The landlocked East African country of Uganda has about 44 million inhabitants. With a population share of about 85%, Christians are the largest religious community in the country; of these, about 39% are Catholics. Nevertheless, the local Church is facing increasing pressure from Islamist extremists and the spread of sects. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has further exacerbated the material hardship of the Catholic Church. ACN therefore supported the Church in Uganda with Mass stipends and training grants in the reporting year.
In 2020, poverty in Uganda was once again significantly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The virus also had noticeable consequences for the Church of Uganda – especially for priests. For example, the ban on public church services for several months resulted in a total loss of collections.
Nevertheless, the lockdown did not lead to people practising their faith any less intensely. On the contrary: ACN project partners report that people prayed more privately in their homes and devoted themselves to reading the Bible.
In addition, many believers follow daily Holy Mass via radio, television or the Internet. Other challenges in Uganda in 2020 included severe flooding and landslides in the Diocese of Kasese in the southwestern part of the country, as well as one million refugees from South Sudan who continue to live in refugee camps.
Despite the lockdown, Christians have been intensively practising their faith.
These refugees are also receiving pastoral care. But despite what are often adverse conditions, there are many priestly vocations. ACN has therefore focused its project aid in Uganda in this difficult year on training grants for the seminaries and Mass stipends for priests.
From war refugee to catechist
John Joseph Gazi is one of millions of traumatised refugees in Uganda. He witnessed his father, sister and brother being killed before his eyes during the civil war in South Sudan. He managed to flee to the neighbouring country of Uganda, where more than one million South Sudanese live in refugee camps. Despite his difficult situation, John Joseph trained as a catechist to work for reconciliation and help people not to lose hope and faith. ACN funded his training. At the Emmaus Centre near the Ugandan capital Kampala, young people like him are trained to help their compatriots heal and overcome their emotional wounds.