(2018) In one of my visitations with ministry colleagues including my good friend Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa of the Diocese of Masaka I learned an important difference between the way Western countries and mission countries compensate their clergy. In western countries priests get paid by their individual parishes while in mission countries the monetary collections of the parishes barely cover the operating costs of each parish as well as assist many of those who are more destitute than most. Mission clergy in Masaka Diocese depend upon an average of $25 USD per month from the Bishop to supply food, clothing, petro for their vehicles, etc. It was also shared with me that the monthly funds for the clergy were the product of individual bishop’s successful begging from generous benefactors. Those benefactors in many European countries are getting fewer and fewer making this system unsustainable. We speculated about some sort of investment that the Diocese could make that could be an income generator for the AMDP: Association of Masaka Diocesan Priests.
Soon an idea was conceived. It was proposed to us that ROTA partnering with AMDP could work to invest in the building of an office structure on Diocesan property that would be leased to a for-profit business. The lease holder would take care of maintenance in the building, paying utilities etc. and pay funds for the lease agreement. These funds in turn could supplement the amount shared by the Bishop with mission clergy.
Dialogue was opened with Rural Centenary Development Bank as a way of giving people in more remote areas of the Diocese an opportunity to keep their saved funds safe from robbery, the possibility of gaining interest on their savings and the availability of small interest loans for starting small businesses. With the project accepted, for three consecutive years, ROTA provided transportation assistance for Fr. Peter Paul, Fr. Emmanuel Katabaazi, and Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa of Masaka Diocese. ROTA facilitated their presence at the Mission Cooperative preaching weekends at parishes in Buffalo and transported them as well to conduct Mission Appeals in the Albany Diocese. These collected funds made the building project possible.
On Pentecost Sunday, May 20th, 2018 the Church gathered at Sembabule Parish to begin the festivities. After a Spirit filled Liturgical Celebration the gathered assembly processed to the front of the new building.
After a few speeches the ribbon was cut and Bishop Kaggwa made his way into the structure and with a grateful heart began blessing every room and area. This was followed again by more speeches by bank officials, clergy leaders, and guests. Many thanks to the contributing Buffalo Diocese parishes of: Nativity of the BVM, Queen of Angels/Lackawanna, Holy Angels, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Mary/Swormville, All Saints, St. Philomena, St. John the Baptist/Lockport, Our Lady of Perpetual Help,/Lakeview, St. Mary of the Lake, and St. Gregory the Great. Thank you also to the Parishes in Albany Diocese of: St. Joseph/Greenfield Center, St. Stanislaus/Amsterdam, St. Mary/Amsterdam, St. Stephens/Hagaman, St. Albert, St. Anthony and St. John the Evangelist all in Schenectady. Blessings to all who worked so very hard to bring to completion this most worthy work for the people of Sembabule Parish and Masaka Diocese. God is truly a God of abundance.