HLI Ugandan Mission Hits the Road
It is said of postal workers: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” But they have nothing on HLI Affiliate Director for this Ugandan mission, Father Jonathan Opio. With HLI since 2010, his Ugandan mission is unstoppable.
He had planned a five-hour car ride September 25th – no mean task – to address 226 seminarians and 7 seminary staff at the Ugandan Martyrs National Major Seminary. The parish is Alokolum, a few miles from Gulu.
Two Near Fatalities
Two hours into the drive, there was a frightening accident that could easily have resulted in the fatalities of both Father Opio and his traveling companion, Pius Okiror. Because a car was passing a truck in their lane, they swerved off the road, into a forest and hit a rock. The car flipped twice. Thanks be to God, both walked away from the accident. Saying, “God wants us to continue to do His will,” Father Opio then took it upon himself to leave Pius re-assemblying all the prolife materials on site and walked 5 kilometers to report the accident to the police. After returning an hour later, Pius remained to coordinate with police, as Father determined to proceed to Gulu for his talk.
Invited by the Rector, Father Opio did not want to put of his mission to the seminary because such visits are arranged well in advance. Cancelling meant he would have had to wait till the following semester. “Right now,” said Father Opio, “there is a heavy push for sex education as well as abortion in Uganda.” Thankfully, under section 141, 142, 143, 212, 224, of the Penal Code Act, and article 22 of the Constitution, abortion is illegal iin the country.
Calling to say he’d been held up, he then caught a bus and arrived three hours late. There he received a warm welcome from all, who were shocked to discover the details and see pictures of the accident.
Dean of Students: “Gospel of Life is Critical to Your Formation”
Fr. Opio emphasized many pastors face daily challenges on pro-life and family issues. Not mincing words, he tackled the Culture of Death; contraception, the population control agenda, the immorality of birth control and its harmful health and sinful effects on users. He also spoke against the still illegal and radically graphic Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). Fr. Opio explained members of the Church are sometimes misled themselves, and called on all present to remain vigilant to all programs run by groups in their parishes.
“Ask Africans their needs and you will never hear abortion or contraception.”- Father Opio
In Uganda, anti-life groups continue to push for legal abortion. Father spoke with fervor:
“Abortion is not health care. Ugandans love and value children – seen as a blessing from God. Abortion is an imperialistic agenda, crafted to control population of poor countries; our African women are treated as a commodity and abused under the disguise of promoting their rights. There is no such thing as ‘safe legal abortion.’ Every abortion wounds the mother and kills the child. Defeat the devil…advocate always for abstinence among the young and fidelity between spouses!” He also referenced Natural Family Planning Method (NFP) as an aid to married couples.
Many seminarians became aware of new aspects of the Life, Love and Family issues that HLI espouses on behalf of the Catholic Church. At the conclusion of Father Opio’s Ugandan mission address, Rector Msgr. Cosmas Alule pledged every year, HLI Uganda would give a presentation to the Seminary.
The seminary is named for 22 Catholics and 23 Anglicans killed because of their Faith under King Mwanga in the late 1800s. The Catholics were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964, the Pope also paying testimony to the sacrifice of the Anglican lives when confronted with dying for Christ. Let us give thanks to God for protecting Fr. Jonathan Opio and Pius Okiror and ask the intercession of the Ugandan Martyrs to guide and protect them in the HLI mission.
As for Father Opio? He departed by bus at 8:30pm, and arrived home at 3:00am! “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers…!”