KAMPALA – Holy Cross Ministries in Nsambya have said the country needs to embrace the new normal way of preaching the gospel.
According to Fr Leonard Olobo the director Holy Cross Ministries East Africa, the public now more than ever has to embrace digital evangelisation.
Fr Olobo made the revelation while awarding over 80 participants who took part in this year’s ‘Try Prayer Contest’ Awards in an event that took place yesterday at the Holy Cross Ministries Offices in Nsambya.
When the country was put on lockdown to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, religious gatherings were banned which gave rise to alternative ways of preaching the gospel. Mass and different fellowships were held virtually online and streamed on the different televisions and radio stations.
“The world is changing and we cannot run away from the new normal. The gospel is going to be preached through the different media platforms, that is the way to go,” Olobo said.
Fr Bendict Mugerwa, the National Youth Chaplain of Uganda said many people have not embraced media evangelisation probably because of lack of awareness and the phobia some people have about the media.
“COVID-19 has shown us that we can evangelise through mainstream media and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube among others. I believe it will be good in the future since now there is exposure. The future will see improvement and advancement in the way the gospel is preached.”
Fr Mugerwa believes that Covid has been an experience that has taught many people that media can be used to evangelise. He says the quality of media evangelising in the future will also be good since there is now lots of creativity attached to it.
Youth competed in the Try Prayer Contest under categories of Prose and Poetry, Art, Music under a theme dubbed ‘Mary Mother of Families’. They had to show the connection of the union, the family and the five ways in which we are guided by Mother Mary
Olobo said this year’s contest was not easy due to the Coronavirus pandemic that saw schools closed in March this year. He says they had to move in homes, post online and social media to have entries.
“We targeted young people on social media. This time round participants have been less because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We had 85 participants but under normal circumstances these would just be schools,” he said.
The general objective of the contest is to show a different way of preaching the gospel amongst the youth.
In regard to the criteria of selecting winners, we looked at the quality of the submissions in regard to the theme relevance. The entries had to show a deep understanding of the biblical language, use of local examples incorporation and originality for the music.
According to Fr Mugerwa, these awards are meant to motivate young people to know more about their faith whilst showing the different ways in which the gospel can be spread.
“It encourages young people to show faith and build their reading and writing skills which are still lacking. Aside from showcasing their talents in those specific categories, it is also an experience of learning and developing. I encourage youth to take up these awards,” he said.
Bbanga Micheal Evans, the overall winner in the poetry category says he bore the idea of taking part in the contest when his mother brought the entry forms home which inspired him to concentrate and write a poem in line with the theme.
“I wrote and explained how mother Mary has helped families of this time. I didn’t know I was the winner, I was surprised. I felt so excited and honoured. I prayed and I am sure Mother Mary helped me through this. I encourage the youth to take part in the contest. I will always take part. I have been rewarded with a certificate of participation, and Ugx 100, 000,” he said.
Juliet Namatovu who competed in the music category said it was hard for her and the friends she did this with as they found a hard time deciding to do poetry or singing.
Namatovu who is a singer in Angels Voice Choir in Bunamwaya said being part of the contest is a very exciting experience as there is always a lot to learn, countless blessings and connections up for grabs.
“I thought of a skit but it was lengthy and could exceed the set time limit for the competition. We therefore decided to do a song. We managed to incorporate the theme in the song because most of the lyrics in the Marian songs are of Mother Mary, so I chose situations and made them fit in the song. We sang four people,” she said.