappers of our people that the people they torture and mistreat may be weak, incapacitated and unable to defend themselves against the oppressors, but God Almighty is watching and will revenge against the oppressors at the right time. It should also be recalled that a good number of years back, there was a regime when many people were abducted and kidnapped by people with guns and carried in the boots of cars popularly known as UVS, but where are those oppressors now? I therefore request our Government to always seriously address anything affecting the lives of the people of our country. Similarly, the security of our police stations should be strengthened to safeguard them against the increasing armed attacks which have left a number of our security personnel dead!
Dear fellow Ugandans, as we get into the new year 2023, I cannot forget to humbly request you to be committed to building a peaceful environment in every part of our country by being God fearing and peace loving people. This is in line with the two greatest commandments left to us by our Lord Jesus Christ namely; “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and Love your neighbour as you love yourself’”.
I conclude my message by wishing his Majesty Ssabasajja Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga, our Church leaders, all the National leaders who respect and promote justice, peace, democracy, human rights and freedom of association and all of you dear people of God, a peaceful and prosperous New Year 2023.
Aloysius Ivan Kalanzi Kyebatenda
Ssabakristu Kampala Archdiocese