Office Elected Person Diocese Tel.No Email
President Muhumuza Daniel Mbarara 0779516477
V. President Nakiguli Jane Frances Kampala 0752645297
Responsible for Formation Muhumuza Gilbert OFS Mbarara 0701111216
Secretary Ochieng Batista Jinja 0775442618
Treasurer Odoch Jacob Lira 0782307627
JPIC Commissioners
Bidokber Simon Nebbi 0703938554
Kyomukama Jackline Kampala 0706232726
Councillors/Regional Coordinators
Kampala Kyomugisha Catherine Kampala 0784569533
Tororo Esabu Charles Soroti 0782952324
Gulu Osaga Saviour Yungu Nebbi 0781198881
Mbarara Nagaba Rinah Mbarara
Fraternal Animator Br. Nicholas Kugonza OFS Kampala 0774309296
Spiritual Assistant/s
  Fr. Furtado Francis (ofm. Cap) Kampala 0752615829
Br. Mwesigye Fidelis (ofm) Mbarara 0784854274
Fr. Stonley Nsubuga (OFM. Conv) Kampala 0787545537
Sr. Margret Awor (LSSOF) Soroti 0772314313

These were members elected to the Youfra National Executive for the year 2017/2020 as witnessed by Sr. Mary Mugenyi OFS being presided over by Br. Mathias Kule OFM and Kugonza Nicholas OFS at the elective assembly held on

3rd September 2017, Kakoba – Mbarara.


What is a Chapter, where does it come from?


St. Francis early established the custom of holding chapters.  They were held at the Portiuncula and were the occasion for Francis to see his first companions, to become acquainted with friars who had recently entered the Order, to give to all paternal advice, and to make adaptations to their way of life he deemed necessary.

The most famous of all was the “Chapter of Mats” at which were present five thousand friars.  They were entirely occupied in prayer and in rendering one another charitable service or in talking of spiritual things. The temporary shelters set up in the fields, some of rush mats, gave its name to this famous chapter. Since then the Chapter has always been most important in the Franciscan family. History shows that Chapters have brought about complete renewal in several Institutes and Provinces.


What is the YouFra National Elective Assembly/ Chapter?

The YouFra National Elective Chapter is a gathering of YOUFRA delegates, observers and visitors representing all regional fraternities within our national fraternity of Uganda who are required by our Statutes to gather every three years. The primary reason that we gather is spiritual!  Our purpose is, above all, the spiritual advancement of the sisters and brothers in the pursuit of their common Franciscan ideal and vocation. It is an opportunity to pray together, learn about the spirituality of St. Francis, discuss business items relevant to our fraternity, and elect a new National Council for 2017-2020 period. It is a time of discernment and a time of celebration and a time to evaluate the past three years and set national goals for the next three years.



When:  Saturday September 2nd to Sunday September 3rd, 2017

Where:  OFM Novitiate House, Kakoba – Mbarara

Who will attend the Elective Chapter?

  • Members of the National Council
  • Five (5) Delegates from each Regional Fraternity, along with their Spiritual Assistants.

Note: Regions include;- Gulu, Kampala, Mbarara and Tororo

  • Visitors :

(YOUFRA) members are most welcome for the Chapter but have no official voice. Observers and Visitors are most welcome to participate in all the liturgies, presentations and social functions throughout the Elective Chapter.

Attending an Elective Chapter is a special experience of prayerful solidarity with our larger Franciscan family as it will include wonderful presentations that will allow us the opportunity to learn about the joys and challenges experienced by our Franciscan brothers and sisters.

PLEASE REGISTER EARLY (We request ministers/ coordinators of the respective fraternities to prepare reports and work plans, register and confirm your participants not later than 10th August 2017 for better preparations.)



Some of the YouFra Mbarara members while at Rushooka Gathering in January 2016


This report highlights current fraternities and membership, leadership and management, activities executed and upcoming, challenges and recommendations. Attached is a brief report from all fraternities in Mbarara region.


Mbarara region is comprised of Seven (7) active fraternities in Parishes of Rushooka, Kyoga, Kashekuro, Rubindi, Kihani, Kakoba Nyamitanga, Mabona and Kigarama : The main region office is at Kakoba Novitiate  located in Mbarara town, Uganda Martyrs Parish.

The Membership

            I. Rushooka 88 38
         II. Kyoga 30
      III. Kashekuro 23 13
      IV. Rubindi 15 1
         V. Kihani 18 2
      VI. Kakoba 43 13
   VII. Mabona 05 1
VIII. Kigarama 40 19
Total 262 77


  • We are opening new fraternity in Kitaga Parish in Kabale Diocese where we got 33 Members. We had seminar and retreat in May 20th – 22nd 2016  for 2days. We organizing for their formation with help of SFO and OFM in Rushooka.
  • We had got other Youfra members in Mushanga Parish under The Late Br. Denis Mukundane but connecting with them is still difficult but we communicate to them through SFO in Mushanga.


