Thursday, November 24, 2022
The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has urged citizens of the East African nation to follow the example of Blessed Giuseppe Ambrosoli, a celebrated Priest and medical doctor in the country, and work hard to eradicate poverty in their homes. In his speech on the beautification of the Italian-born Catholic Missionary who ministered in Uganda’s Archdiocese of Gulu, the Ugandan President reminded the people of God in the country that they do not need to be missionaries as well in order to make other people’s lives better. [Photo: Comboni Press. Testo: ACI Africa]
“Dr. Ambrosoli sacrificed so much in the area he was qualified in – the area of medicine. That is why we are here celebrating him. I am not calling upon you to go and be missionaries in Italy. No. I am simply telling you to chase poverty from your homes,” President Museveni said. He added, “If Dr. Ambrosoli could go so far from home and work so hard, we can do the same by working here at our home and making our lives better.”
Born in 1923 in the Province of Como, Italy, Blessed Ambrosoli arrived in Uganda in February 1956. The Comboni Missionary is remembered in Uganda, especially in Kalongo where he ran a state-of the art-hospital, as a surgeon, philanthropist, and educator. The Kalongo Hospital he founded reportedly gained a reputation for excellence, growing only from a dispensary to a full-fledged hospital, which started delivering babies and attending to medical and pediatric patients.
In his homily during the November 20 beatification celebration, the Apostolic Nuncio in Uganda, Archbishop Luigi Bianco, called on the people of God to follow the example of Blessed Ambrosoli who he said had been selfless in his service as a Priest and medical doctor. "The new Blessed offers the best example of a person who did not look to his own interest; but his life was completely in tireless giving for the healing of wounds of bodies and souls of the needy, both as a Priest and a medical doctor. The Apostolic letter of Pope Francis presents him as a good Samaritan," Archbishop Luigi said. He added, "We are invited to consider the heroic virtues of the new Blessed Giuseppe Ambrosoli faith, hope, charity, humility, goodness, patience, generosity, spirit of service, sense of duty and availability."
In his message during the beatification celebration, President Museveni expressed gratitude to the Catholic Church for organizing the event in Uganda, saying, “We want to thank His Holiness Pope Francis and the Church for recognising the special work of Dr. Ambrosoli”. The Ugandan President acknowledged the contribution of Christianity in Africa, saying that the greatest gift of the religion on the continent is the message of love in the Bible.
“The Christian religion has been here for over 100 years. The Christian religion of course had bad people who were hypocrites, like those who took slaves. In the majority, however, it had a good message. The good message was summarized in the commandment of love. The message of Christianity is excellent: Love God and overcome selfishness,” President Museveni said. He added that through Christianity, Africa had also received Missionaries such as Blessed Ambrosoli who had done a lot of development on the continent.
He said in reference to the member of the Comboni Family, “He spent a lot of time here healing people and also preaching the word of God. He was in a remote place, having left the comfort of his home in Italy”. Blessed Ambrosoli, the Ugandan President said, was a qualified person who could have worked in his native home Italy but he chose to work among the poor people in Northern Uganda instead.
“We thank the Church and the Pope for beatifying Dr. Ambrosoli. I know this is an important step towards his sainthood,” President Museveni said. “Many of us here are Christians and in the Bible, it says let your light shine before men so that they see your good deeds and praise God in heaven. The Bible also says that we shall know them by their fruits; not what they say but what they do,” he said. President Museveni who has been at the helm of the East African nation since 1986 added, “We as Christians and Muslims must overcome poverty. I appeal to all of you to get up and work your way out of poverty.”
He said that the Ugandan government had launched a campaign to encourage people to not only “work for the stomach” but to save and make investments as well. President Museveni also encouraged Ugandans to embrace commercial farming to boost production in the country and in the East African region.
[Agnes Aineah – ACI Africa]