Br. Alan Harrod, csc, has been serving as a Holy Cross Missionary in Uganda for the last 26 years. In the course of his ministry he has been in Fort Portal diocese, Jinja diocese and Kampala archdiocese. This month he is retiring to the USA. Br. Alan shared with us his times in Uganda, what has captivated him about the country and the future prospects of Holy Cross.
For how long have you been in Uganda?
I first visited Uganda in September of 1989. I returned in 1990 for ministry here. So, it has been 26 years. Some health concerns make it necessary for me to return to my home country, the USA at this time.
What has inspired and captivated you?
Recently I read an article about countries that receive visitors warmly. In that survey, Uganda was the country that ranked highest in all of the world. The people who responded spoke of the friendliness and warmth of Ugandan people. They did not distinguish between tribes; they spoke of the warmth of the Ugandan people. There were no negative comments at all. Having lived here for more than 25 years, I feel that what they said is very true. After many years of instability after independence, the people value stability. This country has been called the “Pearl of Africa” and the beauty one sees in nature attests to that. The climate is very agreeable in most of the country. Abundant rain keeps the vegetation green for most of the year.
How do you rate the growth of Holy Cross In various ministries?
The main ministries of Holy Cross are parish ministry and education. In Uganda we staff two parishes, one in Fort Portal Diocese and the other in Jinja Diocese. There is a parish in Dandora, Nairobi, Kenya. The parish is made up of two worship centres, a primary school and a comprehensive clinic. In Tanzania, there are two parishes, one in Karatu and another in Arusha. There is likelihood of Holy Cross accepting other commitments in Tanzania in future.
One of the defining objectives of missionary societies is indigenization. To what extent has Holy Cross pursued this objective?
Most of the members of Holy Cross in East Africa are in fact Africans. There are some 65 young men in training from postulancy to novitiate to post novitiate formation. There are some 25-30 brothers and priests in active ministry. Most of these are Africans from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.. and some 8 American Holy Cross members.
I would encourage young men who are interested in serving the Lord as Holy Cross priests or brothers to contact Fr. Muhindo Luke, CSC, the Vocations Director. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and his office phone is 011-256-41-426-8325.