Everyone loves ice cream, especially Monsignor Matthew Odong, affectionately known as the “Ice Cream Priest,” who visits Providence Academy’s Lower and Middle School Students once a year. September 20th marked the first time since 2019 that Monsignor Odong, along with  Father Rom Paul, visited PA to involve our community in fundraising for the organization Hope for Uganda.

Monsignor Odong and Father Paul at Upper School Mass. Photo Credit: Katarina Greenwood

Hope for Uganda was started in Minnesota by Monsignor Odong and the Vaughan family, with the mission of bringing hope to the people of Northern Uganda through “faith, education, health and sustainability.” Odong co-founded Hope for Uganda due to his “love for humanity and restoring hope.” The people of his country had suffered through a twenty year war, and more than ever they needed something to bring them optimism.

In line with part of its mission, the organization provides both boys and girls the ability to attend school. Hope for Uganda felt that children in the country’s Pader District should be given equal opportunity to get a faith filled education, and so Archbishop Flynn Secondary School, which is in the top 3% of schools in the country of Uganda, opened their doors and their arms.

In addition to Hope for Uganda, Odong is affiliated with Sacred Heart Seminary in Uganda. Almost 200 young men attend, each one with the dream of becoming a priest and bringing their own “hope” to the nation of Uganda through prayer and doing the Lord’s work. 

Mrs. Marcia Farniok, a second grade teacher at Providence, was involved with the organization while teaching in Uganda in 2006. Farniok has so many great memories with the loving community she experienced. One of her favorites was, “The way their culture celebrated Mass, with hours of dancing and singing.”

Second grade students in Mrs. Farniok’s class ask Monsignor Odong questions. Photo credit: Katarina Greenwood

Odong would love for Providence families to get involved with his organization. “God would like America to be a mission country,” he reflected. 

There are many ways for the PA community to offer support. The simplest option is to pray for the leaders of the organization and the people it aims to reach, and monetary donations are also appreciated. 

As Monsignor Mathew Odong said, “Don’t stop at counting your blessings, also share your blessings.” 

For more information, visit: https://www.hopeforuganda.org/donate