Fr Dr Giuseppe Ambrosoli’s gifted medical hands made him famous in northern Uganda and attracted patients from as far away as Sudan, DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, who trekked to Kalongo to seek his healing hands.
KITGUM. The committee organising the journey to sainthood of Fr Dr Giuseppe Ambrosoli has earmarked Shs923.2m budget for the beatification ceremony set for November 20.
Thousands of Christians and dignitaries across the world are expected to attend the blessing ceremony at Kalongo in Agago District.
Dr Ambrosoli was an Italian surgeon, priest and missionary who dedicated more than 30 years of his life to treating both the body and soul of thousands of patients at Kalongo in Agago District where he served.
Dr Ambrosoli died on March 1987 at Ngetta Catholic Mission in Lira where he and other missionaries had been evacuated from Kalongo as war raged on in Acholi. Dr Ambrosoli was temporarily buried at Ngetta in Lira but was reburied seven years later on April 7, 1994, at Kalongo Catholic Cemetery, which he had desired to be his final resting place.
The Italian surgeon elevated the dispensary he was deployed to in 1957 to a fully-fledge hospital that was recently named after him. Dr Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital in Kalongo today boasts of a 350-bed capacity and treats more than 60,000 patients every year.
Archbishop Odama, who was in Kitgum town on October 7 to drum up support for preparations for the beatification ceremony, said, “Beatification means you’re acknowledged to be uniquely blessed by God. Unique because you’ve got qualities other human beings don’t have yet you live among them. But you distinguish yourself among them as unique, so you’re blessed among humanity.”
Dr Ambrosoli’s gifted medical hands made him famous in northern Uganda and attracted patients from as far away as Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, DR Congo, and Zambia, who trekked to Kalongo to seek his healing hands.
Archbishop Odama, during his one-day pastoral visit to Kitgum, conducted an open fundraising drive in and around the town, including in the town’s main market to spur the residents to contribute to the noble cause.
“I wish I had gone with a pick-up truck. They’re bringing all sorts of things. It was very positive. I was grateful and impressed by the enthusiasm [of the people of Kitgum] to make contributions for the success of the beatification,” Odama said.
The archbishop, who addressed a media conference at Bomah Hotel in Kitgum town, said they considered Dr Ambrosoli the best doctor because of his dedication and commitment to the service of the people of God.
“Another virtue he had was simplicity. He was a very simple man [yet] from a very highly learned and rich family. He could have put on feathers but he was a very simple man, humble and pure in his intentions,” Odama said.
The prelate said Ambrosoli’s beatification would be the first ceremony of that kind performed in Uganda because all others were previously held in the Vatican, Italy.
“It should have been done by the Pope, but Pope Francis decided to change this practice. Instead of taking all things to Rome, he said ‘let’s give the opportunity of beatifying any person in the locality where he has worked or where he was born, where many people know him and they can be inspired by his life,” Odama said.
Archbishop Odama was accompanied by the event’s local organising committee, who included Fr Christopher Komakech of Christ the King deanery, Fr Anthony Nyeko of St Mary’s Catholic Mission, and former Lamwo LC5 chairperson Komakech Ogwok, among others.
What is beatification?
Beatification is the third and last step in the Roman Catholic tradition before a person is declared a Saint. The first step gets one declared a Venerable before climbing to the Servant status.
After the beatification, Ambrosoli would then be referred to as Blessed. He will join two local Christians from Kitgum and Pader; Blessed Daudi Okelo and Blessed Jildo Irwa, who were slain in their youth for their strong Christian faith at Paimol, which neighbours Kalongo, where Ambrosoli lived 32 years of dedicated service to Verona Fathers.