by Gordon Nary
Gordon: When you received your vocation, with whom did you first discuss it, and what was their advice?
Father Julius: Seriously speaking. I can not be specific about when I received the vocation. All I can say is that I grew up in a Catholic setting. My aunt is a religious nun and she inspired me so much to join the vocation. She made sure that I got in contact with several priests.
Gordon: Where did you attend seminary? What was your favorite course, and why was it your favorite?
Father Julius: I begun my seminary formation at Christ the King and St. Charles Lwanga minor seminary located at a place called Kisubi in my country Uganda. Later I joined Uganda Martyrs National Major seminary for my first degree in philosophy. It was from there that I was sent to St. Paul National Major Seminary- Kyinyamasika Fort Portal for my Theological studies. Pastoral Theology was my favorite course because it was so interactive. It also helped me to know how best I could take Christ to the last person to expect.
Gordon: What do you enjoy most as pastor of St. Mbaaga Tuzinde Kiwaatule Catholic Parish?
Father Julius: I enjoy working with the youth and children in my parish. I also enjoy visiting the elderly people in my community and helping people of God who are needy.
I also like engaging the youth and bringing them closer to the church. I do this by encouraging the youth to join praise and worship and joining the choirs.
I as well enjoy helping the youth to use their youthful age to develop themselves rather than wasting time doing evil. I achieve this by organizing parish youth days where i invite different inspirational people and leaders to talk to them.
Gordon: Who was St. Mbaaga Tuzinde?
Father Julius: Mbaaga Tuzinde was a boy who was born around 1896 at Buyonga or Lumuli in Naddangira Parish around 1869. His father was Waggumbulizi Katamiiza of the Mmamba clan and was aged 17 years of age at the time of his martyrdom, he was known as the son of Mukaajanga, the chief executioner, in whose household he was brought up and who presented him at Court. He had just been baptized in case of emergency by his fellow Catholic, Charles Lwanga, the previous night.
Gordon: You also serve as Youth Chaplain Kampala Vicariate. What are your primary responsibilities?
Father Julius: My primary responsibility as requested by my Late Archbishop is to promote the youth activities on social platforms and networks. This was s because my Archbishop recognized that majority of the youth spend much of their time on social media. There for am trying to use media to promote the spiritual, moral, physical, social and economic growth of the youth of Kampala Vicariate.
I am in charge of coordinating the ministry of the youth in Kampala vicariate. Its my responsibility to ensure that every parish in my vicariate has a vibrant and effective youth ministry and that there is growth and development amongst its leaders and members. I also act as a mentor and coach to youth leaders and help youth leaders set achievable goals and support them in the execution.
Gordon: How difficult is it for young people to find work in Uganda?
Father Julius: Given the type of education in my country which teaches the youth to seek for jobs rather than create them, it is indeed very hard for most of the youth in my country to get employed. The few who are advantaged get the jobs but then, they are underpaid due to poor government employment policies e.g of failing to institute a minimum wage policy among others.
Today’s parenting and child upbringing is also a strong factor. Parents today are shaping children that cannot do anything for themselves hence raising lazy children that can not work for themselves. This makes it hard for such people to be employed anywhere.
Another factor is lack of experience. Many employees look for workers with work experience which most youth do not have.
Uganda still has a big number of aged men and women who are not willing to quit work and hand over to the youth hence we have very many people that would be retired still in offices and a lot of youths jobless.
Most young people despise certain types of jobs so a graduate finds it difficult to work as a bricklayer or as a mechanic. Most learned youth still think that working in offices is the only highly paying opportunity. In brief, most youth prefer white collar jobs to black collar jobs.
The "ani akumanyi" (who knows you). and "who sent you here" tendencies in most work stations have also left a number of youth unemployed.
Gordon: Please provide an overview of poverty on Uganda
Father Julius: Uganda remains one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2019/2020, 12.3 million people (30.1% of the population) lived below the poverty line of U.S. $1.77 per person per day (Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 2021).
Gordon: Please share with our readers the impact of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army on Uganda.
Father Julius: It is said that the LRA has its roots in the conflict between the Acholi tribe of northern Uganda and other tribes in southern Uganda that began during Idi Amin Dada's regime (1971-1979). and its occurrence left many Ugandans, mostly the northerners homeless, orphans ,widows, widowers, disabled and mentally ill . It also led to many people migrating from their ancestral homes to other parts of the country. It also caused great social, physical, emotional, religious and economic impact on many Ugandans, mostly the Northern People.
Gordon: What is Giving Heart Foundation
Father Julius: Giving Heart is aimed at providing education and necessities to children from disadvantaged communities. Through Giving Heart Foundation Uganda together with the local leaders of the area, we have been supporting children from under privileged families in vulnerable communities in urban and suburban areas to stay in school. We identify the children who have dropped out due to lack of school fees and basic requirements that enable them to stay in school and solicit for funds from well-wishers to help in the cause. In the same way we use the collected funds to provide scholastic materials like books, pens, pencils, shoes, school uniforms to the children who come to school with almost nothing with them.
We try supporting vulnerable communities to have efficient education for the children. In so doing, this will result into low levels of early pregnancies, marriages, child labor and high dependency burdens. More still, there will be reduced numbers of school drop outs and crime rate.
With adequate funding, the money will be used to target children between the age of 4 years to 12 years who are orphans and those that hail from very poor families by providing all basic requirements and school fees to help them stay in school. Giving Heart Foundation will also use some funds to train youths and women to equip them with vocational skills. Much interest will be put at art and craft, tailoring and urban farming in order to enable them become self-sustaining and reliant. In so doing, they will be able to fend for their families.
Gordon: Thank for an exceptional and insightful interview and I ask our readers to pray for you and for all the young people in Uganda, and hopefully support
Giving Heart with a donation. I ask our readers to remember that Christ said ” I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Youe donation will allow these beautiful children to walk in the truth and please God immensely.