BY ROBERT ATIKU

MARACHA : Catholic Christians in Maracha district are seeking to raise atleast shs1billion for construction of a two star hotel.

The Christians under their umbrella Association Maracha Catholic Initiative for Development (MACAID)   have proposed to raise the funds through various fund mobilization strategies.

During the launching function of the association late last year in Maracha district Boma ground, atleast shs 22m was raised in cash and pledges.

Rt. Rev Sabino Ocan Odoki Bishop of Arua Diocese (2nd left) greets officials of MACAID during the launching function of the association at Maracha Boma ground on December 29th 2019. PHOTO BY ROBERT ATIKU.

The association management has already payed shs11m  as part of the installment of the shs 41m for acquisition of land in Maracha Town Council where the hotel will sit.

The Chairperson of the Executive committee of MACAID   Mr John Mawa said the association is meant to provide cross cutting support to the Christian communities within Maracha district in areas including church activities, support to the clergy, education, health and poverty alleviation through empowerment of the  Christians in how to  carry out income generating activities.

“We intend to raise atleast shs1b for construction of a 2 star hotel in Maracha Town Council. It’s reasoned that when this project is completed, it will then help to generate income for supporting   other church projects within the catchment parishes in Maracha district.” Mr. Mawa said.

The management of MACAID hopes to raise shs5000 from each mature Christian in Maracha, shs3000 per youth and shs1000 from each child to support the hotel construction project. Other funds are targeted from fundraising, people of good will, charitable Organisations and donor support.

The scope of the  association includes six Catholic Parishes and Two sub parishes in the geographical area of Maracha. These include,  St Joseph’s Parish Maracha, All Saints Parish Oluvu, Our Lady of Assumption Parish Oleba, Holy Trinity Parish Kijomoro, St. Luke’s Parish Offude, Christ the Universal King Town Parish Nyadri, St Andrew sub Parish Tara and Our Lady of Consolata Sub Parish Kamaka.

This Association is the brain child of Dr. Lazarus Anguvaa, a resident of Maracha district working in United Kingdom.

L_R: Dr. Lazarus Anguvaa (founder MACAID) , Mrs Catherine Anguvaa and Maj. Alfred Candia an official of state house during the launching function of MACAID in Maracha Boma ground on December 29th 2019. PHOTO BY ROBERT ATIKU.

“We the Catholic Church is used to been looked after by the Missionaries who brought a lot of resources to build our churches. This made us to think that everything was free and we sat back. We have a culture where we believe that only the people from Europe or America can help us and we need to wake up from that belief. That is the reason why  MACAID is here.” Dr. Lazarus explained.

Among the objectives of MACAID include promoting financial sustainability and supporting infrastructure development of the Catholic Church in Maracha.

The association also hopes to undertake sustainable long_term investments for the Catholic Church to be shared among all the Catholic Parishes in Maracha and to be used for Development projects for the benefit of the wider community in Maracha and beyond.

Each member Parish shall own shares in the assets and investments of MACAID based on the actual amount of funds they contribute to invest in MACAID projects and other businesses.

The Bishop of Arua Diocese Rt. Rev Sabino Ocan Odoki has endorsed the idea of forming MACAID and he encourages the Christians to support it.

Bishop Sabino Ocan Odoki of Arua Diocese waves to Christians as officials of MACAID greet guests. PHOTO BY ROBERT ATIKU.

“I thank Dr. Lazarus for introducing this idea of MACAID here. It’s a good idea that brings the Christians together so that they can continue with the good work that the Missionaries started. Nobody can do great work single handedly. That is why he (Dr. Lazarus)  has brought the idea to us so that we can work together. So, I call upon all of you, that we must from today on, unite to see that this development programme for Maracha grows.” Bishop Odoki said.

Comments from Christians

Many Christians in Maracha have positively welcomed the  idea of MACAID and some of them have started making their contributions to support the association.

Mr. Adrian Drakana, a Christian from Oleba Parish said, “I want to thank the initiator of this Association. This is actually a very important Initiative to help the church help itself. The church is very rich with her people and if we are all very serious, we can make a recommendable change.”

Mr. Lawrence Adiga, the District Chairman Maracha said the Christians in Maracha have huge potential to initiate development projects only if they can set differences aside.

“I have not been lobbying for hosting of big workshops here in Maracha because we don’t have good hotels. I believe when we get resources and put up this hotel, we shall proudly ask to  host workshops because the required facilities will be in place.” Mr. Lawrence said.

Background

The Catholic faith was brought to Maracha by the comboni Missionaries in 1920 with the first Chapel built in Bura. The first mission (St Joseph’s Parish Maracha)  was opened at Lurua on 15th November 1949. Fr. Antonio Antonioli and Bro. Palmiro Pagani were the first Missionaries to work in Maracha mission. The Missionaries worked with the local Christians, some of whom they trained as Catechists to lead the Local chapels. The foreign Missionaries also established schools, health units and vocational training institutions for the community.

Later, All Saints Parish Oluvu was established in January 1965.

Since then, the Catholic Church in Maracha has grown with more parishes and sub parishes being established within the district.

However, in early 1990s, the foreign Missionaries handed over the Catholic Parishes in Maracha to the indigenous priests of Arua Diocese.

Challenge

When the foreign Missionaries departed from Maracha, the financial and material support the churches used to receive through them virtually ceased. Consequently, the Catholic Church in Maracha has become reliant on the local Christians for almost all the financial and material support  required for the day to day running of the church, development and the welfare of  the churches’ ministers.

Despite making a lot of sacrifice to support the church, the Christians in Maracha have not been able to provide sufficient financial and material resources to meet all the needs of the church because most of the Christians in Maracha are very poor  with no formal employment or other secure sources of income. End.