Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Greetings in the Lord from faraway Uganda and the Diocese of Gulu and Eastern Uganda.
With the help of God and the blessings of His Beatitude, we strive to establish a Coordination Center in the newly established Diocese of Gulu of Eastern and Northern Uganda, so that the work of Mission will have all the means and facilities required to rest the souls of people who thirst to learn the truth, long for the message of the Gospel and the Testimony of Orthodoxy.
The Episcopal Council has already been set up to coordinate and prioritize the projects that need to be implemented depending on the needs of each region.
At the priestly gathering which took place on July 18, every priest presented the needs and problems of their own parish. Our struggle is very big and the road ahead long and difficult. Parishes should be better organized and new churches should be built to meet the needs of believers and catechists. As for the existing churches, where present, they should be repaired and smartened. There is also an urgent need for sacred vessels, holy vestments as well as Catechetical aids, from a simple small icon to books that will educate our priests and the faithful.
Naturally, the work is not limited to worship but also to social structures which will alleviate people’s pain. The project of renovating the St. Laurentius Medical Clinic, the only one in the region, will provide medical care to the inhabitants and improve their access to treatment. This Medical Clinic is in urgent need of new equipment, but due to the cost, there is some delay in its implementation.
Moreover, it is imperative that we build schools in every parish so that our children do not have to travel long distances under difficult conditions, which for many people is the reason why they remain illiterate.
Our region is so poor that we do everything in our power to provide food and clothing to those who knock on the door of our Diocese. That is why one of our main concerns and priorities is to buy some land in the fertile Parongo region of Northern Uganda, where land prices are still low, so that we can create a center where we are thinking of raising livestock and cultivating the land. This way, we believe we will be able to afford the operational expenses.
Furthermore, the need for drilling for drinking water is high. Costs vary depending on the terrain and depth, but it is ironic that for a few thousand euro, human lives are lost as they are forced to drink contaminated surface water.
As the Bishop of this newly established Diocese, besides the difficulties I am confronted with when getting around due to lack of a car, I have found myself in difficult situations, having to deal with human pain, poverty and ignorance. Day and night I turn my eyes to Heaven and ask for God’s help. At times of despair, though, a miracle happens. A donation coming from you, the friends of Mission, gives us some relief and the courage to go on. For such kind gestures, we thank you wholeheartedly and remember you in the sacred services as fellow missionaries.
Until we are able to stand on our own feet, we accept any and all help. And rest assured that nothing goes to waste. Everything is wisely managed with the fear of God and abundant love for the fellow human beings who will seek help.
In this newly established Diocese, I strive along with my Priests to keep our parishes alive with the slender means at our disposal. We do not lose hope though. Our primary concern and desire is to preach the Gospel of Christ, cultivate the garden of every soul, and comfort everyone who comes to us.
In this great undertaking, we all feel the need to thank His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore II, who is vigilant in tending the flock of God and prays for us all. He is rightly called the Patriarch of love and sacrifice, to the glory of the Triune God.
† Silvestros of Gulu