The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni has just ended a visit to Uganda during which he presided at the closing events of the 50th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Kampala.
Addressing the young people of the Archdiocese on Friday morning Oct. 27, the Cardinal urged them to take Centre stage in the development of the Church in Uganda and Africa as a whole.
"Take in hand”, he said, “the development of your local Church and of your country. Always remember that the spiritual future, as well as other aspects of your continent and of this Nation, no longer depend on missionaries or agents of human development from Europe or from other continents. The future of your respective local societies, the future of the Church in Uganda, and that of Africa at large, depends on each of you!", cardinal Filoni said.
The Cardinal recalled Pope Francis’ visit two years ago and said he is in Uganda to rejoice with the faithful and thank God for the many blessings that the People of God in Kampala have received in the past 50 years".
He reminded the young people that both the Church and the society have much confidence and hope in them, saying "the history of the Church in Uganda clearly shows how young people can make a great contribution to the Kingdom of God and to the transformation of society.” The Uganda Martyrs he said “were young people like you. You well know that most of them were in their teens and twenties. Regardless of their tender age, they are rightly considered the “foundation stones” of the Church in Uganda". The divine seed, sown by the first Missionaries, continued Cardinal Filoni was able to survive and sprout, thanks to those twenty-two young men and boys. "Missionaries and the Martyrs sowed and nurtured the seed of the Gospel through great toil and self-sacrifice - he said -, but most of them did not get to see the results of their labors. You are heirs of the work of missionaries and martyrs, the Cardinal stressed. “You have the sacred duty to continue their work, to be shapers of the present and of the future".
Cardinal Finoli went on to commend them for their active role in the work of evangelization through various Catholic Youth Associations, which are excellent forums for personal growth in faith and fraternity.
After thanking the Archbishop of Kampala Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, along with his collaborators, for having set up such movements which offer a forum for participation in the mission of the Church, he went on to remind the young people gathered at the YES Centre in Kampala that next year’s Synod of Bishops will be dedicated to the youth.
And speaking about vocational discernment, that is the process of making a decision about one’s life, decisions such as whether to enter married life, or become a priest, or embrace the consecrated life, he urged the young people to listen to the voice of God and to allow themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit when making such decisions.
He concluded by calling on the young people of Uganda to set the right priorities in life.