On July 4, seven parishioners from St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Sicklerville journeyed with Father Vincent Orum, A.J., parochial vicar, to his home Village in Giira, in Uganda, to witness the ordination of his nephew, Father David Kumakech.
Upon arrival in Giira, at the home of “Father Vince,” as he is called, the group was greeted by about 120 villagers comprised mostly of small children singing welcome songs. The experience moved the group to tears.
According to a member of the Uganda 7 — the name by which the St. Charles group has come to be known — “everyone there wanted to touch us, to shake our hands and greet us…. There wasn’t a dry eye in the group.”
On July 5 the group attended the ordination which was held in the town square in the town of Paidha. The ordination Mass was reportedly solemn but joyous, with a lot of dancing and singing. A celebration followed and festivities went on for three days.
The Uganda 7 stayed with the family of Father Vince and enjoyed ethnic fare, became accustomed to local tradition, and witnessed life in a remote village.
“Ugandan hospitality is characterized best by the generosity of heart in that what little they had, they willingly shared with us and assured that we were comfortable at all times,” said Marie Schmitt, one of the Uganda 7.
During an exchange of gifts following Mass at St. Luke’s Chapel, in Giira, the Uganda 7 presented the children of the village with clothes made by the sewing guild at St. Charles, as well as items brought by members of the group.
During the 10 days visiting Giira and the surrounding community, the group visited St. Luke’s Chapel, which is being built by Father Vince with the help of St. Charles; the local schools; and the town of Paidha. They went on safari and visited Murchison Falls, a waterfall on the Nile.
On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Uganda 7 will give a firsthand report on their experience. The event will be held at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Sicklerville, in Borromeo Hall in the church basement. The event will begin immediately after the 4:30 p.m. Mass. There will be refreshments and a potluck dinner. All are welcome. Contact St. Charles Parish Center Office 856-629-0411 for reservations.