REACHINGOUT2AFRICA.COM : Assisting African Clergy

Assisting African Clergy

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……………

Click on the link(s) below to read about ROTA Assisting African Clergy.

[X] close

Assisting African Clergy

ROTA: Reaching Out 2 Africa provides assistance to African Clergy in a number of ways including providing transportation costs so that our African friends may come to Buffalo and participate in the local summer Mission Cooperative Program run by the Diocese of Buffalo. This enables our local community to be enriched by hearing the stories of faith, witness the miracles God is accomplishing and be part of the great miracles yet to be accomplished. The sharing of Mass stipend gifts with our friends enables them to both pray for our needs and sustain their own lives across the miles.

Click on a link below to read about ROTA's efforts in Southern Sudan.


 At the end of last summer ROTA was blessed to finally meet Abuna (Father) Kuol Dut, one of the former “Lost Boys of the Sudan” who now is a priest in the Diocese of Wau. Last year I was able to speak by phone with Fr. Dut who was in the country for mission appeals.  This year we were especially blessed to have the opportunity for Fr. Dut to meet many ROTA board members.
      As for all the “Lost Boys” their families were devastated by the reality of a twenty-five year civil war between the Islamic North and Christian South. “The captured adults and young men are subjected to excruciating and reprehensible torture such as maiming, castration, sexual exploitation, beatings, and other similar forms of cruelty. Captured young women and girls as well as children were raped and taken to the North as slaves. Villages, houses, and other forms of shelters were set on fire and reduced to ashes. Dinka’s principal source of life, pride, wealth, and prestige such as cattle, goats, and sheep were looted and taken to the North. For Dinka, without cattle, there is no food, marriage, economy, progress, and more importantly, Dinka man will have no reason to live.” Fr. Dut witnessed this brutality firsthand.
    Fr. Dut’s survival journey would have him join many thousand other “Lost Boys” making their journey on foot to Ethiopia and then back through Sudan to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. “Apart from African traditional religion, I knew nothing about Christianity until when I was in Ethiopia.” After having acquainted myself with Catholic Church, I decided to enroll myself into the catechumenate class. Unfortunately, On May 21, 1991, I left Ethiopia for Sudan without completing catechesis needed for baptism. In August, 1992, after I came to Kakuma Refugee camp, I resumed my catechetical classes. On April 10, 1993, I was baptized and got confirmed two years later. I purposely chosen the name ‘Gabriel’ as my Christian and baptismal name solely because I have had always wanted to be a messenger like Angel Gabriel recorded in the Sacred Scripture.
Fr. Dut was resettled into the United States with many others of the “Lost Boys.” His destination was Atlanta, Georgia. As with many of the “Lost Boys” Fr. Dut attended a Community College and earned his GED. In December 2001, I went to Sioux Falls to visit some friends. It was during this visit a friend introduced me to the late Rev. Fr. Thomas J. Ryan, who was assigned by his Bishop to take care of immigrates. During my conversation with Fr Ryan, I told him that I wanted to go to seminary to become a priest. In January 2005 when I was sent to the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul, Minnesota, to study Philosophy.
      I went back to visit South Sudan in the summer of 2008 for the first time since I left it in 1989. My pastoral experiences during my three-month visit persuaded and gave me the courage to request that I return home to continue my studies. In March 2010, I returned to South Sudan and joined my native diocese. On December 20, 2014 I was ordained deacon by Bishop Macram Gassis and on April 1, 2015, I was ordained priest. Both of my diaconate and priestly ordinations took place under the tree, simply because there was no and still there is no physical building in Turalei parish.
      Immaculate Conception parish to which Fr. Dut is assigned, is suffering from lack of trained catechists. The one parish has forty-five “Out Stations” or “Mission Churches.” Out of the forty-five catechists, one leader in each of the  Out Stations, only three had received formal catechetical training. The rest are trying to do what they could in their ministries. ‘This is not on their faults” Fr. Dut recalls. “They had never had any opportunity in the past.” It is for this reason that Fr. Dut had proposed to conduct the workshop for them, if and only if, we secure funds from the people of goodwill or “Good Samaritans.” If this workshop succeeded, it would indeed help and prepare the catechists to be more competent and active in their own ministries. This request made it back to  ROTA and last summer we enabled Fr. Dut to meet some of our ROTA leadership. With the approval of our Executive Board, we were able to assist. There was great excitement as the forty-five catechetical leaders came together with a few guests to begin a weeklong series of sessions that taught them the essentials of the faith. Blessings to Fr. Kuol Dut and all the members of Immaculate Conception Parish. We were glad to assist your parishes.




