Time check 10am. As one approached Bishop Stuart University, Kakoba in Mbarara, they could mistake it for a worship centre. The drums, music, worship and praise with chants of Praise God Amen, Alleluias filled the air. On arrival at the university grounds, hundreds of youth were behind this activity. Students from more than 10 institutions under the Catholic chaplaincies of Uganda had gathered for inter-institutional prayer day.
In their green-stripped gowns, zealous students of Bishop Stuart University led the mass choir as Uganda Martyrs university, Nkozi did praise and worship, and Kyambogo University took the bible readings. There was also drama skits on faith.
Amid a standing ovation, Fr Leo Tinkatumire, pastoral coordinator Mbarara archdiocese took to the podium. He started out saying many intellectual, energetic and educated people have failed to make it in life. “A good future is for those who prepare for it wisely especially through seeking God’s love and guidance,” said Fr Tinkatumirwe, emphasising that seeking Godly wisdom and understanding is the best path one can take to be successful. He quoted the book of Wisdom 7:7-11, “I prayed, and understanding was given to me, I entreated and the spirit of Wisdom came to me ...”
Fr Tinkatumire went on to cite what draws the young generation from God. Mass media pressures, he noted, is pushing students to lifestyles that draw them far away from God’s love for mankind and, ruining their lives.
“Its common today that the young generation is exposed to modern gadgets such as iPods, smartphones, computers but the challenge has remained trying to follow the pressures on what is being offered with these gadgets. You want to identify with an American artiste who walks with sagging trousers,” said Fr Tinkatumire. “Everyone is on fire, drugs and sex. Virginity is no more, you bury yourself in drugs, alcohol and immorality and you claim to be enjoying life. You are enjoying the flowers and destroying the fruits.”
Novatas Nyemara, the community patron Bishop Stuart University asked students to stay on God’s path and remain focused.
“This meeting gives each of us a chance to reflect on Jesus’ call to serve and follow Him. This should be in faith and works, following Jesus’ sermons because we are on a journey to join our father in heaven. Therefore, we need to remain focused,’’ said Nyemara.
Angelina Nakabuye, a student of Makerere University testified that these inter-institutional prayers not only help in spiritual growth but also networking, sharing and unity.
“I have made friends and got contacts at least in all the higher institutions of this country. Some of these guests talk to us about life after university such as sharing ideas on doing business, and other ventures for economic gain. My friend Joacinta Murungi and I are coming up with an idea of dealing in agricultural produce such as bogoya. Our plan is, she supplies from here as I look for market in Kampala,” said Nakabuye.
Anatoli Longumu, a student at Kampala International University said whereas it is perceived that in higher institutions students are old enough to make informed decisions, it is not the case. Thus, through this inter-institutional association it can act be a platform to encourage and maintain good morals, and mitigating challenges students face.
In the Archbishop of Mbarara Diocese’s message delivered by Fr Tinkatumire, he cautioned the students to be mindful of the hurdles and challenges their parents go through to get for them tuition and other up keep fees.
Barnabas Ainomugisha, a student at Bishop Stuart University observed that a responsible mother cannot give birth to a child and leave it without food as she waits for miracles of food to happen. “We attend this event to find a better place in society and develop young souls that require spiritual growth and upbringing.”
Some of the institutions that participated in this inter-institutional prayer day included Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Bugema University, Kampala International University, Uganda Martyrs University,Nkozi, University of Kisubi, Ndejje University, Katigondo Major Seminary, Gulu University, Ggaba National Major Seminary aa gathered at Bishop Stuart University in Mbarara for the inter-institutional prayer day.
ABOUT THE DAY
Fr Celestine Birungi, chaplain of the inter-institutional association of catholic chaplaincies in Uganda said inter-institutional prayers was born out of an idea by the inter-institutional association of Catholic chaplaincies of Uganda to enable Catholic students to fully utilise the spiritual and socioeconomic potential so as to cultivate spiritual and moral values to mitigate challenges of evangelisation in today’s world and contribute constructively to society.
The inter-institutional institutional association of Catholic chaplaincies was officially launched in March 2015 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic chaplaincy, Kampala International University.
He said these inter-institutional prayers rotate twice a year in different institutions across the country.
SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR