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45 YEARS AGO... By Fr. Joseph Picotti - Cairo, Egypt

Before all, I like to send my best greetings to the people of "www.tualu.org" , both organizers, technicians and customers. Azi emi woro cici fo!.
I was very happy of the invitation I received of contributing to www.tualu.org and I would like, first of all, to congratulate with the people who succeeded to open this very important means of mutual knowledge and understanding for the faithful of Arua Diocese and for the Logbara people at large.

Many years have passed since my first arrival at Maracha Parish on January 9th, 1961, and also since I left Uganda for good in April 1990. But in my heart Logbara people and the Bishop and the Diocese of Arua are still present and every day I do pray for them.
The experience of my first period in Maracha of eight full years cannot be forgotten : it was my first love! It has been a wonderful experience of missionary work.
When I arrived, there were in Maracha country only 18.000 Catholics… when I left in 1968 there were 32.000, thanking God!
It was not only a work of evangelization or of announcing Christ's message, but also socio-economic development.

Besides several Churches built, and the opening of Oluvo Parish, we started with the help of God a dispensary which developed into a Maternity in 1968 and later would have become a true hospital. We founded several bush-schools which later became public schools (e.g. Simbili, Bora, Amanipi…). We had the first experience of the Parish Council, and also of Chapel Councils, giving responsibility to lay people. Cooperating with other parishes, we supported strongly the first monthly news paper in Logbara "Suru Amadri", which I used to send to the men of Maracha working down country serving in the army and Police.
All these works were possible because of the great help of Italian benefactors, and for the generous and wonderful cooperation of other Comboni Missionaries working with me. I like to mention from the deceased Fr.Renzo Salvano and Fr.Silvio Serri, who was killed in 1979 in Obongi, Brother Rodolfo Arosio and Brother Francesco Landonio. And I cannot forget Brother Joseph Udescini, who is still working very well in Lodonga.

And I like also to mention the great help by the catechists, specially late Isaia Gule, Vero, Romano and Romualdo of Oleba. And also the teachers, among them Gabriel Dradebo, Paskwale Drale, George Dema…and others whose name I had forgotten.
When I came to Uganda again in 1981 I have worked first in Congo (at that time called Zaire) with Fr.Salvano and Fr.David Baltz in the camps of refugees, organizing there a good Christian life.

Later I spent some years with Fr.Italo Piffer at Otumbari, until I was given a great responsibility at Lira. At the end, only few months before leaving Uganda on April 22nd 1990, I worked with joy in Ombaci parish.
I thank God very much for giving me the chance and the strength for all those 16 years spent in Uganda, from where I left only because of the order of the Superior General, but my heart has remained there.
May God bless Arua Diocese and all the beloved country of Uganda.

Fr.Joseph Picotti mccj

 


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