Feast Day of the Ugandan Martyrs

Thursday, June 2nd was the Feast Day of St. Eugene. The next day, Friday, June 3rd, was the Feast Day of the Ugandan Martyrs - St. Charles Lwanga and Companions. St. Charles and 12 young Catholic men were martyred on Friday, June 3rd,1886 in Namugongo, Uganda. The youngest martyr was Kizito, age 14. Many Anglican Christians were martyred that day also. The martyrs were canonized by Pope Paul the VI in 1964. Today there is a shrine in Namugongo and each year millions of Africans make a pilgrimage to the shrine to celebrate the feast day. St. John Paul II visited the shrine in 1993.

This is a picture of the celebration held this year sent by Fr. John Bosco, pastor of our Twinning Parish/Our Lady Queen of Apostles in Nkokonjeru, Uganda. He writes: “Almost everyone is talking about the Namugongo pilgrimage and many people just walked to the shrine, even from as far as the Republic of Kenya and Tanzania! People who attended the Martyrs’ Day were in the millions!”

Let us pray the Uganda Martyrs prayer: O Lord Jesus Christ, who wonderfully strengthened the Holy Martyrs of Uganda St. Charles Lwanga, and their Companions; and gave them to us as examples of faith and fortitude, chastity, charity, and fidelity; grant, we beseech Thee, that by their Intercession, the same virtues may increase in us, and that we may deserve to become propagators of the true faith. Who lives and reigns in the world without end. Amen.

Joyous Easter Wishes from Fr. John Bosco

Below is the Easter message from Fr. John Bosco - pastor of Our Lady Queen of Apostles, our Twinning Parish in Nkokonjeru, Uganda.

Fr. John in his Easter vestments just before he went to celebrate the Easter Vigil. 

Greetings to Fr. Jerry, Fr. Jacob and to the congregation at St. Eugene Parish. 

During the 19th century the emperor Napoleon was at the height of his military power. He conquered nearly all of Europe. One of the countries he overran was Austria. While subduing this country, he sent one of his generals Messena, with an army of 18,000 men to capture the village of Feldkirch. There was a great panic in the village.

The village gathered together to decide what should be done, they agreed on one thing, it was useless to oppose Napoleon's army, but beyond that they could not come to a common decision. At that point the kindly village pastor arose and said,  "My dear beloved children, this is Easter Sunday. Cannot God who arose from the dead, protect us in our distress? Shall our first act in this calamity be to forsake Him? Let us go to church as usual, and trust God for the rest."

The people accepted his words hopefully, and the sextons were ordered to ring the bells as joyfully as possible. The people turned out in large numbers into the church. They celebrated Easter joyfully. The French armies, upon hearing the bells ring and ring, concluded that it could only mean one thing, that the strong Austrian reinforcements had arrived. The French General Massena, not wishing to risk a battle at that time, ordered his army to retreat. Thus the Easter bells of Feldkirch saved the city. Christ would not allow those who were celebrating the glory of his feast day to be captured and oppressed! 

May we be saved by Christ from all danger during this Easter.

My beloved brothers and sisters of St. Eugene, on behalf of all the parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Apostles, I wish you a joyous Easter.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. John Bosco

THANK YOU to all who have donated so far. The houses in the Narthex will be out for a couple of weeks for those who wish to donate to the Lenten appeal of helping our sister parish with the Send the Chicks project. 

Facts about Ugandan Chicks

Many of us think about chicks at Easter. Here are some fun facts about Uganda chicks. 

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  • 1 US dollar is about 2800 Ugandan Shillings
  • A laying chick costs 3200 Shillings or $1.15USD - and it can be raised and starts to lay eggs in about 6 months.
  • One laying chicken can lay up to 300 eggs a year and a farmer can use those eggs to feed his or her family, sell the eggs at a market, or if the eggs are fertilized, raise more chicks that grow into chickens that then lay more eggs. 
  • If they raise a lot of the hens, they can sell the full grown hens for about 15,000 Shillings or $5.35USD.
  • A donation of $25USD helps a farmer get a loan to buy about 20 laying chicks. 
A farmer who purchased chicks for a small fee.

