ARUA. The caretaker parish priest of Aripea Catholic parish Fr Tonino Pasolini has handed over the parish to a resident parish priest at a function that was presided over by the vicar general of Arua diocese Mgrs Casto Adeti.

He handed the parish to Fr Richard Wokuti, a Franciscan priest and former curate of Mingoro catholic parish.

In the same event, Katrini zone centre was declared a sub-parish and Fr Tonino appointed to head it as the first parish priest effective 14th July 2019.

The handover came when Tonino’s assignment by the bishop to unite Christians from the parish with the diocese after a misunderstanding was alleged to have been achieved.

The parish became a battle field between a section of Christians from the parish centre and priests who were appointed to work in the parish after the transfer of Fr Stanley Candia.

The Christians at the time accused the priests appointed to work thereof being agents of Bishop Sabino Ocan Odoki and trying secretly to relocate their resources including the parish bell and a double cabin Toyota Hilux used as an ambulance at Aripea health centre III.

The then parish priest, the Episcopal Vicar of Lodonga Mgrs Mathias Miria, his curate and two seminarians from the parish all ran away when a section of disgruntled Christians became rowdy after getting him towing the vehicle reportedly sanctioned to be sold by the parish pastoral council to Arua.

But some Christians have criticised the move by the bishop to return the parish from diocesan to missionaries at the time when the number of diocesan priests has been growing and need a placement.

Prior to Tonino's appointment in April last year, the Christians had gone for close to two years without a priest in the parish and unable to receive certain sacraments.

Mgrs Casto Adeti who represented the bishop during the event advised the Christians from the parish to work with any clergy regardless of origin and tribe to make the parish shine again.

He also challenged the parishioners in Aripea not be worried about the past after Tonino and Sherry building a perfect bridge between them and the diocese.

“It is important for you to stand strong and be resilient, the bishop loves you, maybe what happened was to bring something good, so work with the new team of missionary pastoral agents to renew your faith”, Adeti stated.

Mgrs Kasto Adeti 16 07 19Msgr Kasto Adeti, speaks during the ceremony.

Tonino expressed optimism that his mission to redirect the lives of Christians in the parish is complete.

“I found wonderful people open to receiving Good news, we reorganized the parish, established the parish pastoral council, finance planning and development committee (FPD), the weekly formation of catechists and formation of small Christian community leaders and we completed the parish learning centre”, he said.

The Superior Regular of the Indian based Order of St Charles Lwanga or the Friars Minor Capuchin of Franciscan priests in Uganda Br Godwin Ogam said they accepted to come to deploy their clergy in the parish despite hearing about negative events that took place in the parish due to their charisma to work for God.