R E G I N A  C A E L I  C A T H E D R A L  C O N S T R U C T I O N !

PROFILE OF SOROTI CATHOLIC DIOCESE APRIL 2020


1. Geographically:

Soroti Catholic Diocese is located in North-Eastern Uganda. It geographically covers the ten civil districts of Teso, namely, Kaberamaido, Kalaki, Amuria, Kapelebyong, Katakwi, Soroti, Serere, Ngora, Kumi and Bukedea. The Diocese is bordered by Lira Diocese (Lango sub-region) in the North & North-West, by Kotido and Moroto Dioceses (Karamoja sub-region) in the East & North-East, by Tororo Archdiocese in the South-East, and by Lake Kyoga in the South-West. Of the 2,917,391 people in Teso, the estimated Catholic population is1,629,521people.

2. Vegetation, Climate and Soils:

The vegetation of the Diocese can be described as Savannah grassland. The Climate of the Diocese is characterised by two seasons; wet and dry. The rainy season runs from March-June and from September to October. However, in recent years, the weather pattern has become unpredictable with peaks of adverse in certain periods. Generally, the North-eastern section of the Diocese receives less rain than the rest of the Diocese. The soil type ranges from loam to sandy with varying degrees of fertility from one place to another.

3. Socio-Economic Background:

A majority of the people in the Diocese earn their livelihoods through small scale crop production and livestock rearing as traditional undertakings. The major crops grown include cassava, groundnuts, millet, sorghum and sweet potatoes while the livestock includes cattle, goats, sheep and poultry.Other economic activities include fishing and petty trade.

Over the years, the economic base has continuously been distorted by cattle rustling by armed Karimojong warriors, which lasted for over threedecades.This was punctuated by two bouts of rebel activities; first by the Uganda People’s Army (1986-1992) and, later, by the Lord’s Resistance Army (2003). These resulted into loss of most productive assets and capital for communities throughout the region. The difficult economic situation in the region has further been aggravated by harsh and unpredictable weather patterns. As a result of unpredictable economic security, the communities are slowly adopting other non-traditional economic activities, especially petty trade and small-scale production.

4. Political Background:

It is important to note that the period 1986-1992 was characterised by civil strife and cattle rustling by the Karimojong that resulted into immense destruction of productive assets, loss of human lives and displacement of the population. The impact of these atrocities was manifested in the collapse of the socio-economic stamina of the population.

With the return of relative peace from around 1993, the Government, NGOs and the Faith-Based Organizations worked hard to help the communities resettle and embark on socio-economic activities. There was remarkable improvement in household living conditions as a result of the various recovery programmes that contributed to the improvement of community access to social services. This positive trend, however,was halted by the invasion of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in to the Diocese on the June 15, 2003.

The LRA rebel incursion that continued till 2004 had devastating effects on the population, especially in Orungo, Amuria, Acumet, Wera, Katine, Madera, Lwala and Kaberamaido parishes. Hundreds of lives were lost, a number of people (mainly children) were abducted. There was massive displacement of the population into urban centres and neighbouring districts, and loss of property. Five (5) Catholic parishes and a number of Government and Non-government institutions were forced to close.

5. The Faith/ Spirituality:

It is evident that the Catholic Church in Teso is steadily growing and the faith is deepening, as shown by the number of people receiving various sacraments, the growth in number of new parishes (that has risen from 26 to 41), the number of active lay associations and the willingness of the laity in supporting the Church (despite their levels of poverty). The Catholic population (1,629,521) is about 56% of the total population(2,917,391) living within the Diocese. Driving the pastoral ministry of the Diocese are 71 priests, 56 women religious and 1,791 catechists.

