A large crowd of MHM’s, families of MHM’s, Archbishops and Bishops of Dioceses founded by Mill Hill, Diocesan Priests, Religious and lay people connected to Mill Hill, gathered in St.Peter’s Parish Church, Nsambya on the feast of St.Joseph, March 19th, to celebrate 150 years of Mill Hill, and the 121 years Mill Hill has been in Uganda. In front of the Altar was a display on two boards of the four Mill Hill Martyrs in Uganda – Hans Tauber, John Francis McGrath, Kees Spil, and Declan O’Toole. Then in the porch two boards had pictures of Herbert Vaughan and the Mill Hill Bishops in Uganda. Also a banner on the outside wall of the Church proclaimed the 150 years of Mill Hill.
The Nuncio, Archbishop Michael A. Blume, Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala (Emeritus of Kampala Archdiocese), and Andrew Mukulu representing the General Council were in attendance. Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala, presided at the Eucharist. The choir of the Mill Hill Parish of Mbiko sang at the Mass, and the band of Mbiko, founded by Wijnand Huis, gave accompaniment. It was a very joyful celebration.
The Gospel Book was brought up by Formation House students from Jinja dancing their way up the aisle. It was very colourful and impressive.
In his Homily, Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga recalled how he had been baptised by a Mill Hill Missionary in the parish of Naggalama, and confirmed by Bishop Vincent Billington MHM. He also studied at St.Joseph’s Seminary Nyenga, founded by Mill Hill. He reminded us that Mill Hill began its work of evangelisation in St.Peter’s Nsambya in 1895, Bishop Henry Hanlon MHM leading the first team. From there they spread eastwards from Kampala into what are now Lugazi, Jinja, Tororo, and Soroti Dioceses, and also into Western Kenya, Sudan, and Karamoja.
At the end of the celebration, Philip Adede (Society Representative Kenya and Uganda), introduced and thanked the Bishops present. He also introduced the Mill Hill Missionaries present, most of whom were from Africa. He then introduced Andrew Mukulu, the General Councillor for Africa. Andrew talked about the family of Herbert Vaughan, and the holiness of his mother Eliza, where most of his siblings became Priests and Religious. He also described how the young Priest Herbert Vaughan received permission from Cardinal Wiseman to start the foundation of the Mill Hill Missionaries at Mill Hill in North West London. He said that now Mill Hill was giving a chance to the local Churches it founded in different parts of the world to send forth missionaries to those who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. He commented that there are now ten Uganda Mill Hill Missionaries, of whom he was the first, and that there are now around 200 students in Mill Hill houses of Formation.
At the very end the Bishops and Priests proceeded to the cemetery where there are twenty two graves of the seventy two MHM’s who are buried in different parts of Uganda. A short prayer was said and the graves blessed. This was followed by the planting of a memorial tree in the grounds of the Parish by Andrew Mukulu. Lastly the Apostolic Nuncio unveiled a plaque in the porch of the Church commemorating the 150 years of Mill Hill, and the 121 years in Uganda.
A reception for invited guests followed in the grounds of the Mill Hill House. Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga planted another memorial tree. The Nuncio, who is a Divine Word Missionary, commented that when Arnold Janssen founded their Society he was referred to the Missionaries of Africa from France and the Mill Hill Missionaries from England as models to follow. He congratulated the Mill Hill Missionaries for all the tremendous work done in Uganda and throughout the World.
A very pleasant afternoon was highlighted by reference to the silver jubilee of Paul Hien and the singing by the younger MHM’s of “For he is a Mill Hill Man….”
Bernard C. Phelan