After two years of lockdown, Arua Diocese Pilgrims recommence pilgrimage to
the Holy Cross Pilgrimage Center and Shrine, Indriani in Adjumani District.
The provincial pilgrimage celebration and anniversary, was grace by the presence of three Bishops of the Gulu, Arua, Nebbi and Lira (GANAL) Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace Dr John Baptist Odama, the Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, Rt.Rev.Sabino Ocan Odoki, the Bishop of Arua Diocese who was the main celebrant at the occasion, Rt.Rev.Sanctus Lino Wanok, Bishop of Lira Diocese and the Vicar general of Nebbi who represented Rt.Rev.Raphael p'Mony Wokorach, the Bishop of Nebbi Catholic Diocese who had recently traveled.
Previously before the outbreak of Covid-19, Christians from all over West Nile Region
and Uganda at large make annual pilgrimage to Holy Cross Pilgrimage Center Indriani also
referred to as the birthplace of faith in the Diocese of Arua , to pray for their various
intentions. Indriani is known to be the first spot where the Comboni Missionaries, (The Verona Fathers)
settled in 1912 to evangelize the Madi Sub Region in particular and Arua Diocese in general.
His Grace, Dr. John Baptist Odama, the Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, expressed his gratitude to the Bishop of Arua Diocese, Rt.Rev.Sabino Ocan Odoki for organizing the colorful celebration. He thanked the Comboni Fathers, Sisters and Brothers for bringing the good news of Salvation of humankind through the Cross while challenging the Christians that it is their turn to take up the responsibility of spreading the good news in homes, schools and the villages. The Archbishop in his address noted that this event will always be to bring together people of God to share their faith in action.
He called upon cultural leaders, political leaders and the religious leaders to use truth to solve the endless disputes on Apaa land bordering Amuru and Adjumani Districts. Archbishop mentioned that the Madi and the Acholi have intermarried for long and have lived peacefully for till today. He said stakeholders should desist from fueling the contention over the land to avoid conflicts and bloodshed.
Rt.Rev.Sabino Ocan Odoki, the main celebrant of the Holy Mass in his Homily greatly appreciated Pakele and
Adjumani Deaneries for their combined efforts to lead this year's Pilgrimage Celebration. The Bishop emphasized
to the pilgrims to exercise the theme of this year's celebration "You are the light of the world" in their everyday
lives by Walking in the footsteps of Christ who gave himself fully on the Cross. He mentioned that Indrina sub parish,
established in January of 2021, shall be a place for celebration of Sacraments and where believers shall be formed and
sent to enlighten the world. The Bishop appealed to the abled Christians to cooperate and construct a decent Church and
house for the priest at the Pilgrimage.
Ujjeo Mamawi Josephine, Chairman Central Organizing Committee, thanked Christians Communities close to the shrine for recognising the Center as a place of worship and prayer. She urged the christians to continue giving the Center the respect it deserves while appealing to all stakeholders to actively participate in supporting the center with resources to facilitate planned developments.
Indriani is the first Spot where the Comboni Missionaries (then known as Verona Fathers) settled in 1912 to evangelize the Madi Sub-Region in particular and Arua Diocese in general. It is therefore the BirthPlace of the Catholic Faith in Madi and Arua Diocese. The first Missionaries to arrive in Indriani of Palaro Clan were Fr. Albino Colombaroli, Fr. Giuseppe Zambonardi and Brother Luigi Savariano. They arrived and started the first mission station of Palaro on October 19, 1912, and they were received by Chief Rasigala Beka of Palaro. The first catechumenate and bush school were opened there, with the first Sacraments administered there too. However, after 5 years they had to relocate to Moyo in 1917 due to many tropical diseases, especially, Sleeping Sickness caused by Tsetse Flies that had invaded the Palaro area all around. And the Place remained undeveloped for nearly One Hundred Years, but the Palaro Community kept the Church Land safe and protected it religiously. So when formal activities resumed in the place in the 2000s to prepare for the Centenary of the Catholic Faith in Arua Diocese, it was all in order as the community readily welcomed back the Church to its original roots.
