Novena Appeal - Novitiate House-Tororo
How I wish that all monasteries of our Congregation in Europe and in the United States would have the same “problem” as the young community in Tororo, Uganda. Overall, the communities in Africa and Asia are blessed with vocations, even though the numbers are down from years past. In Tororo we face the challenge of “overcrowding” and plans for “proper monastic formation” which is the essential foundation for the Benedictine way of life.
A quick history lesson: In 1984 our Congregation made a foundation at the outskirts of Tororo as a dependent house of Peramiho Abbey in Tanzania. Several young men from Uganda had already joined our community in Nairobi, Kenya, and Uganda proved to be a fertile ground for recruiting vocations. Fast forward: In 2016 the community was encouraged by the Congregation leadership to work towards independence.
“The Novitiate is the womb that gives birth to new community members”, Prior Fidelis writes in a message to the Conference of Mission Procurators. Over the past few years the community has been blessed with good vocations. In March of this year the number of monks in the initial stages of formation numbered 18. Accommodations are crowded! Buildings designated as retreat and guest house are presently occupied by postulants and novices. Prior Fidelis is hopeful that in good time these young confreres, being rooted in the monastic tradition, and having finished being educated in their chosen profession, can take on leadership positions within the monastery and its affiliated workshops, eye clinic, etc. Therefore, education has a high priority in addition to the important aspect of proper housing and sufficient classroom space for the formation program. Only then can the vision of a spirituality center – retreat and guest house – become a reality. The goal: sustainable living that cuts back on the need of outside subsidies.
Fr. Fidelis further explains the vision statement which the community adopted as guideline for all its ministries: “We want to be of service to the local Church but also help with skilled personnel at other monasteries of our Congregation, thus being missionaries and witnesses of Christ’s call! The missionary spirit is very much alive in the community and its young members in formation.
At the March 2019 meeting of the procurators, it was decided that Christ the King Priory in Tororo should receive the needed funds for the building of a dormitory building for the postulants and novices so that the present space can serve the ever increasing number of visitors who seek out the monastery for days of spiritual and physical renewal.
I told my confreres: “American donors have helped with projects in Tororo before; they certainly will do so again.” As you can see on the photo, a simply one story dormitory has already been erected and will soon be completed for occupancy. In my opinion, the community acted in faith when they initiated construction without securing funding first, a visible act of trust that God, through the generosity of benefactors, will provide.
Now the beggar in me once again knocks at the door of your heart! Can I count on your financial support? You will help the growing community of monks in Tororo, but also the Church in Uganda, especially women and men seeking ways to deepen their spiritual life by coming to the oasis of peace in Tororo.
I invite you and all our friends to unite in spirit with the monks of the Mission House in the observance of our Annual Novena of Nine Days of Prayer and Holy Mass in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven from August 6th through 15th. Please make your intentions known to us so that we can include these in our devotion and prayer, imploring the intercession of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
On behalf of my brother monks here in Schuyler and in the name of the community in Tororo, I thank you for your anticipated financial help. God certainly showers HIS blessings upon you.
Brother Tobias, OSB