African Clergy Assistance, began in the summer of 2000 in a conversation with Maryknoll Missionary, Fr. Douglas May. Included in our discussion was my expressed desire to some day visit Africa. That breakfast conversation resulted in my agreement to house and supervise a Coptic Rite: Egyptian Seminarian for three weeks. Farah Fouzy arrived with three other Coptic Rite seminarians in the summer of 2001. Experiencing western culture, Roman Rite……………
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By Fr. Ron Sajdak
T The Diocese of Jinja Mission Office was invited by the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Diocese of Buffalo for the spring Mission Appeal. To our surprise, his lordship, Charles Martin Wamika, bishop of Jinja, himself came to Buffalo for the appeals which covered three weeks. He then traveled to Boston, Louisiana, and then Alabama. ROTA will be flying Bishop Wamika back to Buffalo in order to participate in the evening prayer service, presbyterate dinner, and installation of Bishop Richard Malone. That weekend, Bishop Wamika was welcomed to celebrate the weekend Masses at St. Martin de Porres the weekend of August 10th. At the 9:30AM Mass, Bishop Charles will bless and dedicate the newly installed batik of St. Charles Lwanga and the Ugandan Martyrs at the church. How providential that Bishop Wamika was named after both St. Charles Lwanga for his first name and St. Martin de Porres for his middle name. The batik was purchased at the shrine of the Ugandan Martyrs last May as our Mission Group traveled through Kampala toward the medicine depot dedication in the Masaka Diocese. Through the intercession of these young men of strength and virtue, we pray that they will intercede for the countless young men who fall to violence on our city streets. St. Charles Lwanga and companions, pray for us.
On March 1st, 2010, Bishop Kmiec appointed Fr. Ron Sajdak, Diocesan Director of the Pontifical Mission Society in Buffalo. In addition to his work as Pastor of St. Martin de Porres, Fr. Ron will have the added responsibility of overseeing the acceptance and placement of missionaries from around the whole world who come to Buffalo to help keep our local community aware of what God is doing in the Body of Christ around the whole world. Before Fr. Ron’s appointment, ROTA was accepted and assigned parishes for mission appeal. ROTA made arrangements and provided transportation assistance for Fr. Emmanuel Katabaazi, the Coordinator of Catholic Health Care for the Diocese of Masaka, Uganda to come to Buffalo for a few weeks. Fr. Emmanuel’s first time to the USA was his first visit to Buffalo as well in 2005. He was accepted then as well for the “Mission Cooperative Appeal” with funds raised then along with targeted fundraising from ROTA was able to purchase a vehicle that enables him to continue to perform on site visits to the twenty-nine clinics and two hospitals he supervises. On this visit, Fr. Emmanuel conducted his mission appeal at Immaculate Conception Parish in East Aurora, Good Shepherd Parish in Pendleton, and SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Hamburg. A special thanks to Fr. Robert Wardenski, Fr. Daniel Young, and Fr. Mark Wolski these parishes respective pastors who warmly welcomed Fr. Emmanuel and provided so much support to his mission needs. ROTA was able to wire $14,200 USD to the Masaka Catholic Health Ministry. These funds will be used to assist in the construction of a pharmaceutical dispensary enabling Fr. Emmanuel to purchase larger quantities of needed medicines for all the health facilities in his care.
Fr. Angelo Agany Deng, pastor of St. George Parish in Aweil, Southern Sudan was also accepted by Buffalo’s Mission Office and ROTA assisted him in his local travel to Buffalo. Buffalo was one stop among a host of others. This was Fr. Angelo’s second visit to USA and first visit to participate in the Mission Cooperative Appeal. He was able to visit Blessed Trinity Parish in Buffalo and St. John Parish in Olean. Special thanks to Fr. George Reger and Fr. Edward Sheedy who made him feel so welcome. Funds that Fr. Angelo collected were sent through the Pontifical Mission Ministry Office of Buffalo to the Comboni Missionaries in Ohio. They collected all the funds that Fr. Angelo raised throughout his visit to USA and would then wire the funds to his Bishop in Wau. The funds will be used to perform much needed repair to his church and provide the foundation for future health project initiatives in Aweil. Special thanks to all our Buffalo area pastors, pastoral staffs, and congregations for your most generous hospitality and assistance to our missionaries.