Mbarara region is steered by an executive team that comprises of the following members;

Name Position Contacts
Muhumuza Gilbert President 0701111216
Amusiimire Emmaculate Vice president 0786308622
Happiness Cleophas Secretary 0779247513
Tukiriho Helga Vice Secretary 0704393251
Tumuhaise Roberito Treasurer 0776455621
Twesiime Simon Development 0756725095
Muhumuza Adam Daniel Formation 0779516477
Owembabazi Brain Councilor 0784869842
Mutuhaire Dan Councilor 0753836895
Rukundo Tom Councilor 0752901609
Mukundane Micheal Councilor 077607540

External officials;

  1. Vastina Mugabirwe (SFO) SFO attaché to Youfra.
  2. Fidelis Mwesigye (OFM)    Spiritual Assistant.


The region held 2 executive meetings, 1 General meeting which always happen on yearly gathering and was carried at Rushooka on 31/01/16. Most of these meeting we are graced by the presence of the advisor/guardian from SFO and at several occasional the spiritual assistant Fr. Dismas.


  1. Feast Days;

The region selected a few feasts days that it celebrated at St. Fraternities and times at region level especially the feast of St. Francis that we always celebrate with OFM either in Kakoba or Rushooka and at times with Poor Claire’s.

  1. Evangelization Visits ;

 On 28th Jan to 31th January we had our regional gathering At Rushooka where 25 members made their promises as shown

Fraternity Members that made Promises
Kakoba 9
Kigarama 6
Kashekuro 2
Rushooka 8
Total 25

Total of 96 members attended from eight (8) fraternities in region.

In March 08th 2016 Youfra members cerebrated world women’s day with Female Prisoners in Mbarara Central prison the world mother’s day and they donated Food, Clothing’s, Soaps among other. The cerebration was colorful with a lot fun, drama, presentations , spiritual talks and songs .

On 19th April 2016 we organized to carry out Marathon for helping our Young sisters and brothers of St. Hellens Primary School in Nyamitanga who blind and needy but it was stopped on the way but we are still planning to have it soon in third term.

On 11th June some members had a visit to Father Bash Foundation Babies Home In Mbarara town for charitable work.

  • Upcoming activity:
  • We organized to carry out Marathon for helping our Young sisters and brothers of St. Hellens Primary School in Nyamitanga who blind and needy which was stopped on the way.
  • We are coordinating with Mbarara University Peer Projects and Nakivale Youth Ministry to visit the youth in Refugee camp in Nakivale
  • We also want to start the project of tree growing but un fortunately we do not have good species to plant
  • We planning to extend our new parishes for Franciscan preaching for youth.
  • We organizing to meet to have executive gathering on 15th Sept 2016.
  • On 20-22 2016 we are organizing to have regional gathering in St. Agnes fraternity in Kihani Parish in Ibanda.
  • We are planning to build strong formation in both new fraternity and old Fraternity.
  • We planning to start up a small printery project in Rushooka to develop our income through printing and photocopying.


  • At least almost many of our members have made promises and some of them have even continued to join the first order of Franciscans at least every year we have are representative .
  • We have managed to have Youfra gatherings and some retreats which helps us to grow spiritually towards the spirituality of St. Francis as our patron saint.
  • We have managed to reach outside our Diocese to Kabale in Kitanga Parish where we carried out 2 days visit and retreat from 20-22/05/2016 and registered 33 active members.
  • We have also achieved many projects that have helped us a lot towards the development our group in terms of income like sweet Potatoes garden, Canteen and others.
  • As it regards receiving new members, we have got a lot of new members who have applied to enter into our group and some of them are under the formation.
  • We have also got some trips in our group especially visiting in small lakes like Bunyonyi in Kabale , Nyabihoko in Ntungamo and also many other places .
  • We have also carried out charitable works which includes praying for the sick, fetching for them water, fire wood and also helping the needy like buying for them food and also praying for them and this is done at least twice in a month in most of fraternities.
  • We have also managed to get some youfras in parishes from our archdiocese that have no Franciscans for example in Kyoga Parish in Isingiro, Kihani Parish in Ibanda, Mabona Parish and also in Bwizibwera Parish in Ntungamo Mbarara Archdiocese.


