Memories & contributions of Fr. John, the Priest
As we commemorate the second Anniversary of the passing on of our beloved Rev. Fr. John Scalabrini, and as we reflect on the purpose of our pilgrimage to Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine Namugongo, let us all in one accord and in a sombre mood, remember him for being our father, priest, friend and benefactor, for the generous, selfless and tangible contributions he made towards our individual lives, families, the Catholic Church of Christ and the nation of Uganda at large. We particularly remember and thank the Lord for Fr. John’s amazing creativity, his love of seeing young people get an Education and the fact that he was development oriented; all not for himself, but for our own good. His love for priestly vocation, offering guidance and encouragement on spiritual matters were demonstrated through prayer and observation of the Divine Doctrine of the Catholic Church. As a man, Fr. John was honest and a tough disciplinarian; but all for his love for human dignity. Fr. John’s special love for the poor and disadvantaged always compelled him to do practical works of charity that would put a smile on the faces of such as these in our communities; a clear indication that, we humans are able to experience Christ, through practical demonstration of love and generosity for the poor and suffering. Fr. John once told a conference in Italy
“…to lead is to have true encounter with the poor; and sharing that becomes a way of life… this way of life gives rise to joy and peace for the soul.” My children, brothers and sisters, we are called then, with solicitude to draw near to the poor, embrace them and let them feel the warmth of love that minimizes their pain and suffering.
Christ’s Gospel, the cornerstone for success
As a Catholic priest, Fr. John greatly influenced the Education system of our time, by amalgamating the day to day scholarly curricular with the Catholic Church doctrine. This he archived, first by establishing schools that are founded on the true Christian principles, as demonstrated in all the Bishop Cipriano Kihangire Primary and Secondary Schools (BCK Schools), where he routinely preached the true gospel of Christ Jesus, to be the students’ and teachers’ source of knowledge and wisdom.
Significance of the Pilgrimage
It was decided that this year’s anniversary, should be observed by way of a pilgrimage to Uganda’s Martyrs’ Shrine Namugongo, in honour of Fr. John’s love and respect for the Catholic Church; his devotion to upholding the true gospel of Christ Jesus, which to us should be a constant reminder, that our efforts are not in vain; it is a way of increasing our faith in the life after; for things of the world are vanity upon vanity and above all else, we should follow the Lord out of love and all these thing shall be added unto us. Let this pilgrimage draw us to the Lord, to rethink and redirect us, away from being seen as people who are driven by lust for wealth or ambition. John 6:26 reads: Jesus answered them and said, truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Dear brothers and sisters, let this scripture be a challenge unto us, to re-examine ourselves, whether we are truly following the Lord out of love as Fr. John did, or if we have selfish motives such as a lust for wealth or a thrust for power.
Let us with gratitude, always remember Fr. John Scalabrini’s commitment to the Catholic Church in Uganda, his unconditional, selfless, generous and long service to St. James Catholic Parish, Bbiina. We pray that the risen Lord may receive Fr. John Scalabrini in His glorious kingdom.