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The Faith Journey of a Sponsored Child

The Faith Journey of a Sponsored Child

On a chilly evening after a heavy down pour, I made my way to the home of a young seminarian named Joseph. Moving through the narrow muddy road of Wabidduku village, surrounded by numerous plantations I found the humble home of Joseph. There I found one main house surrounded by a well cultivated banana plantation and two huts, one that belonged to Richard (Joseph's elder brother) and the other that belonged to Joseph's family. It is in this hut that I met happy family members enjoying their lunch. They invited us for lunch and so I joined them. Meanwhile, we exchanged numerous pleasantries until Joseph and his parents were ready for the interview.

Joseph is one of the many children sponsored through CARITAS child sponsorship programs. He is the sponsored child of David G. who has been supporting him through his faith journey since 2008. Joseph's story is compelling, in that he converted to Catholicism and at the young age of seventeen has entered St. Joseph minor seminary in Nyenga with the dream of becoming a priest. He is in senior two, the equivalent of sophomore year in western high schools.

Joseph_center_stands_with_St_Joseph_Minor_Seminary_Nyenga_headteacher_Chris_Sr_Carolyne

Joseph, center, stands with St. Joseph Minor Seminary-Nyenga headteacher, CARITAS For Children founder, Chris Hoar, and Sr. Carolyne, CARITAS Program Coordinator for Uganda.

Joseph_with_Sr._Carolyne

Sr. Carolyne draws a smile from Joseph.

Joseph was born in 1997 to David and Margret. The second in the family of eight children, Joseph's siblings are Richard, John Mary, Kizito, Mary, Gorette, Gilbert, Immaculate and Mary Rose.

During his breaks from school he helps his parents with home chores like digging and animal rearing. They grow numerous crops on a small scale, such as; maize, yams, beans and cow peas. During his free time he plays soccer with his colleagues. He plays as a goalkeeper.

Who are Joseph's parents?

Joseph's parents are David and Margret. Formerly both were brought up as Catholics. Later on, in 1979 David and many of his family members adopted a different faith. In 1990 David met Margret and both lived in Bugerere. Later on, they moved to Nsuube where they presently live and work.

In 2011 through the influence of Joseph and the dreams David had of his late Catholic mum, David decided to recommit to the faith of his childhood together with the rest of his family members. He underwent catechetical instruction and became officially married to Margret in the Church in 2011 by Rev. Fr. Charles Jjemba.

What influenced you to convert to Christianity?

"In primary four, I joined St. Alphonsus Demonstration School. It is a tradition that pupils of Dem School usually have their school Mass every Friday. It was this practice of the Friday Mass that saw the seed in me of becoming a Catholic," Joseph said.

"I first informed Sr. Immaculate [CARITAS For Children Program Director in Uganda] of my desire to become a Catholic. Sr. Immaculate then advised me to seek my parent's consent. I first shared with mum, who advised me to make it known to my dad."

"So after the consent of my dad, I went ahead and embraced the Catholic faith. In 2009 when I was in primary four, I was baptized and took on the name of Joseph.  I was also confirmed during that same year. It was during the celebrations of the confirmation party organized by Sr. Immaculate that I revealed my desire to become a priest."

"I was inspired to become a priest by the organization within the church and the magnificent vestments of priests."

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The headteacher [principal] at St. Joseph Minor Seminary stands in the chapel.

Which challenges have you experienced since your faith conversion?

"I have experienced some resistance from some members of my extended family members (aunties and uncles) since I converted, but I have always remained firm to the lifetime decision I made of becoming a Catholic."

Can you please, share with us your experience as a seminarian?

"I have always enjoyed the integral formation I have so far acquired from the seminary. I love this vocation and treasure the support I get from my formators and friends." 

Do you have any regret for your conversion and more so a seminarian?

"I have never regretted my decision.'

Do you have any word to share with the young people out there?

"I advise them to pray, study and work hard (ora et labora) for a bright future."

Which special message do you want to conclude with?

"I convey my vote of thanks to my beloved sponsor, who has loved, cared and supported me. I pray that the Lord may always bless the CARITAS programme and all its sponsors."

The author, Kyazze Frank Lwanga, is a seminarian and actively volunteers his time teaching and mentoring the sponsored children.