  • We lack of formation materials.
  • Poor attendance of meetings to most fraternity’s members which has affected the growth of most fraternities.
  • Lack of individual commitment to some members
  • Most of us as young Franciscans we are studying and we have less time to attend to our projects for example we have shop but we no permanent youth attached there .
  • We also have the challenge with new members who join the group because they want only to enjoy the  benefits of the group  but they do not want to participate in dirty activities like digging and other manual activities .
  • Many of the young Franciscans are youth there for they like to enjoy leisure through  having some drummer clubs but the one we have needs support to develop them  like drums, loud speakers ,Balls, Shooting our shows, internet and many things  needed of which are expensive .
  • Lack of enough funding in fraternities in assisting us in our activities.
  • Support from SFO’s is also very little to Youfra.
  1. Recommendations;

We have to commit ourselves in doing our roles as leaders

We need help from SFO and OFM to build a strong formation in new fraternities because most of the group’s formation is poor.

Yours in Service

Muhumuza Gilbert
Coordinator Mbarara Region
0701 111216/0773941375




  1. About Youfra:

The Franciscan Youth or Young Franciscans (YOUFRA) is the fellowship of young people who feel called by the Holy Spirit to have an experience of Christian life, in fraternity, and in the light of the message of Francis of Assisi, deepening their vocation within the realm of the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO). They are inspired by the life of St Francis of Assisi in responding to their Christian calling and this inspiration allows them to respond to challenges of social justice, values of Justice Peace and care for creation.

Youfras are currently present in 11 out of 19 Catholic Dioceses of Uganda.

Youfra Uganda’s Mission is to facilitate young people between the ages of 12 to 35 years old to deepen their faith practically witnessing to the gospel through word and deed.

2. Introduction:

In 2014, the world celebrated 35 years since Francis of Assisi was declared Patron Saint of Ecology. He had been declared thus by Pope John Paul II in 1979. On June 18th 2015, Pope Francis issued Laudato Si (Praise be to You), an encyclical letter on the care of our common home (Earth) in reverence of St. Francis’ Canticle of Creatures. Later that year (Nov 28- Dec 11, 2015), the twenty first session of the Conference of Parties COP21 on the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCC) was held in Paris. The Pope’s address to the youth in November while on his visit to Uganda asked the youth to turn negatives into positives,

Are you ready to change everything negative in your life into something positive? [“Yes!”] Are you ready to turn hatred into love? [“Yes!”] Are you ready to want to turn war into peace? [“Yes!”] Never forget that you are a people of martyrs, that the blood of martyrs runs through your veins, and that is why you have the faith and the life which are yours. And this faith and this life, beautiful as they are, make this “the pearl of Africa”. Pope Francis while at Kololo Air Strip, Kampala (Uganda) on Saturday, 28 November 2015


This year, the sustainable development goals, laden with environmental and ecological messages were launched. The need to disseminate these values among youth generally and in particular faith based youth groups is indispensable.



For this reason, this year’s camp is named Laudato Si as a concrete response to the call of the Pope in caring for our common home and the values of JPIC that he enunciates there in.

The purpose and objectives of the camp therefore are to;

  • Consider and promote the ethical use of economic and natural resources in our society.
  • Disseminate the content of the Pope’s encyclical “Laudatosi’ and cause action for its implementation
  • Create awareness in an on-going formation, the values of our Franciscan spirituality highlighted in JPIC.
  • Introduce youth from across Uganda to the major JPIC themes and reasoning of Laudato Si.
  1. Duration;

The camp shall run for one week  i.e 4th December 2016 to 11th December 2016 at Mother Kevin Sustainable Farm, a property of the Little sisters of St. Francis within Kitotolo village. Kitotolo is a remote village off hoima road after Busunju town in Mityana District (Kiyinda Mityana Diocese).

  1. Beneficiaries and Participants:

We are targeting to have 100 from across the country, 55 from our respective 11 dioceses and 20 from areas we operate from as JPIC Clubs.  And 25 from the surrounding communities.  The camp will involve trainings on sustainable income generating activites, reflection on the Pope’s letter ‘’Care for our common Home’’ Laudatosi, Franciscan International’s booklet on “How to promote Human Rights among the Extreme poor”, Catholic Social Teaching and other Justice and Peace Principles.

We hope after the training and with some practical experiences from the sustainable farm, members would become change agents in the communities they would have come from.

Our beneficiaries and participants have been requested to contribute a registration fee of 10,000 as commitment for attendance.

As a sustainability plan, participants will be encouraged to form JPIC Clubs where ongoing support and information sharing will be availed.


