Today it is a great feast in Arua. The cathedral of the Sacred Heart is rededicated to God.
We came in huge crowds. Many people are also following us through Radio Pacis. Best wishes and greetings to all of you.
Pope Francis as well has sent us his message of blessings for the occasion. Cardinal Emanuel WAMALA and several bishops from all over the country also joined us. Thank you for your presence my brother bishops: I greet the civil authorities who attend the ceremony. Above all YOU are present here, all of you, the Church of Arua, bishop Sabino, the clergy, the religious female and male and all of you, lay people of this diocese.
Todays this is your feast. The feast of our Church, the church made of bricks but mainly the church made of people. Both are wonderful! This holy Liturgy lets us see that, while we are consecrating the church of bricks, we are actually consecrating the cathedral made by each one of you. Today God chooses once more his people of believers so that you may communicate the Gospel of love to everybody, no one excluded.
The celebrant will anoint the walls with holy water, will anoint the altar with the chrism and the church will be filled with incense that will raise up to the heaven. The church of Arua will be blessed and the Christian people of Arua will be consecrated. The family of God raises its prayer to Heaven.
The cathedral will become the visible sign of all this. Every time that you will come up to this hill and look at the cathedral, tell your children: “God lives there, in the cathedral. it is a holy place where God takes care of us every day, night and day”. God gathers us here as his people. God speaks to us though the Gospel that is proclaimed. The book of NEEMIA teaches us that the whole people was listening to the Word of God.
In this cathedral God nurtures us with the holy bread of the Eucharist. Here it is where God forgives us, gives us his peace and sends us to the mission. As you may see, God does not dwell here just to be alone and think of his own business, to avoid the traffic of life, to avoid the sun that shines high in the sky. God, instead, dwells here to open the door to all, to welcome everybody, to listen and console everybody, to forgive all of us and to have mercy above all on those who are poor. Please remember: this house does not leave anyone out, it is also the house of those who are not believers, because God is a father to all.
The deep truth, though, is that the true place where God dwells is you, the people of believers, you are “God’s building”, “God’s temple”, as we read in the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. God dwells on earth through you, his people. God does not dwell in each one of you separated from the others, but when you are united to one another through the work of the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of Love.
The Spirit of God is not the spirit of the clan, of the tribe, even of the nation and of the continent. I am Italian, but actually today I am from Arua, I am part of your people. If every brick remained isolated, each brick scattered in the square, this cathedral would have not been built! God would have not a House. So, if every one of us remains isolated, thinking of his or her own business, God would not be dwelling in Arua. Please think about it. This is a great responsibility. Today this is great day, a new beginning. The cathedral is larger and more beautiful.
This means that also the Christian community of Arua should become larger and more beautiful. It is like a new birth. Today you must abandon any division and become again a people more united and more beautiful. Your love must shine on the people of Arua like this cathedral shines upon the hill. Your love must be as high as the tower of your cathedral and when the bell rings, it will be the sound of your love who speaks and spreads everywhere. This cathedral is devoted to the Sacred Heart. On the façade there is its statue and on the altar there is the cross, Jesus with the pierced heart. Yes, this cathedral has a heart, even more it is a wounded and open heart. It is a heart which sees and is moved, it is not a closed heart and even less a heart of stone. A heart that is moved by the sight of your children: he wants them to grow well. Moved by the sight of your youth: he wants them to have a better future, to find a job, to be able to form a family. It is a heart who looks at the families and wants them to grow in faith and love.
A heart who feels compassion for the children who are abandoned, for the orphans, for the prisoners who live near us here, for the thousands of refugees from South Sudan whom I will visit tomorrow, for the elderly who are alone and forgotten. Indeed, the Cathedral and Christian Community in Arua should be like this: like the heart of Jesus. This is the way every Parish and every small Christian community should be. Each one of you! You are the cathedral of love. You are a heart who feels compassion. You are the sign of the love of the Lord in Arua. Everybody in Arua needs your love. This is the task and mission that the Lord entrusts to you. This is also Pope Francis’ invitation to move out from ourselves and communicate to everybody the love and the mercy of God. Be the blessing of God for the whole people of Arua!