6. Commissions and their Mandates:

Soroti Catholic Diocese today comprises 41 parishes (grouped into 11 deaneries). The Diocese has 1,046 outstations (sub-parishes), 160 nursery schools, 317 Primary schools, 32 Senior Secondary schools, two Primary Teacher Training colleges, five Vocational and Technical Training Institutions, one hospital, 13 health centres, two Catechetical Formation centres and one Minor Seminary.The Diocese has Seven (7) commissions, with respective desks and departments, namely:

Commission Desks/ Departments Programs/ Activities
1. Pastoral Commission
 
i. Catechist Formation Centres
* Grade III catechist training programs at Kidetok CFC;
 
* Grade II catechist training programs at Bukedea CPTC;
 
* Grade I catechist training programs at Bukedea CPTC and at parish levels;
* Nine-month catechesis program for candidates for Christian Initiation of Adults.
ii. Liturgy & Church Music Office
* Coordinate the efforts of laity in preparation, composition and organization of Church liturgy and music.
* Ensure doctrinal soundness of composed or adopted liturgical music in the Diocese.
iii. The Vocations Office
* Formation of minor seminarians at St. Peter’s Madera Minor Seminary;
* On-going formation of major seminarians.
iv. Parish Pastoral Councils
* Formation and training of parish pastoral councils and committees;
* Formation and training of diocesan laity council;
 
* Promoting active participation of the laity in the pastoral and development programs of the Church.
v. Basic Christian Communities
 
* Formation, induction and on-going capacity enhancement of BCCS in all outstations throughout the Diocese.
 
* Promotion of active daily participation of laity in the evangelization and pastoral support of their respective communities.
vi. Families Desk
 
* Strengthening the family institution as the most basic unit of the Church;
* On-going capacity building for peaceful, holy and economically progressive families.
vii. Doctrinal Office
 
* Disseminating relevant and periodic teachings of the Church to the entire diocesan community;
 
* Refuting and correcting doctrinal errors in the Church.
 
viii. Ecumenism and Interfaith Desk
 
* Promoting ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue for peaceful community co-existence;
* Promoting ecumenical and inter-faith joint action for a more comprehensive outreach to the communities in the sub-region.
2. Lay Apostolate Commission
i. Youth
* Animating Young Christian Students and other catholic clubs and associations in schools;
* Planning and conducting annual diocesan, deanery and parish youth conferences.
 
ii. Women
* Spiritual, social and economic empowerment of women;
* Planning and conducting annual diocesan, deanery and parish women prayer conferences;
 
* Training and facilitating women to establish livelihood projects in parishes, outstations and families.
 
* Promoting women activism in the pastoral life of the Church.
iii. Men
* Spiritual, social and economic empowerment of men;
 
* Planning and conducting annual diocesan and deanery men prayer conferences;
 
* Training and facilitating men to establish livelihood projects in outstations and families.
* Promoting women activism in the pastoral life of the Church.
iv. Pontifical Missionary Soceities (PMS): Holy Missionary Children
 
* Training children to support children pastorally, socially and economically;
 
* Establishing Holy Missionary Childhood communities in the different primary schools throughout the diocese;
 
* Organizing and animating children’s prayer conferences at deanery, parish and zonal levels.
v. Catholic Charismatic Renewal
 
* Evangelism and pastoral outreaches/visitations;
* Life in the Spirit seminars;
 
* Weekly prayer-group prayers at outstation levels;
 
* Monthly prayer-group seminars at parish levels;
* Diocesan, deanery and parish CCR prayer conferences;
 
* Conducting intercessory prayers, outreaches and deliverance ministries within parishes and outstations;
 
* On-going pastoral-spiritual formation- Emmaus Centre;
* Periodic capacity building for leaders and members.
vi. Legion of Mary
 
* Promoting devotion to Mother Mary;
 
* Teaching catechumens, pastoral outreaches to schools and visitations to the sick;
 
* Forming more praesidia and curiae;
* Maintaining networking with the Senatus;
* Weekly praesidia meetings;
 
* Monthly curia meetings;
* Promoting the Legion of Mary movement throughout the Diocese.
3. Education Commission
 
i. Nursery Schools
* Promotion of quality, inclusive, equitable and affordable basic education;
* Promotion of higher education;
* Promoting positive gender practices;
 
ii. Primary Schools
* School infrastructure development;
 
iii. Secondary schools
* School feeding program;
 
iv. Technical & Vocational Institutes
* Vocations & technical education for both formal and non-formal learners (skills);
v. Primary Teachers Colleges
* Ensuring increased capacity and sustainable size of human resource for the teaching ministry in the region.
vi. Special Needs Institutions
 