Protecting the earth’s bounty and encouraging good stewardship of our environment is an important part of our work. We are working to help people in our community protect the environment, protect endangered ecosystems, fight climate change, protect our planet’s precious supply of water, keep extractive industries in balance, and  most important ‘green’ our country.

We are to remind everyone to make “Reduce-Recycle-Reuse-Remind” the guiding principle of their consumption patterns.

We hope the sharings will change the attitude towards one another.  Equality, common good and human dignity are some of the core principles that will be focused on.

Thefore we call upon and count on every one’s support and contribution according to their means to make this possible.

For Inquiries; Email:  or Contact

The Organising Commitee:       

1 Kugonza K. Nicholas (OFS) Chairperson


2 Atwine Gloria  (OFS) Secretary 0776630616
3 Nakigulli Jane Frances (YOUFRA) Treasurer 0752645297
4 Muhumuza Gilbert (YOUFRA) Formation 0701111216
5 Ofoyoru Benjamin (YOUFRA) Coordinator 0757909088
6 Fr. Francis Furtado (ofm. Cap) Spiritual Assistant



Letter to the Youth for World Youth Day 2016

Dear young Franciscans all over the world, may the Lord give you peace!

Our Seraphic Brother Saint Francis showed himself to be a true lover of God’s mercy. Finding himself deeply loved by the “Father of Mercies” (Cf. 2 COR 1.3) while still in his youth, the poor man of Assisi allowed this virtue to embrace his life and become in him availability, movement and liberation. Francis himself manifested this dynamism when he writes in his Testament that the Lord led his heart so he could go among the lepers, giving and receiving mercy (Cf. Test 2-3).

In this direction, inspired by St. Francis, we want to make a triple invitation to young people around the world, and so we invite you to participate in this upcoming World Youth Day.

The first invitation is to availability. Is the ability to cultivate the docility of a heart that seeks to give direction one’s own life. Francis was an eternal seeker, an idealist who was trying to fulfill his dream, which at first was a desired going up the social ladder and then his dream became a deep desire to conform to Christ. Precisely because his heart was open to understanding the manifestations of God’s love in his story, the young Francis managed to redefine the direction of his life, filling it with profound meaning.

Dear young people, never lose this availability. Remain always attentive to the many manifestations of mercy that the Lord gives to his daughters and sons. Listen with affection to the guidance of those who love you. Be brothers and sisters in solidarity with suffering people, particularly those who have been condemned to the invisibility of exclusion from a society that lives on the basis of profits: the poor, the sick, refugees, abandoned children, the elderly and many others. Always keep a healthy openness (availability) to dialogue and coexistence among the differences that characterize our time. Never abandon a life of prayer through which you can experience the action of God which touches and transforms the human heart. Never lose this availability inspired by the Lord!

The second call is to movement. We cannot remain in our structures, or get used to a comfortable life, because our Seraphic brother left us as a legacy a cloister which is as large as the world itself (Cf Sacrum Commercium 63). Typical of Franciscan life is the form of life proposal by Pope Francisco that we be an outgoing church, a field hospital, a Samaritan church that assists the injured and abandoned on the side of the road (Cf Evangelii Gaudium). Speaking directly to the youth of Argentina – with an invitation that is certainly valid for young people from all over the world –, during WYD 2013 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the Pope urged: “What do I hope as a result of the world youth day?

I hope there’s noise. I want you to be heard in your dioceses, I want the Church to go out into the streets, I want us to defend ourselves from all that is worldly, immobility, from what is convenience, clericalism, from everything that causes us to be closed in on ourselves. Parishes, schools, institutions are made to go out, if they don’t they will become an NGO and the Church cannot be an NGO. May bishops and priests forgive me if some of you create confusion for them. Though this is my advice. Thank you for what you can do. ” Be young people in movement.

The third is the invitation to liberation. Don’t make the same mistake of the rich young person (Mk 10:17-27): he possessed riches, observed perfectly the laws and precepts, but even so he felt that something was missing. Jesus looked at him with love – which is how he looks at each of you – and invited him to leave everything and follow him. He became sad because he preferred not to heed the call of the Lord, for he was very rich. Attachment to riches prevented him from experiencing the grace of being very close to God.

Be inspired by Francis, who gave up all his wealth in exchange for the treasure of detachment, which turned him into a liberated man, free to love God, people and all creatures. He became brother to all in his complete liberation. Give yourselves liberally and without reservation to Christ and his project. Be bearers of mercy and offer it to all those you meet in this adventure that is the following of Christ. May this mercy completely dominate your mind – so that you can put all your intelligence and your talents into service of Justice – dominate your heart – so that you can pulsate with a love of God that is made manifest in every situation – dominate your feet – so you can walk without tiring to existential and geographical margins – dominate your hands – so you can outstretch to everyone who lives in need of help. The more generous is your liberation, the more you will be conformed, as the Lord says: “to those who have, more will be given” (Mt 13:12).