Pictured here from left to right, Fr. Angelo Deng, ROTA Board member Jenaro Aken, Ann Heraty and Sr. Diane Swanson from St. Bernadette Parish in Orchard Park, Fr. Emmanuel Katabaasi, and former “Lost Boy” Fidele Diing Dhan.
ROTA is pleased to assist members of the Aweil Sudanese Community in bringing Fr. Angelo, pastor of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Aweil, Southern Sudan to Western New York. Fr. Angelo will be visiting his parishioners who due to the years of civil war have resettled in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. Fr. Ron and Fidele Dhan met him and stayed with him at St. Stephens while in Aweil, Sudan. Fr. Angelo comes to USA for a few months of rest and networking in order to line up Mission Appeals that will earn him some funding that will be used to repair his large church building and assist him with the development of a medical clinic as well. Would you know; it, he arrived in Buffalo just before our first significant snowfall; thus he witnessed his first snowfall. A winter coat, boots, gloves and a hat were all newly secured for him to allow him to adjust to this new climate. After visiting Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester, Fr. Angelo will proceed to New Hampshire and the back to Kansas City where his journey in this country began. In all these locations he has been welcomed by men and women to whom he ministered when they were younger while in Aweil. Again and again they welcomed him, provided for him, and took great joy to see him again. We pray for Fr. Angelo’s safe travel back to Sudan and his safe return back to USA in the spring of 2010 so that he can begin his mission work.
ROTA is also very pleased to have offered some assistance to Fr. Paul Ladda; a priest from Tanzania. Fr. Ladda is engaged in studies at D’Youville College, living on campus and staying with Msgr. David Gallivan at Holy Cross Church on the Westside of Buffalo. Fr. Paul was the main celebrant in the Diocese of Buffalo Office of Cultural Diversity African Commission’s celebration of All Saints Day which was held at St. Martin de Porres on Sunday, November 1st, 2009. Special emphasis was paid to the many women of men of Africa who have led the Church at different times in her history. Welcome Fr. Paul.
We are pleased to announce the Ordination of Maged Monis Ghattas to the Coptic Rite Priesthood in Cairo, Egypt. Maged, is on the right, pictured with the late Fr. Evarist and Gregory Jackson above. He joined Fr. Ron at St. Martin de Porres in the summer of 2002. He spent about three weeks in Buffalo living with Fr. Ron and Fr. Evarist Lubega of Uganda in the then St. Martin de Porres Residence on Wyoming Street. He was very instrumental in Fr. Ron’s and Mr. Richard Ersing’s first visit to Africa by way of Egypt back in 2005. It has taken a length of time but the day finally has come as we congratulate him on the occasion of his ordination. He is pictured on the right complete with his Coptic miter hat. His Bishop is pictured on the left. ROTA has been pleased to have forwarded both Fr. Maged and Abuna Yoseph, formerly Farah Fwazy, Ordained in 2005, some Mass stipends as well.
