". . . and look forward to Holy Easter
with Joy and Spiritual Longing."
Rule of St. Benedict, Ch. 49, 7
A message from our office usually comes with a request!
Today I wish to bring to your attention a project Sr. Rosann Ocken, O.S.B., a member of Immaculata Monastery in nearby Norfolk, NE, presented for consideration. Sister is currently the Regional Superior for the Missionary Benedictine Sisters in Jinja, Uganda.
Let me come right away to the facts of her last message:
Ever since the Sisters arrived in Jinja the focus has been on healthcare and education, starting with kindergarten to primary school. The small school building soon reached its capacity. Makeshift outdoor spaces are utilized for meals, classes and meetings. Presently an old storage shed serves as teachers’ lounge, work space for lesson planning, and a quiet spot where they also eat their noon meal when not assigned to monitor the students.
The dining hall for 600 students is highly inadequate. Meals have to be served in shifts. This space is also used for many functions, e.g. parent – teacher conferences, all school assemblies and celebrations. On Sundays the dining hall serves as Chapel for Holy Mass with students and faithful of the vicinity – truly an overcrowded space. Imagine if we applied American standards for occupancy! I have no doubt in my mind that the authorities would shut us down immediately.
After consultation a masterplan was conceived that calls for a two story addition to the school with classrooms, library and computer lap, and an open assembly hall which also serves as a dining hall for the students. On weekends it will also be the makeshift chapel for Sunday Eucharist with the faithful. Renovation of the present facility will provide much needed storage space and an office in a central location as envisioned by Sr. Rosann, her community and teachers.
Several steps need to be taken prior to construction of a dining hall and classrooms
- Estimate the cost based on architectural drawings – price tag $400,000
- Secure Funds – Sr. Rosann asked our office to partner with her and many friends in the US to raise at least part of the total estimated cost. Several organizations and the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing have also been asked for their financial support.
Our involvement in finding a good solution
Knowing that I can always count on the generosity of our friends, I was bold enough to assure Sr. Rosann that she can expect part of the total cost to be covered by donations of our supporters.
Lent is upon us. The Church invites us to make this a time for spiritual renewal. Let me list a few suggestions:
- spend time in prayer and holy reading
- visit the sick and homebound
- give alms – from funds that may have been budgeted forleisure and personal items
- clean out closets and donate used clothing and other items to the Salvation Army, Red Cross or other organizations that help the homeless and needy
- help Sr. Rosann and community to make the school addition a reality
For your anticipated help and good deeds, THANK YOU and may the Lord reward you!
Let us look forward to Holy Easter, celebrating the mysteries of our redemption: Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Together with the Sisters in Jinja, the students and the faithful, we will keep you and your intentions in our prayers. God’s choicest blessings and graces!
Bro. Tobias, OSB
Director of Development