These are the three invitations I humbly present you. We hope with great joy to see you in Krakow where, together, with Christ and St. Francis, we may experience concretely that “blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy” (Mt 7:5).

Rome, 11th July 2016, Feast of St. Benedict, abbot.

Fr. Michael Anthony Perry, OFM
Minister General

Fr. Marco Tasca, OFMConv
Minister General

Fr. Mauro Jöhri, OFMCap
Minister General

Fr. Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR
Minister General
President FFC

Tibor Kauser, OFS
Minister General

Sr. Deborah Lockwood, OSF
Minister General

Kampala’s Bright Doves makes Ten (10)

With great joy, Bright Doves of St. Francis will make ten (10) years of active evangelization in the church as instruments of peace as well as developing individual talents. Bright Doves was founded by a team of youth and lay franciscans (OFS) on 26th January 2006 and has since then been active in different activities ranging from music, dance and drama, liturgy, sports and promotion of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) values among others.


Bright Doves was the pioneer children and young adult group founded under the inspiration to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis (Young Franciscans – YOUFRA) in Kampala Arch-diocese at Kamwokya Catholic Parish. Its way of life along the way has inspired now Nsambya, Matugga, Namayumba and Kabulamuliro Parishes to evangelise to children and youth with Francis as their model teacher.

Luwero, Lugazi, Masaka and Kiyinda Mityana dioceses also enjoy the prevailing activities of Youfra Presence as Kampala ecclesiastical province.

The organizing committee in consultation with other stake holders resolved to have the celebration take place on 7th February 2016 other than the official date of 26th January.


Bright doves has been involved in a number of activities for the past 10 years including MDD, Art & Craft, Sports, Advocacy, Study schemes etc….. Items in form of crafts, CD’s, DVD’s, Publications etc.. will be displayed for inspiration and sale.

For the past ten years of existence as Bright Doves, many individuals have contributed to the Bright Doves we see today. We shall be rewarding those individual efforts that have left a significant mark in a democratic process. This exercise will also equip members with necessary skills and information on how a free and fair election happens.

We shall have speeches from notable guests and a representative from the group

Bright Doves has excelled in this field (Music, Dance & Drama) for quite some time. Now will be the time to share some of the fine pieces that have rocked the crowds for the past ten years.

Since its establishment, Bright Doves has been instrumental in various fields of spiritual, social and economic empowerment and development of the youth in the community. We are destined to being a model youth group under the spirituality of St. Francis propagating peace and helping the young realize their dreams through the promotion of JPIC Values. The workshop is meant to remind ourselves and share our source of Inspiration with those that see us out of context.

To coincide with the celebration, Bright Doves media team will run a commemorative souvenir magazine “The Bright Times Magazine” highlighting detailed editorial coverage on;
• Highlights on remarkable contributions for the last 10 years made by the Bright Doves of St. Francis and its partners.
• History and Franciscanism in Uganda
• Faith and Religion
• Health & Environment
• Education and Peace Building
Adverts & Articles in the magazine are still welcome till 30th.
Reach the Editorial team through +256774309296 Email to:

1. Evangelical outreaches
2. Community Cleaning
3. Novena Prayers through St. Francis
4. JPIC Workshop
5. Memorial mass for the departed

Pope Francis: I am looking forward to Ugandan trip


Pope Francis has said ahead of his voyage to Uganda this week, that he looks forward to especially meeting with the youth.

In his statement released by the Uganda Episcopal Conference on Sunday, the Pontiff said:
“A highlight of my visit will be my meetings with the young people who are your greatest resource and our most promising hope for a future of solidarity, peace and progress”.

Pope Francis is expected to meet 100,000 youth including Franciscans at Kololo Independence grounds on Saturday afternoon, among other meetings.

Souvenirs in Uganda's capital displayed in preparation for Pope Francis' visit.

Souvenirs in Uganda’s capital displayed in preparation for Pope Francis’ visit.

Pope’s message
As I prepare to visit Kenya and Uganda, I send a word of greetings and friendship to you and your families. I look forward to this time we will have together.
I am coming as a minister of the Gospel to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and his message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.

My visit is meant to confirm the Catholic community in its worship of God and its witness to the gospel which teaches the dignity of every man and woman and commands to open our hearts to poor and those in need.

At the same time, I wish to encounter all the people of Kenya and Uganda and to offer everyone a word of encouragement.
We are living at a time when religious believers, and persons of good will everywhere, are called to foster mutual understanding and respect, and to support each other as members of our one human family.