* Providing access to primary and secondary education for blind children and youth through St. Francis Madera School for the Blind.
* Empowering disabled youth with applicable livelihood skills at Pamba Rehabilitation Home.
 
vii. Other Tertiary Institutions
* Offer coordination services to enable the local community access university and college level educational services provided at national level.
4. Health Commission
 
i. Diocesan Health Office
* Coordinating health services throughout the Diocese;
* Quality control and assurance in all diocesan health facilities;
* Coordination, lobby and advocacy with national line commissions and government systems.
 
ii. Hospitals
 
* Provision of quality and affordable health services to respective communities.
 
iii. Health centres
 
* Planning and guiding diocesan office on developmental and expansionist strategies health infrastructure and service delivery.
5. Caritas and Justice & Peace
i. Administration
   
ii. Community Livelihood Desk
Community mobilization on issues of household agriculture, 
* Food security, 
* Enterprise and income generation, 
* Savings and lending, 
iii. Environment Disaster Risk Reduction Desk
* Environmental protection and conservation,
* Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation
* Institutional strengthening for humanitarian response, 
* Lobby and advocacy,
iv. Human Resource Desk
i. Justice & Peace Office
* Identify, plan around and implement strategies for prevention, management, resolution and transformation of major conflicts in the sub-region.
* Establish partnerships with national line commission and with proximate peace CSOs for more comprehensive intervention strategies.
* Build capacity of staff and parish peace promoters for community peace-building sensitization and conflict mediation.
ii. Parish Peace Promoters
* Community peace education;
* Community conflict mediation.
 
6. Social Communications
i. DELTA Radio
* Catechetical, pastoral and spiritual programs;
* Social development programs, majorly in Kumam;
* Live community radio debates;
* Live radio coverage of major diocesan and parish events.
 
ii. Kyoga Veritas Radio;
* Human Rights, good governance and peace programs;
* Economic/ livelihood programs, majorly in English and Ateso.
iii. Print & Audio-Visual (PAV) department
* Printing all diocesan pastoral and accounting documents and liturgical books;
* Video coverage of major diocesan and parish events.
iv. Communications Office
* Disseminating periodic messages from the Pope and from the Uganda Episcopal Conference to all the parishes.
* Organizing diocesan annual celebrations of World Communications Day
* Identifying and mitigating communications gaps in the Diocese.
* Networking with the National Office and other diocesan social communications offices and other media houses.
7. Finance & Administration
 
i. Finance
* Ensure adherence to policies and best practices for collection, management and accountability of resources solicited for locally and externally;
 
ii. Projects
* Lay and implement strategies for financial sustainability through initiating appropriate and viable projects.
 
* Ensure proper coordination of all diocesan and parish projects that are externally funded, for viability and accountability.
 
iii. Land & Assets
 
* Enhance security of all diocesan land (including those at parishes, schools, health units, and other institutions) through land survey and titling.
* Coordinate and support diocesan institutions that seek legal justice over their lands in courts of law.
8. Diocesan Vicariates
i. Vicariate for the Clergy
* Promoting fraternity among the clergy;
* Ongoing support for priests’ ministry;
 
* Supporting SODIPA soirituality & welfare initiatives;
 
* Ongoing capacity building & vocational decernment for and by the clergy.
ii. Vicariate for the Religious
 
* Promoting communion and collaborative ministry among the religious;
 
* On-going spiritual renewal and support for the Religious.


These Commissions have a number of on-going programs and projects, and have established collaborative linkages with line Commissions at the national level. The Commissions have also established line-structures at Parish level and some even at outstation and BCC levels.

