TOP
Saturday,November 28,2020 20:00 PM
  • Home
  • Life Style
  • Fr. Archetti’s 42 years of outreach mission to Uganda

Fr. Archetti’s 42 years of outreach mission to Uganda

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th December 2009 03:00 AM

FATHER Joseph Archetti, the brain behind Our Lady of Africa Church Mbuya, and Reach Out Mbuya Parish HIV/AIDS Initiative, cuts a well shaven beard and traces of grey hair. Although the latter is not a surprise, for he is a 75-year-old.

FATHER Joseph Archetti, the brain behind Our Lady of Africa Church Mbuya, and Reach Out Mbuya Parish HIV/AIDS Initiative, cuts a well shaven beard and traces of grey hair. Although the latter is not a surprise, for he is a 75-year-old.

By Arthur Baguma

FATHER Joseph Archetti, the brain behind Our Lady of Africa Church Mbuya, and Reach Out Mbuya Parish HIV/AIDS Initiative, cuts a well shaven beard and traces of grey hair. Although the latter is not a surprise, for he is a 75-year-old.

The man, whose journey in Uganda started a month after independence in 1962, is leaving after 42 years of service. His new calling is to look after old priests in Italy.

“We don’t choose where we go. When I finished school in 1962, my superiors sent me to Uganda,” he says, looking through the window of his office.

Aged 28, Archette then headed to Uganda for an evangelism mission under the Comboni Missionaries. As a priest, his duty was to look after the faithful, where he settled.

“When you go to a place, you look around and assess the needs of the people in the area. And this is what Fr. Archetti did,” Lydia Cathy Tamale, the human resource and communications manager of Reach Out Mbuya Parish HIV/AIDS Initiative, observes.

Tamale says Fr. Archetti has left an indelible mark on the people of Mbuya, in the suburbs of Kampala.

“He started the Reach Out HIV/AIDS clinic, which has grown to serve over 3,300 clients in Mbuya and Kasaala in Luwero district. He often visited parishioners in their homes, encouraging them to care for one another.

He solicited funds for the clinic, while passionately communicating the message of caring for the sick,” Tamale says.

The biggest boost to the clinic came in 2003, when it started receiving PEPFAR funds. On getting the funds, the clinic started paying fees for HIV/AIDS orphans. Currently, over 1,300 children are benefiting from this project.

“I am leaving Uganda for good. I am leaving a happy man,” he says.
Fr. Archetti was diagnosed with cancer last year, but he went for an operation and was put on chemotherapy.
“I am now fine,” he says with no sign of worries.

As I settle to talk to him, a man knocks at his door, but he intercepts him at the entrance. “Mpaayo eddakiika asatu, nkuyite,” (excuse me for 30 minutes, I will call you), Fr. Archetti, an Italian national, tells the man at the door in Luganda. He interacts with the locals in Luganda and conducts mass in Luganda.

“Fr. Archetti was also instrumental in transforming St. Kizito secondary and primary schools in Bugolobi.
“He was our father and mother. He brought hope to many of us, who had given up on life.

He will be missed,” Rose Namisango, a beneficiary, says. Archetti’s office is as simple as the life he has lived in Uganda. A simple desk and a few wooden chairs for his visitors, is all you can see. Also a few wall hangings are prominent in the office, whose door leads directly to the church.

It is quite an impressive church, which has been preserved to maintain its old architectural style.

Archetti has served in several places, including northern Uganda. His perspective towards challenges is quite overwhelming and this gives hope even where there is no visible solution.

He dedicated his monthly allowance to construct clinics. He always walked to Namugongo on June 3 in memory of his first visit to Uganda. He arrived in Uganda on June 2 and the following day, he trekked to Namugongo.

Fr. Archetti was born in 1934 in
Barescia, north Italy, a strong Catholic stronghold. His conviction to take on the calling of priesthood started at a tender age.

A parish priest in his area inspired him. And when the priest passed on in 1944, Archetti went to the seminary in 1945.
In 1960, he was ordained priest, aged 26. Two years later in 1962, he arrived in Uganda, armed with a Bible and his devotion to spread the gospel.

He first settled in Luwero, where he served as parish priest for seven years.

In 1969, he was transferred to Katikamu parish in Luwero, still as a parish priest.

In 1977, he travelled to Belgium for further studies. Although there was political instability in Uganda at the time, he returned two years later and headed to Gulu Catechist Training Centre

The centre was closed in 1985, . He spent three years at the centre, before travelling to Italy for a one-year training course in preparation for another calling.

After a year in Italy, he returned to Uganda and served in Namugongo, before heading to Mbuya in 1997, where he has lived to date.

Fr. Archetti attributes his successful stay in Uganda and achievements to the communities, where he worked.

“All the achievements are fruits of the collaboration between the Comboni Missionaries and the Christian communities,” he says.

Fr. Archetti’s works in Uganda
Kasaala (Luwero District) 1962 to 1969
Coordinated about 30 bush schools left by the White Fathers missionaries (Running the school and buying scholastic materials)

Organised the celebration of the canonisation of the Uganda Marty’s in October 1964 and prepared marriage of 84 couples for that occasion

Katikamu (Wobulenzi ) 1969 to 1977
Celebration of the Catholic church jubilee of the year 1975. He mobilised 21 Christians (both Catholics and Anglicans) to visit Rome.

Gulu Catechist training Centre (1979 to 1987)
Trained catechists from Gulu, Hoima, Arua, Lira and Karamoja

Namugongo (1989-1997) Was the in-charge and served as a formator for the novices
Our Lady of Africa Catholic Church Mbuya (September 1997 to-date)

Served as parish Priest
Took up the development of St. Kizito Secondary School, which was began by Fr. Mario Imperial. The work at this secondary school is still ongoing

Together with the Christian Community and Dr. Margrethe Junker, they set up Reach Out Mbuya Parish HIV/AIDS Initiative in May 2001.

Began with only 14 clients but now serves over 3,300 clients and cares for over 1,111 orphans and vulnerable children from Mbuya Parish.

Built churches in Kinawataka, Banda and has just completed building another church, St. Zuria Catholic Church, in GizaGiza Community, which was officially opened on May 31, 2009.

Built clinics at Mbuya, Kinawataka and Banda
He has brought the HIV/AIDS services closer to the people in Mbuya Parish and beginning this year, the Reach Out programme expanded to support the St. Andrews Clinic Kasaala

Fr. Archetti’s 42 years of outreach mission to Uganda

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author