A highlight of my visit will be my meetings with the young people who are your greatest resource and our most promising hope for a future of solidarity, peace and progress. I know that many people are working hard to prepare for my visit and I thank them. I ask everyone to pray that my stay in Kenya and Uganda will be a source of hope and encouragement of all.
Upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessing of joy and peace.


A Papal Encyclical is the name typically given to a letter written by a Pope to a particular audience of Bishops. This audience of Bishops may be all of the Bishops in a specific country or all of the Bishops in all countries throughout the world. Today because of the common world challenges, the pope may write to guide on some issues that may cut across and the whole world desires to share in its relevancy.

Inspired by St. Francis

As inspired by St. Francis

The Pope and Saint Francis of Assisi
Qouting from the encyclical ‘Laudato Si’

“10. I do not want to write this Encyclical without turning to that attractive and compelling figure, whose name I took as my guide and inspiration when I was elected Bishop of Rome. I believe that Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically. He is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians. He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.

11. Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them “to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason”.[19] His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. That is why he felt called to care for all that exists. His disciple Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister’”.[20] Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behaviour. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.

12. What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Rom 1:20). For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty.[21]Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.

My appeal

13. The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.

14. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”. [22] All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.

15. It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter, which is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching, can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face. I will begin by briefly reviewing several aspects of the present ecological crisis, with the aim of drawing on the results of the best scientific research available today, letting them touch us deeply and provide a concrete foundation for the ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows. I will then consider some principles drawn from the Judaeo-Christian tradition which can render our commitment to the environment more coherent. I will then attempt to get to the roots of the present situation, so as to consider not only its symptoms but also its deepest causes. This will help to provide an approach to ecology which respects our unique place as human beings in this world and our relationship to our surroundings. In light of this reflection, I will advance some broader proposals for dialogue and action which would involve each of us as individuals, and also affect international policy. Finally, convinced as I am that change is impossible without motivation and a process of education, I will offer some inspired guidelines for human development to be found in the treasure of Christian spiritual experience.

16. Although each chapter will have its own subject and specific approach, it will also take up and re-examine important questions previously dealt with. This is particularly the case with a number of themes which will reappear as the Encyclical unfolds. As examples, I will point to the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, the conviction that everything in the world is connected, the critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, the value proper to each creature, the human meaning of ecology, the need for forthright and honest debate, the serious responsibility of international and local policy, the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle. These questions will not be dealt with once and for all, but reframed and enriched again and again.”

– See more or read in full at:

LESSONS FROM THE ENCYCLICAL IN THE EYES OF; Fr. James Martin, S.J, an editor at large of America and author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage. Twitter: @JamesMartinSJ.

Pope Francis’ revolutionary new encyclical calls for a “broad cultural revolution” to confront the environmental crisis. “Laudato Si” is also quite lengthy. Can it be summarized? In other words, what are the main messages, or “takeaways” of this encyclical?

Here let’s look at 10 Lessons we can pick from the encyclical as presented by Fr. James Martin.

1) The spiritual perspective is now part of the discussion on the environment.
The greatest contribution of “Laudato Si” to the environmental dialogue is, to my mind, its systematic overview of the crisis from a religious point of view. Until now, the environmental dialogue has been framed mainly with political, scientific and economic language. With this new encyclical, the language of faith enters the discussion—clearly, decisively and systematically. This does not mean that Pope Francis is imposing his beliefs on those concerned about the environment. “I am well aware,” he says, that not all are believers (No. 62). Nonetheless, the encyclical firmly grounds the discussion in a spiritual perspective and invites others to listen to a religious point of view, particularly its understanding of creation as a holy and precious gift from God to be reverenced by all men and women. But the pope also hopes to offer “ample motivation” to Christians and other believers “to care for nature” (No. 64). This does also not mean that other popes (and other parts of the church) have not spoken about the crisis—Francis highlights the teachings of his predecessors, particularly St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. But in its systematic spiritual approach, this is a groundbreaking document that expands the conversation by inviting believers into the dialogue and providing fresh insights for those already involved.