     In June of this past year Denning Batcha Achidi, originally from Cameroon, West Africa, who lived with us at St. Lawrence before his acceptance into Christ the King Seminary and to study as a priesthood candidate for the Diocese of Buffalo, received his public call from our Bishop as a candidate for Holy Orders. His   Deaconate Ordination will occur in late May of this year. Years before Moses Oluwaseun Ikuelogbon, originally from Lagos Nigeria came to Buffalo and  began his stay at SS. Columba Brigid Parish but then moved into the rectory at St. Lawrence where ROTA offered him hospitality until he too was accepted as a seminarian in studies for Buffalo.    This past September we joined with his parish families of Saint Martin de Porres and Saint   Lawrence to witness his Deaconate Ordination along with fourteen other candidates at the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna. The Priesthood Ordination is to take place on  June 1st at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. ROTA has had the pleasure of supporting Moses throughout his seminary time with us and looks forward to this milestone in his life and the life of our Church in Buffalo. ROTA is planning a trip with Moses for his first Mass in his home parish in Lagos Nigeria. Departure will be around August 21st and return by August 29th. The cost of the pilgrimage will average around $3,500 per individual.  We hope and pray that you will all be able to participate in some way either here in Buffalo or with us in Nigeria. Blessings to these two men of God. Thank you for answering God’s call.



By Fr. Ron Sajdak

W Who would have thought that a Kenyan assistant to Bishop Paride Taban would respond “Yes” when Bishop Taban asked him to consider being a priest for Torit. Because he was a bit older than most seminarians he was sent to Pope John XXIII Seminary in Weston, MA where he began his four years of Theological Training. While there he discovered ROTA and requested that we be able to assist him with some supply fees each semester. Our board willingly agreed and our relationship with Richard Odour began. Three years later he shared with us a video of his Deaconate Ordination that took place at Holy Family Parish in Nairobi, Kenya. Richard made a brief visit to Buffalo to meet some of his benefactors and to personally invite us to his priesthood ordination that was to take place the next year. The Papal Nuncio, a delegate of the Holy Father to Kenya and South Sudan presided over his Deaconate Ordination and was scheduled to preside over his ordination to the priesthood. This however was not to be as the Nuncio took ill and returned to Rome. However he delegated the now retired bishop of Torit, Paride Taban, the same one who invited Richard to first consider such a vocation to preside. Early May 2018 found me making my first journey to Kenya to support Richard at his priesthood ordination. The USA delegation included myself, a deacon classmate, and newly ordained priest, and a seminary professor from John XXIII in Weston, MA. A grace filled moment was to be had before the ordination when I had the opportunity to visit again with Bishop Taban. He had been our guest in Buffalo back in December of 2003 and I thought I’d never have the chance to see him again but as the Holy Spirit would have it the impossible is made possible and we would have the chance to catch up; I being constantly impressed by the wisdom of this Shepherd of the Church. As soon as we saw each other we ran to greet each other; it was like one of those slow motion “Kodak” moments.  In his retirement, Bishop Taban had been working tirelessly with primitive peoples who have little exposure to the outside world. Now he was with us in Nairobi being greeted constantly by many who traveled far and wide for even the briefest visit with this holy Man of God. On Saturday morning, May 12th the church was prepared and populated with a generous cross section of peoples from Richard’s family, Kenyan friends, members of Holy Family Parish where Richard served as a lay person, representatives of the Diocese of Torit, and our USA delegation. After the Gospel Richard’s parents brought him into the church so he could answer the Deacon’s call to orders. The ordination was extra special due to Bishop Taban’s presence, as well as all who attended.  The choir, tribal Liturgical Dancers, community marching band all made the ceremony of Holy Orders so very special. The Sacrament of Holy    Orders includes a welcome to the priesthood by all the priests in attendance. The Mass concluded with Richard bestowing his first priestly blessing upon his humble bishop and friend, his parents, and adopted parents.