A farmer who purchased chicks for a small fee.

The farmer can then use the money earned to send his or her children to school or for health care or to improve their homes/farms. The cost for ONE YEAR tuition to attend a day school is $30USD. This includes a hot lunch of porridge.

Before a farmer can get a loan, they must attend several workshops that teaches them how to care for the chickens.

THANK YOU to all who have donated so far to help our Sister Parish Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish in Nkokonjeru, Uganda. Donations can still be put in the houses in the Narthex. Checks can be made out to St. Eugene-Lenten Project- in the memo line. 

ALSO, please remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Uganda, and know that we are in their prayers also. 

The Twinning Committee 

 

Thank You!

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THANK YOU to all who have donated so far to the Lenten Appeal for our sister parish - Our Lady Queen of Apostles in Nkokonjeru, Uganda.

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Your donations help the farmers become educated on how to raise chicks. The farmers can then buy the chicks for a small fee. Once the chicks are full grown, the hens can lay eggs which then lead to more chicks. Some of the grown chickens can be used as meat or to lay more eggs. Any surplus eggs can be sold at market to help pay for other necessities such as other types of food, medicine, clothing, and for their children's school fees.

These two photos are of the children that go to two local schools in Nkokonjeru. Some of the students are wearing uniforms just as our own St. Eugene students do!

Please remember to pray for our family in Uganda. If you'd like to donate - you can put check or cash in the houses in the Narthex, or send a check to the parish office with Lenten project in memo line. 

Personal Experience: Morgan and Allie Braza

Below is written by Morgan and Allie Braza (two college students from our parish) who visited our sister parish in Uganda last summer when they saw the "Send the Chicks" project.

We weren't quite sure what to expect when we went back to our sister parish that afternoon, but Fr. John and others on the Twinning Committee seemed eager to show us something. When we came around the back side of the parish we saw the "Send the Chicks" banner and there was so much excitement! We saw a lot of chicks at different stages: some were huddled around heat lamps, others were slightly bigger and older. Not only was everyone excited, but we could sense so much pride in Fr. John and all the other farmers and Twinning Committee members.

They were excited to explain the process of how farmers come to pick up their chicks, and there were even some farmers there from the agriculture program and we were able to watch the chicks being handed off to them. The chicks were very loud and constantly chirping away and we were all able to hold a chick (a little scary, but they were super soft and cute.) Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves and the farmers seemed honored to be receiving the chicks from this program. We saw how strong the bond is between Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish and our own St. Eugene Parish.

Fr. John explained the future plans of the chick project and the plans demonstrated that our resources have been used wisely. We left there feeling confident that the "Send the Chicks" project would grow into a huge success and how important this program is for many farmers and families.

In addition, we understood how vital our prayers and help have been in supporting the entire community, and we believe that our support of "Send the Chicks" will continue to help the farmers and their families to become more sustainable. This photo, taken by Fr. Jerry is of Kate Myers (one of the administrative assistants at St. Eugene) and a farmer that was taken when a chick suddenly jumped out of the farmer's hand. It was a great source of laughter! (The chick was caught and put safely back in the box.)

Donations can be put in the houses in the Narthex. Checks can be made out to St. Eugene (Lenten project in the memo line.) THANK YOU to all who have donated so far. 

Who Benefits from the Twinning Relationship with Our Lady Queen of Apostles?

Here are two examples by parish member Diane Braza, who visited Our Lady Queen of Apostles last summer:

“We met a farmer, Rose, whose farm embodied the picture of a farm that had grown tremendously through the sustainable agriculture program. After having planted a handful of banana shoots initially, Rose and her family had raised enough banana plants to expand the plantation substantially. Besides benefiting from the "Send the Chicks" program and raising chickens, they also are growing beans, coffee, jack fruit, and raising crops to sustain their large family and feed several cows and goats. We also were able to witness a baby calf that was born 4 hours prior to our visit walk for the first time!”