2) The poor are disproportionately affected by climate change.
The disproportionate effect of environmental change on the poor and on the developing world is highlighted in almost every section of the encyclical. Indeed, near the beginning of “Laudato Si,” the pope states that focus on the poor is one the central themes of the encyclical, and he provides many baneful examples of the effects of climate change, whose “worse impacts” are felt those living in the by developing countries. This is not simply the result of the power of the rich to make decisions that do not take the poor into account, but because the poor themselves have fewer financial resources that enable them to adapt to climate change. Additionally, the natural resources of those poorer countries “fuel” the development of the richer countries “at the cost of their own present and future” (No. 52). Throughout the encyclical, the pope appeals to the Gospels, to Catholic social teaching and to the statements of recent popes to critique the exclusion of anyone from benefits of the goods of creation. Overall, in decisions regarding the environment and the use of the earth’s common resources, he repeatedly calls for an appreciation of the “immense dignity of the poor” (No. 158).

3) Less is more.
Pope Francis takes aim at what he calls the “technocratic” mindset, in which technology is seen as the “principal key” to human existence (No. 110). He critiques an unthinking reliance on market forces, in which every technological, scientific or industrial advancement is embraced before considering how it will affect the environment and “without concern for its potential negative impact on human beings” (No. 109). This is not the view of a Luddite—in fact, Francis goes out of his way to praise technological advances—but of a believer who resists the idea that every increase in technology is good for the earth and for humanity. “Laudato Si” also diagnoses a society of “extreme consumerism” in which people are unable to resist what the market places before them, the earth is despoiled and billions are left impoverished (No. 203). That is why it is the time, he says, to accept “decreased growth in some part of the world, in order to provide recourse for other places to experience healthy growth” (No. 193). In contrast with the consumerist mindset, Christian spirituality offers a growth marked by “moderation and the capacity to be happy with little” (No. 222). It is a matter nothing less than a redefinition of our notion of progress.

4) Catholic social teaching now includes teaching on the environment.
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Against those who argue that a papal encyclical on the environment has no real authority, Pope Francis explicitly states that “Laudato Si” “is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching” (No. 15). By the way, an encyclical is a type of teaching that enjoys the highest level of authority in the church, second only to the Gospels and church councils like Vatican II. As such, it continues the kind of reflection on modern-day problems that began with Leo XIII’s “Rerum Novarum,” on capital and labor, in 1891. Pope Francis uses some of the traditional foundations of Catholic Social Teaching, particularly the idea of the “common good,” to frame his discussion. In keeping with the practices of Catholic social teaching, the pope combines the riches of the church’s theology with the findings of experts in a variety of fields, to reflect on modern-day problems. To that end, he explicitly links St. John XXIII’s “Pacem in Terris,” which addressed the crisis of nuclear war, with “Laudato Si,” which addresses this newer crisis.

5) Discussions about ecology can be grounded in the Bible and church tradition.
Wisely, Pope Francis begins the encyclical not with a reflection on Scripture and tradition (the two pillars of Catholic teaching), which might tempt nonbelievers to set aside the letter, but with an overview of the crisis—including issues of water, biodiversity and so on. Only in Chapter Two does he turn towards “The Gospel of Creation,” in which he leads readers, step by step, through the call to care for creation that extends as far back as the Book of Genesis, when humankind was called to “till and keep” the earth. But we have done, to summarize his approach, too much tilling and not enough keeping. In a masterful overview, Pope Francis traces the theme of love for creation through both the Old and New Testaments. He reminds us, for example, that God, in Jesus Christ, became not only human, but part of the natural world. Moreover, Jesus himself appreciated the natural world, as is evident in the Gospel passages in which he praises creation. The insights of the saints are also recalled, most especially St. Francis of Assisi, the spiritual lodestar of the document. In addition to helping nonbelievers understand the Scripture and the church’s traditions, he explicitly tries to inspire believers to care for nature and the environment.

6) Everything is connected—including the economy.

One of the greatest contributions of “Laudato Si” is that it offers what theologians call a “systematic” approach to an issue. First, he links all of us to creation: “We are part of nature, included in it, and thus in constant interaction with it” (No. 139). But our decisions, particularly about production and consumption, have an inevitable effect on the environment. Pope Francis links a “magical conception of the market,” which privileges profit over the impact on the poor, with the abuse of the environment (No. 190). Needless to say, a heedless pursuit of money that sets aside the interests of the marginalized and leads to the ruination of the planet are connected. Early on, he points to St. Francis of Assisi, who shows how “inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace” (No. 10). Far from offering a naïve condemnation of capitalism, Pope Francis provides an intelligent critique of the limits of the market, especially where it fails to provide for the poor. “Profit,” he says, “cannot be the sole criterion” of our decisions (No. 187).

7) Scientific research on the environment is to be praised and used.

