“Many people have been through and are still experiencing difficult situations caused by Covid-19”.
This is contained in the Christmas Message of Catholic Bishops of Uganda under their umbrella body Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), delivered on their behalf by the Rt. Rev Joseph Antony Zziwa, Chairman Uganda Episcopal Conference on 23rd December 2021.
They said many people are still experiencing hard situations caused by Coronavirus commonly known as Covid-19, like loss of employment, other livelihoods, extreme poverty, and death of loved ones, violence of different forms.
“Alas do not lose hope, for Christ was born and took our burdens upon himself”.
In their message of peace that comes with the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Bishops expressed that, they are concerned that many things happening in families, communities and society are a departure from what God expects of human kind;
On disrespect for human life, the Bishops observed that malicious loss of life have continued to be witnessed due to criminality like robberies, terrorism mob injustice, and rivalries, inadequate health care and other evils, and appealed to all persons to respect life because is a gift from God.
The Bishops further in their Christmas message revealed that since the first Covid-19 lock down in 2020, there has been increase in domestic violence in families. They exhorted parents, children to love, care respect, forgive and listen to one another, since it is what brings harmony and peace in families and what God desires of humanity as in the letter of St Paul to Ephesians (Eph 5:21-33; 6:1-4).
According to Bishops, conflicts are inevitable in any community, but rather people must learn to live with and resolve them in a mature and responsible manner, mentioning that as members of the Church in Uganda, they have resolved to step up efforts to minister to families through various outreach pastoral programs on family life, counselling and in daily homilies.
About teenage pregnancy, the Bishops said since the closure of schools, thousands of children have gotten pregnant or married a situation that will render them to miss out the opportunity to continue with formal education.
“We condemn people responsible for abuse of children and call upon parents and guardians not to abandon them, but guide them in this difficult situation”, said Catholic Bishops.
On Health care, the Bishops observed that for over years, health care has been in some difficult situation that demanded more skilled and well-motivated human resource, better equipment and infrastructure noting that as bishops they appreciate efforts by government to improve the situation although more needs to be done, pledging that the church will continue to complement efforts in providing health services through different health facilities.
The Bishops also implored the leaders in the region to find lasting solution to the conflicts and armed violence which have contributed to the steady influx of refugees into Uganda, while acknowledging that the government of Uganda has done well in welcoming refugees through open door policy.
On Environment, the Bishops reiterated on the dangers the entire world is facing from climate change, noting that, deriving from the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis, Laudato si, that calls upon each one to take good care of the mother earth, the Catholic church in Uganda have taken several measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as tree planting drive, promoting solar energy and the use of charcoal and energy saving stoves among others.
He concluded by inviting Christians to live the Christmas spirit and allow Christ to dwell in their hearts, families and society while urging all to pray, and participate in the preparations of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will take place in October 2023 in Rome, Italy.
On behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Uganda, the Chairperson of Uganda Episcopal Conference also in the message welcomed to the Conference once again His Grace Paul Ssemogerere newly appointed Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, and His Lordship Raphael p, Mony Wokorach Bishop of Nebbi Catholic Diocese. End