PAKWACH. Kabim, the isolated site at Pakuba in the remote Murchison falls national park was the point of attention on Monday as hundreds of Catholics gathered for special prayers there.

The bishop of Arua diocese Rt. Rev Sabino Ocan Odoki led the prayers as part of the preparatory activities to celebrate the 109 years of the Catholic faith in Northern Uganda archdiocese of Gulu comprising the Gulu, Arua, Nebbi and Lira dioceses.

Kabim is believed to be the place where Franz Xavier Geyer, the former bishop of Khartoum and third successor to Daniel Comboni conducted the first Catholic mass in Northern Uganda in 1910.

Geyer was in the company of Fr. Albino and Br Augustus on a mission to evangelise the region.

The clergy used the occasion to rally Christians to support the renovation and development of Kabim into a decent pilgrimage centre.

“The government and Christians through different Catholic organization should develop this site into a religious historical centre to attract many worshippers from around the world,” Odoki appealed.

He said such a move would instil the memories and contributions of Geyer in many more generations in future.

The development of the site, Odoki added, would also be a bonus tourism attraction to the rich heritage of the lush national park.

He was flanked by Fr. Charles Gwali, the Parish Priest Pakwach parish who concurred that the contributions of Geyer like the building of missionary schools and hospitals were diminishing with some already dilapidated.

Fr. Gwali suggested that in addition to Kabim, the church and its partners should consider rebuilding of the tomb of Rwoth Omach of Paroketo who welcomed the stranger missionaries into West Nile to saw seeds of Christianity.

However, Mr Charles Othober, the chief of Amor clan challenged the church to not only look at burial places of dead chiefs but also support living traditional leaders through the construction of decent houses and recognition of their palaces.

He expressed the commitment of traditional leaders towards the development of the Christian churches underlining that they were ready to offer land for their expansion projects.

"We are ready to offer oral information to be used in the documentation of the religious historical sites and this is a new dawn not only for the faithful but for everyone without any discrimination. What I'm appealing for is that let us wake up and put our ideas into action,” he said.

Mr Fred Jachan Omach, the former Jonam county legislator and minister of finance (general duties) assured the people that the government is committed to develop such sites due to their historical background and the relevance they offer to the nation.

"In 2010, President Yoweri Museveni personally attended the centenary celebrations of the catholic faith in Pakwach and contributed sh50m. Therefore with such generosity, I hope we will not hesitate to welcome this proposal as government," he said.