By Fr. Ron Sajdak

When Fr. Joseph, the head of Communicationof the Diocese of Masaka, Uganda had a terrible car accident he put his car into the shop. It took over a year for him to save about half of the repair costs.
For a whole year he had to borrow vehicles and make other arrangements to be able to attend Diocesan functions and cover and report on them for the Diocesan Communications Office. He appealed to ROTA for assistance. It took us a great deal of time as well for we do not have a great deal of undesignated funds at our disposal. But Saints be Praised it’s now fixed and Fr. Joseph again can be traveling to all the Diocesan events more conveniently. Fr. Joseph is currently embarking upon a new initiative of starting a local Catholic Radio Station in order to proclaim the Good News to many more people even in remote parts of his Diocese.


By Fr. Ron Sajdak

L ast year I able to visit Rome for the first time. In addition to attending a conference within the city there were opportunities to meet, greet and unite with friends of ROTA who were in Rome at the same time.

The first encounter was with one of my spiritual sons whose name was Farah Fousey Zekery. Farah was a student in formation at the Coptic Rite Seminary in Maadi Egypt. Maryknoll Missionary Fr. Douglas May brough Farah and others to the USA for a Summer Formation Experience which for Farah included a three week stay with me at St. Bernadette in Orchard Park. His visit was a joy as I shared many experiences of the Roman Rite Church with him throughout his stay. When leaving he told me that he was going to keep in touch with me and invite me to his ordination.

In 2005 that invitation became a reality and I was traveling for my first international trip to Egypt to stay briefly at the Seminary in Maadi and then travel to Farah’s Diocese and village Church for his Ordination to the Coptic Rite Priesthood. What a blessing that was. Now twelve years later he is meeting me at the airport in Rome, where he was sent for further studies. What a blessing to see him and have his expert assistance to negotiate the transport from the airport to the train terminal in Rome so I could catch the train to Florence in order to meet my group already on vacation there. What reunion would ever be complete without a stop at an outdoor café in Rome for lunch. Shukraan, Thank you Abuna (Father) Yosef for your most kind hospitality. What a Blessing you are for us.

On my second visit to the Diocese of Masaka Uganda in 2008, I met a wonderful young pastor named Fr. Jude Charles Jjuuko who was pastor of Nkoni Parish. He invited me to preside at Mass and invited many Diocesan priests to attend. What a wonderful experience it was. I was aware that Fr. Jude had been sent for further studies to Rome as well and so I was anxious to get back in touch with him. We were able to meet up on two occasions capping off each meeting with some famous Gelato. Oh how sweet it is…….

While in Rome I received a message from a Sudanese Priest friend, Fr. Onesimo, also in Italy, that Bishop Paolino Lukudu Loro, Archbishop of Juba, South Sudan had just arrived in Rome at the Camboni Mission House. The Archbishop stayed at St. Martin de Porres in a brief visit to Buffalo years ago and I also stayed with him in Sudan for a few days in 2009 before the birth of the new nation. Now eight years later, independence achieved but ethnic tribal conflicts beginning a new civil war, he spoke slowly and carefully about the desperate situation that now faces the poor people of this new nation. We continually pray for Bishop Loro and his brother bishops working for peace in this new land


By Fr. Ron Sajdak

TThe 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.



CIMG0100.jpgCIMG0104.jpgOn 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 hpothb07.tifworld. 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.

DSC02793.JPGFr. 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.


DSC02492.JPGROTA 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 2 Aweil 1.jpgNew 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.


Download 2009 166.jpgROTA 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 CIMG0042.jpgWestside 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.


picnic020006.jpgWe 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 FrAbram (186).JPG. 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.


Souhag8.JPGGoal 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 deEvarist.1.JPGPorres 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. picnic020007.jpgMartin 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 Majak1.jpgwelcoming two additional Bishops to Buffalo and Taban2.jpgLoro1.jpgSt. 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 Sseruwu.jpgLubega 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 Linus.jpgPeace 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 DSC00019central 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.