Ave Maria University
“Each One of Them Is Jesus in Disguise”
The Mother Teresa Project Returns to Uganda
Last month, 10 members of the Ave Maria University community traveled to Masaka, Uganda, to serve as missionaries of the Mother Teresa Project (MTP).
The MTP has been making mission trips to Uganda since 2016. The trip is a visit home for Fr. Joseph Lugalambi, Ph.D., candidate and campus priest who is from Uganda and attended seminary in the district of Masaka. The mission focuses mainly on serving the children of Our Lady of the Rosary School and Orphanage, which Fr. Joseph founded and built in 2019, with the support of the Ave Maria town and his home parish in Uganda. The orphanage has 548 children of ages 2 to 16 years, and 282 of the kids have HIV AIDS.
A summary of the missionaries’ works can be found below, graciously provided by Fr. Joseph.
Missionaries from Ave Maria University arrived at Entebbe International Airport (Uganda). Our residence for the 10 days was at St. Thomas Aquinas National Major Seminary, Katigondo. From the airport, we made a pilgrimage to the shrine of the Uganda martyrs at Namugongo in Kampala. We had breakfast at the Gater’s Café along Masaka Road, stopped at the Equator, and prayed at the Our Lady of Sorrow’s Cathedral, Masaka Diocese. While at the Masaka diocesan cathedral, we prayed at the remains of two servants of God: Msgr. Aloysius Ngobya and Sr. Amedeo Byabali (the cause for canonization of these servants of God is in the process). St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary welcomed us with a holy Mass and dinner.
Feast of Our Lady of Fatima: We had mission at Our Lady of the Rosary School and Orphanage. The school and orphanage community welcomed us. Prayed and played with the kids. It was a very fruitful and heartwarming day.
Attended the 25th anniversary of the priesthood of Fr. Peter Paul Ssemakula (treasurer of Masaka Diocese), with mission work at the orphanage in the afternoon.
Attended 7:30 morning Mass at St. Charles Lwanga parish (Fr. Joseph’s home parish). Mass was followed by breakfast and conversations (chastity and career) with students of St. Charles Lwanga Ichuni Girls High School. We had a traditional dinner with Fr. Joseph’s family.
May 16–May 18
Spent the entire day at Our Lady of the Rosary Orphanage and School. Taught classes (pre-K to 5th grade), fed the kids, prayed, and played with them. Each of the missionaries was assigned a grade and teacher to work with. The missionaries taught religion, math, numbers, etc., and built relationships with students of their assigned grades. On the evening of May 18, the missionaries had a colloquium with the seminarians. They shared their faith experiences, and there was an opportunity for questions. Many questions from the seminarians were centered around moral issues (LGBTQ, gender theory) that threaten the ecclesia in America.
Did house-to-house visitation of the elderly and dying in the Nabutongwa village. Fr. Joseph administered the sacraments of Confession and Anointing of the Sick as well as Viaticum to the elderly and dying. The missionaries attended the introduction (pre-wedding) ceremony of Fr. Joseph’s cousin, Clare. On this occasion, the groom ceremoniously visits the bride’s family and village. The bride introduces him to her family, the clan, and the entire village (usually gathered at the bride’s parents’ house).
Went on a safari at Lake Mburo National Park, located 3 hours away from the seminary. We saw giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, baboons, antelopes, monkeys, warthogs, etc.
Attended the wedding Mass of Clare and Andrew at Our Lady of Sorrow’s Cathedral in Masaka, and reception at Maria Flo Hotel. Fr. Joseph celebrated the nuptial Mass and witnessed the marital vows. At 11:30 p.m. that same day, the missionaries left St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary for their flight back to the U.S.
Final Thanks from Fr. Joseph
We are so grateful to Ave Maria University and the Mother Teresa Project for organizing this mission trip. We thank the student missionaries for being the face of Christ to everyone they met in Uganda: the children at the orphanage, the priests and seminarians, the elderly and the dying. The children at the orphanage didn’t want to see them leave. We thank our friends from the town of Ave Maria for giving us donations of clothing and scholastic materials for the children at the school and orphanage. You have a special place in the hearts of the people of Uganda, especially our children at Our Lady of the Rosary School and Orphanage.