Pope Francis does not try to “prove” anything about climate change in this document. He frankly admits that the church does not “presume to settle scientific questions” (No. 188). And while he clearly states that there are disputes over current science, his encyclical accepts the “best scientific research available today” and builds on it, rather than entering into a specialist’s debate (No. 15). Speaking of the great forests of the Amazon and Congo, and of glaciers and aquifers, for example, he simply says, “We know how important these are for the earth…” (No. 38: my italics.) As the other great Catholic social encyclicals analyzed such questions as capitalism, unions and fair wages, “Laudato Si” draws upon both church teaching and contemporary findings from other fields—particularly science, in this case—to help modern-day people reflect on these questions.

8) Widespread indifference and selfishness worsen environmental problems.

Pope Francis reserves his strongest criticism for the wealthy who ignore the problem of climate change, and especially its effect on the poor. “Many of those who possess more resources seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms… (No. 26). Why, he asks, are so many of the wealthy turning away from the poor? Not only because “some view themselves as more worthy than others,” but because frequently decisions makers are “far removed from the poor,” physically, with no real contact to their brothers and sisters (No. 90, 49). Selfishness also leads to the evaporation of the notion of the common good. This affects not simply for those in the developing world, but also in the inner cities of our more developed countries, where he calls for what might be termed an “urban ecology.” In the world of “Laudato Si” there is no room for selfishness or indifference. One cannot care for the rest of nature “if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings” (No. 91).

9) Global dialogue and solidarity are needed.
Perhaps more than any encyclical, Pope Francis draws from the experiences of people around the world, using the insights of bishops’ conferences from Brazil, New Zealand, Southern Africa, Bolivia, Portugal, Germany, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Australia and the United States, among other places. (In this way, he also embodies the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which, in part, looks to local experience and local solutions.) Moreover, the “new dialogue” and “honest debate” he calls for is not simply one within the Catholic Church (No. 14, 16). Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, enters into the encyclical, as does a Sufi poet. In fact, the pope calls into dialogue and debate “all people” about our “common home” (No. 62, 155). A global dialogue is also needed because there are “no uniform recipes.” What works in one region may not in another (No. 180). The encyclical’s worldwide scope (as opposed to a more Eurocentric cast) makes it an easier invitation for a worldwide community.

10) A change of heart is required
At heart, this document, addressed to “every person on the planet” is a call for a new way of looking at things, a “bold cultural revolution” (No. 3, 114). We face an urgent crisis, when, thanks to our actions, the earth has begun to more and more like, in Francis’ vivid language, “an immense pile of filth” (No. 21). Still, the document is hopeful, reminding us that because God is with us, we can strive both individually and corporately to change course. We can awaken our hearts and move towards an “ecological conversion” in which we see the intimate connection between God and all beings, and more readily listen to the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (No. 49).
To use religious language, what the pope is calling for is conversion.

Check out a beautiful video summarising the encyclical by CRS created in collaboration with Caritas Catholic international humanitarian aid organizations throughout the world, this video provides a quick summary for high school aged students. 

Up coming events of 2014


• 10th October Youfra Assembly at Holy Trinity Church Kamwokya.
• 1st November celebration of the 35th anniversary of St. Francis as patron saint of ecology.
21st November Commemoration of Children Rights Day(Theme: Prevention of Child Labour, Our Responsibility) and Proposed pre – activities here below:
• Essay Writing, Stories, poems, Music Compositions, Plays –Theme: “Children need love, care and support but not heavy work to earn a living” Deadline 31st October 2014
• Regional Inter Schools Debate – Motion: “Children do not deserve to work to earn a living” 24th October 2014 at Splendour Junior School-Kisaasi-Kampala, Basajjabalaba P/S-Ishaka-Bushenyi, Kaliro Demonstration P/S-Kaliro.
• Child Labour Partners Forum & Inter Schools Competitions Finals at KCCA Primary School – Kamwokya-Kampala, 7th November 2014.
• Radio Talk Show: “How do you tell the difference between Child Labour and Light Work/ Domestic Work” 9th November 2014 at 101.7 Mama FM.
• December (Date not yet confirmed) Uzima Eucharistic Retreat in Jinja

35th anniversary of St. Francis as Patron Saint of Ecology

35th anniversary of St. Francis as Patron Saint of Ecology

Written by Ana
Youfra International Councillor

As you know, on November 29, 2014, we will mark the 35th anniversary of the appointment St. Francis Patron of Ecology by Pope St. John Paul II. The Interfranciscan Commission for Justice and Peace (called Romans VI), prepared a reflection (which, through the OFM General Definitory was handed over personally to Pope Francis) and subsidies to facilitate the memory of the event. All this material is available in the blog in 11 languages. The number of visits made to the site shows a very low turnout, therefore we invite you to visit the blog and take advantage of the material prepared.

The Canticle of the Creatures

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.