It is hard to believe that it has already been three months since the USA Sacred Heart Missions Team was in Africa. For the Uganda part of our 2014 trip, Lisa Morris and I were able to spend time with a dear friend from the 2013 mission trip, Fr. Timothy Mayamba Masaaba.
Lisa and I were together with our African counterpart, Pamela Angawa, from Kenya. We were excited about visiting Fr. Timothy's new parish. He had hosted us in his former parish of St. Austin's in Mbale, Uganda, last year. This year, he was in Buchunya, Uganda.
While we visited Fr. Timothy and his parishioners, we took part in the Mass and ceremony for raising the cross on their church, which had once been accused of looking like a storefront.
In the dark of the night, both Pamela and Lisa separately commented that a certain banana tree sapling looked like a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Later the next morning, while it was still dark outside, I made the same comment, unaware that Lisa and Pamela had said the same the night before. Pamela then declared that there should be a grotto built there. We decided we should take a group photo with the "statue" in the place of Mary's future grotto.
Recently, we received this email from Fr. Timothy, addressed to Pamela:
Greetings and peace.
The beginning of the story of the Grotto is well known to you Lisa and Giannine, when the three of you stayed with us in our little cool parish of Buchunya .
Pamela had a dream about the presence of a grotto and the next day she led all of us to this spot, we took a picture at that spot, and we prayed about it.
Two weeks after you left two ladies of our parish came to share with me about the strong inspiration to have grotto in our parish.
I shared this feelings with the whole community of Christians on Sunday and they unanimously agreed that indeed with the installation of the cross, on our church, we needed the presence of the blessed mother to be felt in our parish.
On consultation,with the parish council, etc we felt the site could be changed from the back of the presbytery to the outer area, to enable people find quite time of prayer at the grotto.
A committee was then appointed Pamela, in spite of her absence, will still be included on the committee and the whole USA team requested to intercede for the success of this idea (attached ).
The programme of construction stretches to December 8th, and this will give us enough time knowing that our local contributions trickle in little by little. The time frame and stages of construction have spiritual implications, truly becoming and opportunity of real evangelization. Renewing christian life through family apostolate, retreats, celebrate sacraments -Eucharist,Penance, marriages, etc.
Please we request for your prayers and support where possible.This dream must come true and the memory of HIS mission to Africa must continue and be seen in such landmarks.
While thanking the Almighty God who inspired you while on your visit and stay with us in our parish We pray that He brings this work to completion and may we together with the Blessed Mother say
LET HIS WILL BE DONE.
In his Sacred heart,
Fr. Timothy's grotto team expects the grotto to cost 3,504,000 Ugandan Shillings ($1,460).
On this the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, our entire team asks you to join us in prayer.
Please pray that the effort to raise this grotto will be as successful as the effort to raise their cross, for there is no Sacred Heart of Jesus, without both the cross and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Pray with us that by the next Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Parish of Buchanya will have a grotto to go with their cross.
Pray for each individual who will contribute in this parish.
Pray especially for the children, who will give their "widow's mite," and for all those who will benefit from a place to pray with the Holy Mother.
Most especially, pray that Fr. Timothy's parish will be a beacon of Christ's Love and Divine Mercy in this region affected by deadly mudslides and great poverty.