By Fr. JohnBosco Mubangizi Mccj -Parish Priest- Matany
Matany Parish under Moroto Diocese, Karamoja sub region was initially a Chapel of Kangole Parish. Some 17kms away became a Parish in 1967. Its first Parish Priest was Fr. Elia Ciapetti a Comboni Missionary. In July 1969 a community of Comboni missionary sisters started a maternity centre in the area. This was gradually upgraded to a hospital which is the current St. Kizito hospital Matany.
The current pastoral situation is that the Parish consisting of a team of Comboni missionary Priests, Brothers, Sisters, Lay and Sisters of the Congregation of Mary Mother of the Church and Catechist, serve about 35,000 Christians and evangelise about 20,000 non-Christians who still practice African traditional religion. Their places of worship being in the open air in shrines located under special trees that area considered scared. A group of Catechists and Priests outreach them in these places on weekly basis. Most of them are old men, interestingly however, they allow their wives and Children to be Baptised and practice Christianity , in fact they talk well of the Sacrament of Baptism not Matrimony since polygamy still sounds better and acceptable in the culture.
On 25th. November 2017, Matany Parish celebrated 50 years of existence and the theme of the golden jubilee was picked from the Gospel according to John 13:34 “ love one another as I love you” The guest of honour and the main celebrant was the Papal Nuncio to Uganda, His excellency the Archbishop Michael August Blume. On 24th .November 2017, prior to the golden jubilee celebrations, he blessed and dedicated St. Daniel Comboni Chapel –Nakicumet, a new outstation of matany parish hitherto,was a dangerous place where many people lost their lives when Karamoja was still insecure, in fact the word “Nakicumet” is connected with spearing. This new chapel has been built to remind the people of the peace brought by Jesus Christ as we celebrate the golden jubilee. In the afternoon of the same day, the Papal Nuncio blessed the grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary in front of the Matany Parish main Church to remind people of Mary queen of peace and to continue to pray that this peace is sustained.
In his message the Nuncio reminded the faithful of the concluded year of mercy where Pope Francis invited us to cooperate and make the experience of mercy permanent. He also addressed the family life asking couples to embrace the sacrament of Matrimony. He also condemned alcoholism especially “Waragi” that is deteriorating the health of many people. He appealed for the pastoral move towards addressing the issue of so many unemployed men who are without productive activities. He also called upon Matany Parish to address the needs of youth in order to eradicate Rural Urban migration among the Karamojong youth who most of the time end up on streets with poor living conditions. Bishop Damiano Guzzetti, the Ordinary Bioshop of Moroto Diocese re-echoed and emphasised the message of the Nucio especially calling upon Couples to embrace the Sacrament of Matrimony.
The same issue of alcoholism and unemployment was emphasised by the Resident District Commissioner of Napak during the jubilee celebrations. Napak ( Bokora county) members of Parliament Hon. Achia Terence and Hon. Namoi Stella also graced the occasion and encouraged the faithful to be strong in faith , good and responsible citizens of Uganda.
The State Minister for Karamoja affairs in his message congratulated the Parish upon celebrating the golden jubilee. He also applauded St. Kizito Hosptal Matany for offering better medical services to the patients in Karamoja region. He also stressed on the increased number of children on streets from Karamoja in Jinja and Kampala and called upon all the leaders in Karamoja to put their efforts together in solving this problem.