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A Wonderful Day of Celebration!
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 Written by Valerie Kae Ken

A Wonderful Day of Celebration

February 20, 2015 was a very special day at Nymitanga, near the city of Mbarara in the southwest corner of Uganda. A wonderful celebration was held in honour of the near completion of a building that will become a satellite campus for Uganda Martyr’s University. The person responsible for this incredible feat of construction is none other than Mary Moran, an Irish woman who is a legend in her own time. Mary, who was once a member of the Daughter’s of Mary and Joseph religious order, has long had a dream to build an educational institute that would house her counseling training program that she has developed over many years of dedicated hard work. And now, assisted by volunteers from a variety of locations throughout Europe and Rwanda, this dream has come true.

A Wonderful Day of Celebration

Mary’s counseling program has led to the numerous participants becoming fully university qualified, many of whom now work at the counseling training project itself. These graduates are involved in the teaching program as well as visiting locations throughout the country where new counseling students are completing their required field practicums.

A Wonderful Day of Celebration

The celebration on Friday was to honour this amazing woman and to bless the opening of the university campus. The building itself is a real work of art. It stands against the skyline as testament of what can happen when one person is able to move mountains. Through sheer tenacity combined with her enviable forthright charming manner, Mary convinced a great many people to share in her dream in order for it to become a reality.

The Archbishop of Mbarara, Paul BakyengaMary Moran

The Archbishop of Mbarara Diocese, Bishop Paul Bakyenga has been a key player behind much of the work that Mary has done in this region of Uganda, and it was with his backing that funds were raised for the building. Another huge component that contributed to the successful construction of the university campus was the volunteer efforts of a group of Irish construction workers from county Armagh. These men devoted much time, effort and expense to help complete the project.

A Wonderful Day of Celebration

And no less important was the contribution of Padri Vjeko Centre in Rwanda! Fra Ivica Peric, the Director of the Centre offered our students from Rwanda to gain valuable experience by traveling to Uganda to work on the building site over the past four years. One of the school’s teachers, Emmanuel Hakizimfura was also sent to oversee the students’ work.

What this means, is that a good number of second year masonry students have benefited hugely by working under the supervision of the very capable Irish volunteers, who have years and years of experience behind them. All these workers have given unselfishly of their time and efforts for months at a stretch, rising early, sweating in the heat of the Ugandan sun and resting only at the end of a long day’s work.

A Wonderful Day of Celebration

The importance of the occasion was marked by a Mass officiated by the Archbishop himself, accompanied by a number of priests. After the religious celebration, formal speeches were held including a very heartfelt one by the Irish Ambassador, Donal Cronin, who had traveled from Kampala to attend the celebration. He shared in the enthusiasm of all for this wonderful event by offering a sum of two thousand euros to aid in the further development of the educational centre.

Mary Moran and the Irish Ambassador, Donal Cronin

So many of those who attended the ceremony came from far afield to honour Mary Moran and her life’s work, dedicated to helping the poor in this region of Uganda. Good friends, both religious and secular were there to witness the accomplishment of this wonderful Irish woman who has helped so many.

A Wonderful Day of Celebration

Padri Vjeko Centre was there in full force – not only did fra Ivica attend the event, but also quite a number of the Rwandan teachers from Kivumu who traveled to Uganda to attend the celebration... Padri Vjeko Centre can be justifiably proud of the contribution they have made to this extremely important and worthwhile project and the part they have played to make this one woman’s dream a reality.

Father Vjeko Center

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