1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
St. Charles Lwanga Town Parish became a Parish in 1993 and is located right in the heart of the rapidly growing Fort Portal town in Kabarole District, Western Uganda. It is comprised of four church centres: Town Church Centre (with 15 SCCs), Kagote Church Centre (with 3 SCCs), Nyabukara Church Centre (with 8 SCCs) and Buzinda Church Centre (with 3 SCCs). The Parish serves both the pastoral and social needs of people dwelling in town and those in the various villages of the outstations.
In terms of size, the parish covers an estimated 50 square kilometers having a radius of about 4 kilometres. It is generally small in size as far as territory is concerned but with an ever-growing population and hence the great demand for pastoral/spiritual services. Its strategic location gives this parish a wide range of advantages in comparison to other parishes including services like banking, health services (hospitals and clinics), quality education at all levels (schools), access to the district offices, etc.
The Parish covers parts of Fort Portal Municipality (East/West/South Divisions) and parts of Burahya County (Kicwamba sub-county). It is a mixture of both urban and rural settings. This is seen from the population who lives in villages but come to work (on weekdays) and to pray (on weekdays and Sundays) in town. Therefore, traversing the entire Parish one meets with various challenges both geographical/physical and social/pastoral. The former include steep hills, valleys swamps, bad roads, etc; while the latter include crime, homeless, little or no land for development, poverty, archaic traditional methods of farming and general living, illiteracy, etc. These are some of the problems and challenges that pastoral agents in this parish have to address. However, due to the presence of people of diverse cultural and social backgrounds, the parish boasts of “unity in diversity”. Also the parish suffers from the spirit of indifferentism because most people have quasi-domicile status.
• Fr. Francis Bamanyisa-Parish Priest
• Fr. Peter Kaija – Curate
• Fr. Cyril Tumwesigye – Chaplain Fort Portal Regional Referral
Hospital (Buhinga) and Kabarole Hospital
• Sisters of Mary Immaculate (working in Town Church but residing in Virika)
• Mr. Francis Leader, Kagote Church Centre.
• Mr. Andrew Irumba, Assistant Catechist, Kagote Church Centre..
• Mr. Godfrey Kabuga, Catechist, St. Charles Lwanga Town Centre.
• Mrs. Teddy Kapimpina, Nyabukara Church Centre.
• Mr. George W. Bomeera, Assistant Catechist, Nyabukara Church Centre.
• Mr. Charles Manyindo, Head Catechist, Buzinda Church Centre.
• Mr. Serapio Nyakairu, Assistant Catechist, Buzinda Church Centre.
• Mr. Friday Edward, in charge of Catechumens
III. PASTORAL ACTIVITIES:
a) Town Church Centre – Sunday Masses:
7:30 am – Mass in Rutooro
9:00 am – Mass in Rutooro
11:00 am – Mass in English
5:00 pm – Mass in English
b) Town Church Centre – weekday Masses:
• Monday to Saturday, Mass at 7:00 am.
• Monday to Friday, Lunch hour Mass at 1:00 pm
- Mass in the Outstations of Kagote, Nyabukara and Buzinda, every Sunday except 3rd
- Eucharistic Adoration: Thursday at 7:30 am – 6:00 pm at Town Church Centre.
- Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance), Saturday at 7:30 am – 8:30 am and 5:00 pm
– 6:00 pm on Thursday from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm at Town Church Centre.
- Home visits to the sick and homebound in SCCs all across the parish, Wednesday and
Thursday at 10:00 am.
- Open day to Christians in the Parish Office (Parish Priest), every Tuesday.
- School Apostolate: The Curate is in charge of all Primary, Secondary and
Tertiary Institutions (Business schools). He organizes the activities, makes the Rota
and may request the help of the other priests.
- Prison Apostolate: The Parish Priest is in charge of the organization of the
Pastoral activities in Katojo Prison. However, as a parish we are assisted by the
Holy Cross Community from Saaka; priests and novices go for Sunday Mass or
Services. A priest from the Parish goes to Katojo once a month. We have had some
prisoners baptized and others confirmed after receiving catechetical instructions. One
in a while when we pay them a pastoral visit, we carry for them relief items like soap,
second-hand clothes, shoes, foods, money, skin creams and jelly, etc.
- Hospital/Clinic Apostolate: The major hospitals are: Fort Portal Regional Referral
Hospital (Buhinga) and Kabarole Hospital have a Chaplain ( Fr. Cyril Tumwesigye). However, we assist him as need arises e.g. whenever called upon by our own parishioners who insist on being visited by a priest from this parish, or when there are emergencies in the absence of the Chaplain. We thus remain committed only to the various clinics in town.
- Mass Healing Service: We have Mass with healing service once every month, on the third Sunday.
Prayers and testimonies begin at 1:00 pm and Holy Mass begins at 3:00 pm; thus this
Mass replacing the usual 5:00 pm Mass. This practice has helped in curbing the
danger of conversions to other sects.
