Speech of Apostolic Nuncio at the launch of USHG

On July 15, 2017, the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda, Most. Rev. Michael August Blume, SVD, as VISITOR to the new University of the Sacred Heart Gulu, installed Most Reverend Dr. John Baptist Odama, Archbishop of Gulu as the First Chancellor of University of the Sacred Heart Gulu. Below is the speech he made on the occasion.

“It is a joy to be with you on this day that the Archdiocese of Gulu formally begins an initiative of higher learning in the midst of the recent historical experiences of this area, which truly requires the the mercy that flows from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Healing, rebuilding, and growth in the quality experience of human community are noble aspirations that the new university will foster as the first steps of an ongoing evangelization that will make this land overflow with a greater knowledge of God’s mercy and of man’s dignity.

Although the beginnings are modest with two initial Bachelor Programs, one in Counseling Psychology and the other in Information Systems, the academic development is already going in the right direction.  The two programs represent two directions that are called to work together for the integral human formation of all who study here.  Counseling Psychology serves deep interior needs of the human person, particularly the traumatized and those who live with the effects of trauma, including the spirit of vengeance, while Information Systems develops the scientific and technological capacities of students in many areas.  My prayer is that these programs will be in communication, not confusing the subject matters, but assuring that science is surrounded by humanity and that humanity profits from science with its rigorous thinking and attention to critical methods.

The presence of a center for the formation of Catechists is a wonderful sign of Catholic identity and origin of the source of all true wisdom, whether humanitarian or scientific, our faith which is destined to be spread with joy and gives meaning to endeavors in the humanities and in the sciences.

We pray that the development of the bachelor programs will preserve an equilibrium between the two poles of science and humanities.  For that reason, it is good to recall the importance of the university in the apostolic exhortation, Africae munus of Pope Benedix XVI, which is all about strengthening the Church’s mission in promoting justice, peace, and reconciliation.  Pope Benedict reminds us that “it is indispensable that students be taught the Church’s social doctrine,” for helping pastoral plans to speak “to the heart of Africans and enable them to be reconciled to themselves by following Christ.” This is a “pastoral outreach to the life of the intellect and reason so as to foster a habit of rational dialogue and critical analysis within society and in the Church” (n. 137).  In the ongoing challenges that students have to face here, whether they are in the sciences or the humanities, that important contribution of the Church, when spread out over a program of three of four years, can truly prepare students to make their proper Christian impact on society, an impact that evangelizes us and thus helps transform all thing for the glory of God and the ever more complete humanity of us all”.