Amuria Catholic Parish priest issues canonical injunction against Marian prayer group

Members of the Marian prayer group in Soroti district have reacted angrily to the threats of ex-communication from the Catholic Church. On July 10th, Reverend Father Simon Peter Wankya, the St. Patrick Madera Parish priest issued a canonical injunction stopping the activities of Marian prayer group.

In his letter to Maria Gorreti Omadi, the leader of Marian prayer group,   Father Wankya outlined ten reasons why the activities of Marian prayer group contravene the teachings of the Catholic Church. He accused Omadi of among other things of referring to the devotions of the Catholic Church as demonic and fake while claiming that hers is the only authentic and true movement of the church.

He also accused Omadi of constructing a church in her home, recruiting a catechist who conducts Sunday services without the mandate and the guidance of the parish priest and luring people away from the Catholic Church under the pretext of being a seer mandated by Jesus Christ to cure people and exorcise them from powers of Satan among others.

In his letter, Fr. Wankya directed Omadi and her followers to explain their errant practices and seek for guidance or be excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He directed the group to respond to the accusations within a period of two weeks without, which they will be barred from receiving any sacraments from the Catholic Church in addition to being denied a Christian burial.

However, the members of Marian prayer group, say they are not bothered by the accusations leveled against them. Simon Peter Ongareno, the catechist of Marian prayer group, says they decided to move away from the Catholic Church after realizing that priests have strayed away from the teachings of St Peter, the first Vicar of Christ.

He suspects that the Catholic Church leadership could be after them because of the offertory they collect at their church.

Pampilio Otim, a member of Marian prayer group, says they moved away from Madera parish because the parish priest was giving preference to the charismatic renewal movement.

He also accuses Father Wankya of banning the activities of the group without hearing their defense.

Richard Ekemu, the chairperson Marian Prayer group, says despite establishing their own prayer place, they are still Catholics.

The Marian movement allegedly started in Madera parish in 1978 under the leadership of Betty Dominic, a seer from Obalanga in Amuria district. She was succeeded by Maria Gorrety Okadi in 2000. Currently, Marian prayer group in Madera is comprised of 75 members who congregate on Sunday, Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.

The Marian prayer group, which allegedly started in Rome, Italy, has over 12, 000 priests and Bishops in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.