Goal Two - African Clergy Assistance, began in the summer of 2000 in a conversation with Maryknoll Missionary, Fr. Douglas May. Included in our discussion was my expressed desire to some day visit Africa. That breakfast conversation resulted in my agreement to house and supervise a Coptic Rite: Egyptian Seminarian for three weeks. Farah Fouzy arrived with three other Coptic Rite seminarians in the summer of 2001. Experiencing western culture,Roman Rite Mass, traveling with Fr. Ron to sacramental and outreach ministries were all met with excitement by this young man from ancient Egypt. The relationship would continue through the years in part through the marvels of E-mail and internet communications and result in Fr. Ron’s first trip to Africa in 2005 for Farah’s ordination to the priesthood. In January of 2002, while attending the Diocesan Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Mass, Fr. Ron met a unique, holy, and humble priest from the Diocese of Masaka, Uganda: Fr. Evarist Lubega. He had arrived just days earlier and took up residence with Fr. Roderick Brown, OP at the rectory of St. Martin dePorres RC Church. During his nine month Sabbatical rest, conversation, friendship, and affection continued to grow between Fr. Evarist and Fr. Ron. Goal Three – Connections with Third WorldMinistries in the motherland of Africa was about to be born. Fr. Evarist was director of a trade school in Uganda Africa: The St. Charles Lwanga Butende Technical Institute, renamed by us St. Charles Lwanga BTI. After many conversations and encouragements, Fr. Ron arranged meetings with Fr. Evarist and possible supporters of his ministry. These conversations gave birth to the awareness and necessity of a water well at the school and Goal Three of ROTA was born. While Fr. Evarist was enjoying his first summer in America, Fr. Ron was appointed pastor to succeed Fr. Brown at St. Martin de Porres. Another Coptic Rite Seminarian, Maged Moins, had arranged to visit USA and stay for a few weeks with Fr. Ron. The rectory became the St. Martin de Porres Residence and a new ministry of clergy assistance was born. Later in 2002 St. Martin de Porres Residence would welcome its first African Bishop from southern Sudan, his lordship Rudolph Deng Majak, Bishop of Wau. This bishop was visiting Buffalo’s Sudanese African community in exile and meeting with the “Lost Boys of Sudan” as well. We had the pleasure of welcoming Bishop Majak for Sunday morning Mass at St. Martin de Porres in September of 2002. ROTA: Reaching Out 2 Africa, has had the pleasure of welcoming two additional Bishops to Buffalo and St. Martin de Porres Parish. We also welcomed his lordship, Paride Taban, Bishop of Torit and his lordship Paolino Lukudo Loro, Archbishop of Juba, Southern Sudan. We thank God for the opportunity to welcome and assist these strong men of God in their ministries of rebuilding the Church and the Country of Southern Sudan. Former African seminarians, Sudanese unmarried men trying to work and go to school as well as African clergy all took up residence at the St. Martin de Porres Residence. With the untimely death of our good friend Fr. Evarist Lubega on May 1st of 2005, we arranged transportation for and welcomed to St. Martin de Porres, Stephen Sseruwu. As principal of the St. Charles Lwanga BTI he was a most welcome guest. He assisted us to have a memorial Mass in honor of Fr. Evarist for all Fr. Evarist’s friends here in the United States. Stephen too was a great influence on the children of both St. Martin de Porres and St. Bernadette in Orchard Park; helping them get involved in the new project for ROTA; the building of the young ladies dormitory. Most recently we welcomed Fr. Linus Umoren, a priest from Nigeria who was studying in Rome, Italy, who desired some much needed rest. Fr. Linus liked USA so much he returned the following year and took a position as Associate Pastor of Queen of Peace parish in Niagara Falls, NY. We were also most happy to arrange for travel and Missionary Appeal here in Buffalo for, Fr. Emmanuel Katabaazi; Fr. Evarist’s best friend from Uganda. His presence with us enabled us to assist him as well helping him secure funds that would allow him to purchase a used vehicle for transportation of prescription drugs from a central location to the twenty-nine clinics and two hospitals he’s responsible for as coordinator of the Catholic Health Care System of the Diocese of Masaka, Uganga. This contact was also very valuable for us for Fr. Emmanuel helped coordinate our second missionary journey to Africa in January of 2008 for the dedication of “Evarist House;” the new young ladies dormitory built on the St. Charles Lwanga BTI campus through the efforts of ROTA: Reaching Out 2 Africa. We continually look forward to welcoming more African clergy to USA. We currently have communication with students of St. Charles Lwanga BTI as well as seminarians in the Diocese of Masaka. May God continue to assist us in assisting others of the motherland who preach the Gospel, the Good News of Peace.