The story of our Ancestors in the faith is the story of “a journey with Mother Mary”. Their writings: official reports, letters and diaries all show that what they did was for the Glory of God and salvation (spiritual and material wellbeing) of the people of this country. Moreover, it was all done through Mary, with Mary and in Mary.
As soon as the whole team met for the first time in Uganda at Nabulagala on the 25th June 1879, they started a Novena to our Lady and at the end of it, on the 2nd July 1879, Feast of the Visitation of the B. V. M, they consecrated their lives, work and this country to Mary. The same spiritual exercise was repeated several times especially during the months of Mary, that is, May and October, and during critical moments of their mission.
Besides the above general consecration, all the mission posts founded by the pioneer missionaries were dedicated to Mary: “St. Mary of Lubaga” (1879, i.e., Nabulagala-Nalukolongo-Nabunnya and Lubaga; Our Lady of Kamoga (Tanganyika, 1883); St Mary’s of Jiwe la Singa (Bukune – Tanganyika 1884), Our Lady of Exiles (Nyegezi, Tanganyika, 1889), Our Lady of Good Help (Ssese, 1890). Their successors did the same so much so that more than three quarters of the parishes founded by the White Fathers in Uganda have Mary as their Patron Saint!
The Marian Devotion was the first religious devotion the missionaries passed on to their ‘spiritual children’ in Uganda. And there is no doubt that, no other devotion, especially through the prayer of the Rosary, was welcomed with as much enthusiasm and love by the Catholics as this one.
One of the reasons why the Baganda warmly welcomed the Marian devotion are the similarities the B. V. Mary had with the Namasole (Mother of King). The missionaries took advantage of these common points in their religious instructions on Mary, for example the names and titles: Namasole, Nabakyala, Kabaka, etc.
Presenting Christ as King was the culminating point of all this. Consequently, as in the Buganda Kingdom there were two palaces, one for the King and one for the Namasole, so the construction of the mission posts followed the same structure: the main parish church for Christ the King and a smaller chapel for Mary the Namasole of Buganda!
We Catholics strongly believe that it was not in vain that our Ancestors in the Faith entrusted everything to Mary, and because of this we too take Mary as our mother, guide and teacher, trusting in her as they did that in spite of our weaknesses, great things can happen through us for the glory of God and the salvation (spiritual and material wellbeing) of our brothers and sisters.
“Oh Mary, remember that you are our true Superior; I am only your miserable slave….
Do not allow that your work be compromised because of me ….
And If I am an obstacle, let me disappear from this world!
Why should you leave me alive if I am only to lose souls
thus preparing for me a terrible judgment?”
(Fr. Leon Livinhac, Nabulagala 16th July 1880)