“Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees” was the theme chosen by the Holy Father Pope Francis for the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR). With this theme, Pope Francis highlights the commitment that we are all called to share in building a future that embraces God’s plan, leaving no one behind.
Uganda now hosts about 1,529,904 refugees as of 28th February 2022. Through the national news, there are more recent entries in Mbarara Ecclesiastical Province, Kabale and Kasese Dioceses in particular, and this number is expected to increase.
As Youth Apostolate in Uganda, we have continued to run our program of the “Pastoral Care for the Refugee Youth” and the campaign “The Elderly are our Grandparents”. After we received the theme and guidelines for celebrating the WDMR 2022, from the Migrants and Refugees Section, we directed all dioceses to focus on the social and spiritual inclusion of the refugees in order to create a platform for them to share real life experiences with the host communities. We also have cases of migrants, mostly in urban centres of our country, who too need our support and friendship to live a comfortable life in Uganda.
Services/activities that preceded the celebrations of the World Day for Migrants and Refugees at the Diocesan, Parish and Small Christian Communities, which trickled up to the families, included:
- National Charity Week in support of the refugees from 19th to 24 September 2022, where dioceses that do not have the refugee settlements offered prayers and made contributions in-kind towards the host dioceses. Host communities too participated in the Charity Week activities.
- The refugee host dioceses carried out activities such as: youth conferences/ retreats, catechesis, workshops, Eucharist celebrations, family rosary, games and sports; exchange visits (youth from the host communities visiting the refugees), dialogue (refugees and host communities) and other forms of psychosocial support.
These activities gave a true reflection of the Catholic Church in action by the youth of Uganda towards the Migrants and Refugees.
The Ecclesiastical Province of Gulu, in collaboration with the National Youth Office, organised a Refugee Youth Conference and the Youth Talent Show (Games – Football and Netball) in Rhino Camp refugee settlement, Nebbi Catholic Diocese, to crown the celebrations of the WDMR. Similar activities were carried out in the refugee settlements in the Ecclesiastical Province of Mbarara, particularly in Hoima Diocese and Mbarara Archdiocese.
Appreciation: We are grateful to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for their financial support, the Bishops of Uganda, particularly the Bishops and Youth Offices of the Dioceses of Arua, Hoima and Nebbi; and friends of the youth for the support towards the refugee activities of 2022.
National Youth Coordinator