During the Easter Vigil of 2022, 15 widows of Meeting Point International (MPI) were received into the catholic church again after several years of cohabiting with their late husbands. We were able to have a dialogue with them and they disclosed to us why they had this desire to go back to the church.
Story by, Adoch Mary Clare
Kampala, July 6, 2022.
ACCOMPANYING EACH OTHER TO THE FINAL DESTINATION
A war that killed tens of thousands and displaced more than 1.6 million people in northern Ugandan united very many women despite its horrendous consequences. Among the people displaced are some of the women of Rose (MPI director) who are united in a Kampala slum known as Acholi Quarters and others in Naguru. 15 of these women were welcomed back into the catholic church after renewing their baptism vows, the sacraments of penance and holy Eucharist. Some of them were not receiving the body of Christ before because they were cohabiting with their husbands. However, because their partners passed on and most of these women are above the age of 50 years of age, they decided they want to be closer to God by respecting Him and actively practising their catholic faith and this was the first step to achieve that.
They wanted to do this together in each other’s company because they believe through this relationship with God, they will be able to set an example for both young and old within the community. They believe that if you are close to Him, you attract people who will hopefully trust you enough to approach you in whatever situation they are facing, be it good or bad. Through this, they wanted to show love to themselves first, then to those around them and the community at large.
Many of these women met through Meeting Point International and became even closer through actively participating in MPI activities where a bond was created. However, they share some characteristics like being widows, victims of war and agemates that brought them even closer enough to encourage each other to get this baptism. Another reason for the baptism was; during of the war, most of them lost their documents like baptism cards and birth certificates in the chaos yet these are documents essential in one’s life because in most of the offices that provide essential services, these documents are a requirement. They celebrated their return to the church with their fellow women of MPI and Rose who provided them with a cake that was inscribed with “we are now free”.
We were moved by these women, in their simplicity, to ask for baptism and the sacraments! “This achievement by these women was worth celebrating because we didn’t ask them to go back for the sacraments and this shows a kind of awareness within themselves which is a success for MPI. They are living in a natural way. MPI didn’t impose this on then and it implies that even when MPI ceases to exist, they will be able to do things on their own. They will be able to eat a balanced meal, cook well, take their drugs, clean their house because they have an awareness of their own.” said Rose on why we celebrated their achievement.
The women were baptised from their usual meeting place in Kireka where meetings with them are held. This place also acts as a church on Sundays with permission from Rose; the mass is usually held in a language they understand which is Acholi. Rose commented on the reason as to why she allowed the mass to be held from MPI saying; “Allowing the women to have mass from there is the same as allowing God to happen there. God is happening in our place where we sit, where we cry, where we are happy, where we are a mess, so the same way we can’t refuse that God is there is how we can’t refuse the priest to make Him happen in our place. Mass, a sacrament for us Catholics, represents the fact that God died, rose again and became flesh of our flesh through the holy Eucharist. The value is God that is happening in us, when you talk about God, the father of fathers, our heart is vibrating, when we celebrate Him, its beyond something beautiful.”