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Church asked to train more clerical social workers

By Mathias Mazinga

Added 2nd September 2019 04:18 PM

Kyazze said certain pastoral ministries, such as the rehabilitation of alcoholics and drug-addicts required professional expertise, which many of the clerics lack.

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The Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Prof Joseph Antony Zziwa (wearing skull-cap) cuts a cake to commemorate the 18th anniversary of Serenity Centre. Helping him are some of the members of the organisation's staff and Board. (Photos by Mathias Mazinga)

Kyazze said certain pastoral ministries, such as the rehabilitation of alcoholics and drug-addicts required professional expertise, which many of the clerics lack.

RELIGION

A priest of the Catholic missionary society of the Holy Cross, Fr Richard Kyazze has requested the leadership of the Church to train more priests and religious men and women in social work-related professions.

Kyazze said certain pastoral ministries, such as the rehabilitation of alcoholics and drug-addicts required professional expertise, which many of the clerics lack.

“The training we get at the seminaries and houses of religious formation doesn’t have the component of social work and social administration. Priests and religious men and women thus have to learn on job, when they are given social work-related appointments.

 Bishop Zziwa waters a memorial tree that he planted in commemoration of the 18th anniversary of Serenity Centre

“We request our dear Bishops to consider sponsoring priests and religious men and women to train in social work-related professions such as counseling, to enhance their competence and effectiveness when they are appointed to do such work.

Kyazze made his remarks during the celebration of the 18th anniversary of Serenity Centre at the institute’s headquarters at Bwebajja (Entebbe Road), in Wakiso district. Serenity Center, of which Kyazze is a Board Member, is the pioneer institute for the treatment and rehabilitation of alcoholics and drug-addicts.

It was started jointly by Catholic Missionary Societies that included Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers), Holy Cross Fathers, Mill Hill Fathers, and Jesuit Fathers, in 2001. Fr Kyazze is a board member of the institute.

The Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa (who was the chief guest at the function) said that the Bishops were aware of the concerns raised by Fr Kyazze and already had plans in place to address them.

He nonetheless proposed that those priests and religious men and women who have qualifications in the respective areas pass on their skills to the others.

“If you go for specialized studies and get a degree, don’t lock it up in your bedroom. Pass on the skills to other priests, who will then use the same skills to transform society, even without going to the university.”

In his later remarks, Zziwa commended Serenity Centre for championing the treatment of alcoholics and drug addicts. He referred to their work as a great “humanitarian service.”

The institute’s Executive Director, Emmanuel Mubangizi thanked government and partner organisations such as the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, National Drug Authority, Wakiso District, UMA, OXFAM, TRADA (India), University of Virginia, University of Kisubi, Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda Christian University, Kisubi Hospital, etc, for supporting the work of the organisation.

The function, which also coincided with the Feast of St Monica (the patroness of the center), was also graced by the Superior of the Holy Cross Fathers in East Africa, Fr Cyprian Binaka. The Chairman of Wakiso district, Matia Lwanga Bwanika also graced the function.

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