- Parish Choirs: There are two major choirs at Town Church: St. Cecilia which sings at
9:00 am Sunday Mass and Sacred Heart Choir which sings at 11:00 am Sunday Mass.
The 7:30 am and 5:00 pm Masses at Town Church are led by spontaneous groups who
volunteer to sing like the Youth, Teachers of Banyatereza Golden Jubilee Memorial Primary School, Agape Choir etc. However, Kagote and Nyabukara Churches have their own Choirs. It has been the with of the Parish administration that the combination
of all these choirs forms the Parish Choir which may preside over Parish celebrations
e.g. during the Bishop’s pastoral visit, on Parish Day, Harvest Sunday and any other
occasions or celebrations on parish level.
IV. PARISH INFRASTRUCTURE/PROJECTS:
a. THE MAIN CHURCH: The Church building is the major structure of the entire parish infrastructure and is centrally located giving it its worth and meaning as the house of God. Besides the main church lobby, there is an extension of the sacristy, a store for the Sacred Heart Choir and a parish bookshop/store. The entire church is generally in good condition, well painted and with spiritual art drawings which helps during reflection and pray. Its cleanliness is well maintained by the church/sacristy staff led by Sr. Georgina.
b. PRESBITERY (PRIESTS’ HOUSE) It consists of 7 living rooms, a living/sitting room, dining room, common rooms (bathroom and toilet), plus a ironing-room. Outside of the priests’ house, there is a kitchen, a visitor’s room attached to the kitchen and a pit-latrine with a bathroom, plus a store room for the catering staff.
NB.A new Priests’ Rectory is under construction. It’s a storeyed building.
c. ST. CHARLES LWANGA PRIMARY SCHOOL: This was started as a parish school by the Christians of the parish to provide catholic education for their children. It was opened on 2nd February, 2004 under the administration of one Sister from the Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Nyeri as the first headmistress (Sr. Mary Joyce Mwihaki). After her, two others have succeeded her as headmistress. Sr. Mary Mwangi and Sr. Caroline Gachoki (current headmistress). These sisters have worked well with the parish administration and the school’s management committee through the years. The school which began with P.1 and P.2 housed in the then existing parish premises, now boasts of the first building of her own constructed under the generosity of both local and international donors. It also boasts of a good academic standard after three P.7 classes sitting for P.L.E (Primary Leaving Exams).
However, plans to expand the school by constructing a new storeyed building are in progress, the construction of the first floor was complete with loan from Centenary Bank.
d. ST. CHARLES LWANGA NURSERY SCHOOL: This school was opened way back at the beginning of the Town Church in the 1990’s. At the close of the this academic year, i.e. 2014, the school has registered an increased population; a total of 300 children (up from 123 in 2007)
e. PARISH BOOKSHOP/RELIGIOUS ARTICLES’ STORE Due to the people’s need for Bibles, religious articles like rosaries, crosses, statues, scapulars, etc, plus many other religious/spiritual books, we opened up a parish bookshop within the church building (located at the extreme end, facing the main road and overlooking the priests’ house).
f. PARISH CANTEEN
As a way of acquiring income, we started a Parish canteen, the structure is semi permanent, but it serves the purpose. It is hired out and the parish gets little income. The canteen renders services to the people around especially MMU students in holidays and the parishioners who come for prayers.
g. ADMINISTRATION HOUSE: This is the storeyed building in front of the main church. It houses the parish office, the office of the primary school, a sisters’ room (upstairs), a room for catechumens, three classes used by the primary school, a store for the St. Cecilia Choir and the office of the Council of the Laity (downstairs). Originally, the house had been constructed in two phases: first phase was by the defunct Catholic Women’s Association (CWA) and the second by the diocesan Social Services (now CARITAS). The parish now owns the building after the other stakeholders closed business. On several occasions, repairs and upgrading have been made on the building, but more still needs to be done, especially in regard to the water problem affecting the rooms downstairs.
V. PARISH FINANCES/ACCOUNTS:
Following the Diocesan Finance Policy (copy available in parish office), this parish operates and handles her finances only in the bank.
1) Each and every sub-institution (church centers, schools and Lay Apostolate Movements) has a bank account in the Centenary Bank, Fort Portal Branch. In addition, we have also set up an accounting system that is transparent and uses the necessary books of accounts e.g. receipts, payment vouchers, invoices, cash books, etc. Our financial year runs from January to December. Each year we make a financial budget, a copy of which is sent to the Diocese. We also make quarterly financial reports to the Christians for the sake of accountability and transparency. Although we have a parish finance committee that prepares budgets and reports, there are however other stakeholders involved in handling parish funds e.g. catechists, sister sacristan, parish treasurer, Town church treasurer, parish secretary, parish chairman, and Parish Priest.
This Parish has an inventory, all its properties: Assets and liabilities are all recorded in it.