“On another farm visit, we met Mr. Muwondge Hardson and his beautiful family. He is a disabled farmer whose family participates in the Sustainable Agriculture program. During our visit, we heard first hand his personal story about how this program has truly changed his family’s life, particularly given his disability and resultant physical challenges. He shared the great benefit of raising poultry to his farm activities. The beautiful picture on one of the prayers cards is his daughter, wearing a St. Eugene t-shirt.”

BUT WHO ELSE BENEFITS FROM THE TWINNING RELATIONSHIP?

We do! The members of St. Eugene! Since the relationship started, we as parish members have become aware of the cultural differences between us and also the things we have in common as we share the spiritual riches of the gospel that helps us both grow in our faith.

Donations can be placed in the houses in the Narthex or checks can be sent to the parish office. Thank you from the Twinning Committee. 

Did You Know that Chicks can eat Banana Peels?!

When Fr. Jerry and six other parishioners visited our sister parish in Uganda last summer, they saw first hand the success of the sustainable agriculture relationship that we have with them. For the past two years, the focus has been on raising chickens. BUT, its not just a matter of sending money so they can buy more chicks for the farmers, but the donations also go toward the education of the farmers.

These two photos show a workshop that was held recently for the farmers. The topic was raising chickens by feeding them left over banana, cabbage, and jack fruit peels as well as other food scraps, in addition to the usual poultry feed. They also learned how to gather local herbs to add to medicines to keep the chickens healthy. You can see how well attended the workshop was and some of the attendees are older children also eager to learn. On one of the photos in the foreground you can see the chicks that were at the workshop also!

THANK YOU to all who have donated so far. Donations can be placed in the houses in the Narthex or sent to the parish office. Checks can be made out to St. Eugene with Lenten project in the memo line.

We also are Growing in Faith with our Sister Parish. Please continue to pray for them as they pray for us.

Thank you from the Twinning Committee. 

This Year's Theme: Growing in Faith, Send More Chicks!

Growing in Faith, Send more Chicks! Last weekend kicked off the annual St. Eugene Lenten Appeal that raises money for our Sister Parish in Uganda, Our Lady Queen of Apostles. This year’s them is: Growing in Faith, Send More Chicks!

For 16 years, St. Eugene has enjoyed a Twinning Relationship with Our Lady Queen of Apostles in Nkokonjeru, Uganda.

For over ten years, we have supported sustainable agriculture projects and are helping to educate farmers so they can grow crops such as bananas, mango, coffee plants and many other vegetables as well as raise animals: chickens, pigs, rabbits or cows.

Last year and also this year we are supporting a chicken farm. Several St. Eugene parishioners along with Fr. Jerry journeyed last summer to Uganda to visit our Twinning Parish and saw the success of the chicken farm. Thus the theme "Send More Chicks!"

Our Lady Queen of Apostles parish buys chicks from a hatchery, they then sell the chicks to the farmers for a small fee. The farmers can raise the chicks for meat or to lay more eggs. Chicken meat and eggs are very good sources of protein and the farmers and their families improve their diet as a result of this program, but they also have been able to sell some of the eggs and chickens. This has allowed them to afford the school fees to send their children to school. The farmers recognize the importance of educating their children and very much want their children to be educated.

Thanks to all who donated to the Lenten Appeal in previous years. We hope you are generous this year also! Donations can be put in the houses in the Narthex or you can send a check to the rectory, made out to St. Eugene with "Lenten Project" in the memo line.

But more importantly we are Growing in Faith, connected by our Catholic faith, with our brothers and sisters in Uganda. We pray for them during our petitions at Mass, and they pray for us too. Last weekend during the Mass, we recorded our congregation praying for them. This video will be sent to our sister parish so they may know they are in our prayers. Please continue to pray for them in your daily prayers.