Pope Francis has designated July 28 as the date for the annual celebration of the life of Blessed Joseph Giuseppe Ambrosoli.
This was revealed in a letter written by the Pope and read by the Papal Nuncio in Uganda, Archbishop Bianco Luigi, at the beatification ceremony of Blessed Ambrosoli on Sunday.
Blessed Ambrosoli was beatified in a colorful ceremony officiated by Archbishop Luigi, who represented the Pope. The holy event, the first of its kind in Catholic church history in Uganda, was attended by thousands of Christians from different walks of life.
In his message, Pope Francis described Blessed Ambrosoli as a good Samaritan who tirelessly made himself close to the needy.
The country’s first beatification ceremony began early in the morning with a colorful procession led by a local dance troupe performing Bwola cultural dance, which ushered clerics to the pulpit.
Venerable Dr. Ambrosoli was beatified by Pope Francis in a ceremony conducted by his representative, Archbishop Luigi. This was after reading his biography, which entails his over 30 years of extraordinary missionary work in Northern Uganda and the unveiling of the portrait of blessed Ambrosoli.
A thunderous applause and ululation rocked the venue shortly after the beatification declaration and announcement of a date for the annual celebration.
In his homily, Archbishop Bianco Luigi commended and blessed Ambrosoli for the selfless service he offered, adding that the beatification offers inspiration for those still living their Christian lives.
He noted that Christians are invited to consider the heroic virtues of blessed Ambrosoli’s faith, charity, humility, goodness, generosity, sense of duty, spirit of service, and sense of guilt.
Archbishop Odama says that blessed Ambrosoli is in heaven now and is a representative of Christians on earth. He prayed that Blessed Ambrosoli, being a former medical officer, should intercede in the Ebola situation in the country, which has claimed lives since its outbreak in September in Central Uganda.
President Yoweri Museveni, who was the chief guest at the ceremony, lauded the church and Pope Francis for beatifying Blessed Ambrosoli, saying it’s a step towards her becoming a saint.
He says whereas the religion brought to the continent in the 1840s had a negative image, the majority was good, citing examples of Ambrosoli, who selflessly served people in the region far away from his home in Italy.
Museveni, however, challenged Christians, Muslims, and other believers to rise up and fight poverty.
He claims that the government has developed projects aimed at improving people’s socioeconomic status, starting at the household level. Speaking in a mixture of both Luo and English, the president presented the idea of the four-acre model, which can be used for dairy, fish farming, fruit, and coffee farming.
Blessed Ambrosoli’s beatification comes after 20 years when Blessed Daudi Okello and Jildo Irwa, the two martyrs of Paimol, a place in the same region (Agago), were beatified in Rome in 2002 by Pope John Paul II, now a saint.
His journey to becoming blessed follows the confirmation of a miracle attributed to him by Pope Francis after the miraculous healing of a woman who had developed sepsis at Matany Hospital 18 years after his death. In attendance at the beatification ceremony was Lomokol, the woman who received healing through the intercession of Blessed Ambrosoli.