Retracing Footsteps of Catholic Missionaries

KAMPALA, UGANDA – On February 17, leaders and laity of the Catholic Church in Uganda congregated at Kigungu in Entebbe, Wakiso District, to commemorate 136 years since Catholic missionaries arrived in Buganda Kingdom.

The White Fathers missionaries comprising Fr Simon Lourdel and Brother Delman Amans docked at Kigungu following the journey from Tabora mission station through Lake Victoria.
They sought to meet Kabaka of Buganda, Muteesa I, to seek his permission to convert Baganda from paganism to Christianity.

Uganda was unborn

In his book The Evangelization of Uganda, Challenges and Strategies 2003, Fr Frederick Tusingire states that the February 24, 1878 papal decree entrusted the White Fathers with evangelising in the Victoria Nyanza Mission.
Fr Lourdel and Br Amans were two of the five Cardinal Charles Lavigerie, the Archbishop of Algiers and the Apostolic Delegate for the Sahara and Sudan, dispatched to Victoria Nyanza Mission.

The other missionaries were Livinhac, Girault and Barbot.
“The rest joined them on 25 June 1879 and thus the remarkable work of planting and nurturing the Catholic Church in Uganda started,” Tusingire, notes.
Lavigerie is credited with founding the White Fathers, now referred to as the Missionaries of Africa, in 1867.
According to Tusingire, two years earlier, Lavigerie had met Daniel Comboni in Paris where the latter shared his ‘plan for the regeneration of Africa’.

Lavigerie, like many Europeans then, believed that European Christians, and particularly French civilisation, was superior to that of other continents and religions.
“He was convinced Christianity had duty to bring civilisation to the pagan world of Africa. The Africans had to be evangelised in order to be saved from the fire of Hell,” Fr Tusingire writes.
When he got to Buganda, Lourdel wrote a letter to Alexander Mackay, one of the Protestant missionaries in Buganda.
He requested Mackay to help the White Fathers get audience with Kabaka Muteesa.

However, Mackay, aware of the White Fathers’ French roots, told the Kabaka the ‘French do not like kings at all’ and that they had even killed all their kings many years ago.
Mackay added that Catholics demand obedience to the Pope, their spiritual head.
He made these statements to discourage the Kabaka from meeting the Catholics whom Mackay saw as rivals of the Protestants.

More details......

Source: DailyMonitor