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Justo Madira
Uganda
Male

I grew up in West Nile, in the Nebbi District of Uganda, a very poor part of the country. I attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Nebbi parish. After the death of my mother, my father remarried, and we became a family of ten children.

Some years ago, the desire to join the priesthood began burning in my heart. I started hearing the call of my vocation at the age of seven when my father would take me to prayer gatherings and Mass. Usually, when I attended mass, I would feel the zeal to do exactly what the priest was doing, it was so burning in me that when I went home I would imitate the priest! This led me to join the Altar Servant Association at my parish. I developed a great love for the priesthood, and I asked Mother Mary to intercede for me with her Son that one day I might become one.

Thankfully, I received support in fostering this calling from an early age. The person who first encouraged me in pursuit of my vocation was my father. Although as a poor carpenter he couldn't afford my school fees, let alone my siblings’, he always encouraged me and took me to prayer gatherings. At these gatherings, the poor prayer group members supported me in my secondary school studies, and I used to dig in people's gardens to earn money to pay my tuition. Eventually the deacon at my parish also helped me finish secondary school.

I began to look for a congregation to join, but couldn’t join the diocesan seminary because I couldn’t afford the tuition fees and had no one to pay for me. My father reminded me that the Franciscans were an order who lived a simple life, cooking, cleaning, farming, and doing their domestic work themselves even though they were priests and professed brothers! My father’s words moved me to go to my parish priest and ask him to put me in touch with the Capuchins. Still praying to Mother Mary to lead me to a good congregation, my prayer was answered and I started my postulancy!

In my journey to the priesthood, I feel I’m being called to identify myself with the poor Christ who loved everyone regardless of their status. I also feel called to pray for the poor: beggars, the helpless sick, the elderly, widows. Most of all I feel called to pray for poor children like orphans and street kids. I wouldn't wish any child to go through the poverty I experienced when I was young! And I would love to be a teacher too, to impart knowledge to these needy people who lack education.

I believe I was guided by St. Francis of Assisi to join the Capuchin Franciscans, which is why I chose him as my patron saint to journey with me in realizing the call to the priesthood. I especially love this dear saint because he fought for justice and peace, was a prayerful man, and he loved the poor, the sick, nature, and Mother Mary…the list is endless! He also identified himself with the poor Christ who was willing not to be served but to serve.

I see a sponsorship as a sign from God that He is there for me through His people materially and spiritually, and I feel it would be another confirmation that God is really calling me to work in His vineyard. For those who have helped me thus far in my journey to the priesthood, I have nothing to pay them back and I wish I had the power to do so! But I hope they know that I have never forgotten to pray for them for even a day, and when I am ordained I will celebrate Mass and pray for those who have helped me to realize my dreams of the priesthood.

About my country:
Uganda
Known as the “Pearl of Africa”, Uganda is located on the shores of Lake Victoria in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. Since emerging from decades of civil war and the devastation of AIDs, estimates indicate that 48% of Uganda’s population is below the age of 15. Young children suffer disproportionately in the struggle to access healthcare, education, and clean water.

Your Sponsorship Provides: 

  • All University Tuition and Fees
  • Books and Supplies
  • Local Transportation
  • Living and Food Expenses
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