7. STATISTICS:


Area:  
Population:  
Catholics:  
Parishes:  
Diocesan Priests:  
Diocesan Major Seminarians:  
White Fathers:  
Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi:  
Missionary Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church:  
Catechists:  
Outstations:  
12,921 Sq Km.
1,819,700 (2014 census)
39.2%
41
87
54
02
54
03
1940
1070


8. Main Functions in the Diocese:

1. Ordinary of the diocese:  
2. Vicar General:   
3. Vicar for Clergy:  
4. Vicar for Religious:  
5. Chancellor:  
6. Vice Chancellor/ Bishop’s Private Secretary:  
7. Financial Administrator:  
8. Pastoral Coordinator:  
    Assistant Pastoral Coordinator:  
9. Lay Apostolate Coordinator:  
    Asst Lay Apostolate Coordinator:   
10. Education Secretary:  
      Assistant Education Secretary:  
11. Coordinator of Medical Services:  
12. Director Caritas, Justice and Peace:  
      Asst Director Caritas, Justice and Peace:  
13. Director Social Communications:  
14. Vocations Director:  
      Assistant Vocations Director:  
15. Catechists Coordinator:   
16. Youth Chaplain:   
      Assistant Youth Chaplain i:   
      Assistant Youth Chaplain ii:   
17. Chaplain Catholic Charismatic Renewal:  
18. Chaplain Legion of Mary:  
19. Executive Secretary of Doctrinal Dept:  
20. Director of Basic Christian Communities:  
      Asst. Director Basic Christian Communities:  
21. Coordinator of Ecumenism Desk:  
      Assistant Director Ecumenism Desk:  
22. Director of Liturgy:  
      Assistant Director Liturgy:   
23. Director of Sacred Music:  
      Assistant Director of sacred music:  
24. Coordinator of Family Life Ministry:  
      Asst. Coordinator Family Life Ministry:  
25. Coordinator Bible Apostolate:  
      Assistant Coordinator Bible Apostolate:  
Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Eciru Oliach
Msgr. Robert Ecogu
Msgr. Silver Opio
Msgr. John Eriau
Padre G. Ongereny Waziwazi
Fr. Samuel Okiria
Fr. Bernard Martin Aeko
Fr. Samuel Ebietu Echelu
Fr. Charles Osire
Fr. Deogratias Oryangatum
Fr. Edmund Okella
Fr. Francis Kayaye
Mr. Kisembo Stephen
Fr. Jerome Agelu
Msgr. Silver Opio
Fr. Michael Omaria
Fr. Stephen Adou
Fr. Fredrick Obore
Fr. Samuel Okiria
Fr. John Paul Aisu
Padre G. Ongereny Waziwazi
Fr. Deogratias Opure
Fr. Josaphat DIyuo
Fr. Edmund Okella
Fr. Deogratias Oryangatum
Fr. Charles Osire
Fr. Patrick Achedu
Fr. Joseph Onyait
Fr. Deogratias Oteko
Fr. Fabian Ajuret
Fr. Cosmas Enyasu
Fr. Martin Wambeo
Fr. Matthias Ocamuna
Fr. Lawrence Akepa
Fr. Romanus Etwap
Fr. Michael Otim
Fr. Paul Ebwolu
Fr. Stephen Jerome Abachu


COLLEGE OF CONSULTORS

Msgr. Robert Ecogu
Msgr. John Eriau
Msgr. Silver Opio
Fr. Gonzaga Ongereny Waziwazi
Fr. Martin Aeko
Fr. Denis Richard Asima
Fr. Fredrick Obore
Fr. Remi Nyengere M.Afr
Fr. Francis Kayaye.

9. Vision and Mission

Vision:

Salvation of the whole person; body, soul and mind.“ I have come so that they may life and have it to the full” (John. 10:10b).

Mission:

Evangelization of all persons.“ Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you; yes, to the end of time” (Mat. 28:19-20).

10. Conclusion:

Over the last 100 years, the Church in Teso has grown into a significant agent of not just evangelization, but also education, socio-economic development, health service provision and a champion of social justice and peace. The Church reaches out with pastoral and socio-economic programs to the whole region with a competent team of 68 priests, 45 Religious Sisters, up to 1,800 catechists, and hundreds of professional educators, social workers, media workers and health workers employed in the various institutions established and run by the Diocese.

The Christian communities in the different parishes of the Diocese generously support the ministry of the Church through their active physical participation in the various lay apostolic ministries, as well as through their regular material and financial contributions. However, the daunting levels of poverty in the same communities undermine the weight of their material and financial support. It is for this reason that the Church in Soroti Catholic Diocese still remains in need of external financial support, to enable her build institutional capacity for efficient engagement of her pastoral team for an effective and sustainable pastoral ministry to communities throughout the Diocese.