My brother bishops, priests, religious men and women, all the pilgrims from the different dioceses in the GANAL region and beyond, you are most welcome to this great event where in this place of Indriani, a shrine has been erected in honor of the exaltation of the Cross which is very central to our faith. The salvation of humankind was achieved by Jesus dying on the Cross. And his resurrection showed clearly the triumph of the cross over sin (evil) in the life of Jesus. So, our Coming here is meant to arouse in us that faith, that love, which Jesus expressed to us in his life so that we respond to this love. He gave his life for us and we are also supposed to give our lives to him. And through his example we are also to give our lives for our fellow brothers and sisters through showing them love as he said in Jn.15:13, "no one has greater love than to lay down his Life for his friends'. This is an annual provincial event celebrated in the diocese of Arua though it was interrupted in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown but resumed this year, a reason for which we have to thank God for allowing us to have the celebration this year. I would like also to express my gratitude to the bishop of Arua, to the organizers (COC) of this occasion in Indriani and the leading deaneries (Pakele and Adjumani), we thank you for your efforts and contributions. According to this year's theme, "You are the light of the World..." (Mt. 5:14), I will also want to say that this OCcasion is an occasion of evangelization, bringing this event to bear on us that we should proclaim the good news of the salvation of humankind through the cross, living good exemplary life and perseverance. The cross challenges our faith to see the See difficulties we meet in life not to divert our attention and our lives to something that is of less value than the good news of salvation. So, we should proclaim this to every place. We appreciate the missionaries who brought this good news and settled here in this area before they could go to Moyo Arua and other parts of West Nile, gratitude to you Comboni Fathers and Comboni Sisters and Brothers. It's now our turn to take the responsibility of spreading this good news in the homes, in our schools, in our areas and villages so that, this message of Christ dying on the Cross to save us, is experienced by all the people following that mission which Jesus declared to the apostles, "go to the whole world; proclaim the good news to all creation" Mk16:15). In other words, proclaim the salvation of humanity to everybody. And here is what we come to do; to learn, to accept, to promote, and truly evangelize our society of today. May I wish to each one of you a happy pilgrimage, a happy celebration and also safe journey back home while always being grateful to God for what he has done through his Son Jesus Christ for our own Salvation. God Bless You. +John Baptist Odama Archbishop of Gulu
Dear pilgrims, I welcome all of you to Holy Cross Indriani Pilgrimage Center for the provincial pilgrimage. In the last two years the celebration of the pilgrimage was interrupted by the lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic. We are grateful to God for giving us the opportunity to celebrate this year. This year's pilgrimage is celebrated with the theme, "You are the light of the world" (Mathew 5:14). The cross of Christ which the missionaries planted at Indriani in 1912 has become a light not only to the people of this place, but also to the entire Diocese of Arua, driving out the darkness of paganism, ignorance and immorality. God revealed His greatest glory when the Cross of Jesus was lifted high at this place, granting salvation to all. This year we mark the tenth anniversary of the beginning of pilgrimage to Indriani. In 2012, the launch of the pilgrimage was witnessed by the then Cardinal Prefect for the Congregation Evangelization of Peoples, His Eminence Fernando For Cardinal Filoni, President Republic Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Bishops Uganda, and thousands of faithful and people of several of God. That time we came here not only to celebrate the centenary of catholic faith in Arua Diocese, but also to celebrate our faith in this place that indicates the memory of the planting of the Lord's all.Cross Cross the tree of life. The ultimate reason for which was Indriani was proposed as a pilgrimage site evangelization, such that the lives of people are transformed into an experience of a deep and mature faith. extend my sincere gratitude to all those who since that of the time have continued to provide pastoral care for the pilgrims. Few to mention are the Priests and Catechists of Pakele Parish and members of religious communities that have been established at Indriani. These and others have continued to animate pastoral work with catechesis, sacraments, counseling and accommodation. I appeal to all of them to ensure that all pilgrims, and even tourists, who enter this place immediately feel at home, welcome, understood and supported. We therefore, thank God for bringing us to the tenth year of celebrating pilgrimage to Indriani. One of the blessings that the people of Indriani have received in the last ten years is the establishment of Indriani Sub-Parish which became operational on 1st January, 2021. It was established for the purpose that the people of the place should grow in grace through the celebration of sacraments and live the pastoral mystery. A Parish is a community of faith, of action, and of hope. It is a place where the Gospel is proclaimed and celebrated; where the believers are formed and sent to enlighten the World. While thanking the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Denis Iranya Isa, MIDM, for his guidance and pastoral care for the place, I urge all the pastoral agents of Indriani Sub-Parish and the Christians to Cooperate to construct a decent Church building and Priests' house so that in the In the near future Indriani can be elevated to a full Parrish status. I thank each and every one of you for making this pilgrimage to Indriani. You have carried to Indriani your own history, your faith, and the lights and shadows of your own lives. May God answer and respond favorably to the special wishes and particular prayers that you have brought within your hearts to this place. Rt. Rev. Sabino Ocan Odoki Bishop of the Diocese of Arua