On September 28th, Monsignor Matthew Odong and Father Rom Paul returned for their annual visit to both Minnesota and Providence Academy. Monsignor Matthew says that he visits every year, not only to involve the PA community in fundraising for the organization, Hope for Uganda, but to thank us for all of our support in the past years.

Hope for Uganda, was started in Minnesota in 1990, by Monsignor Odong and the Vaughan family. Their mission was, and still is, to provide the country of Northern Uganda with hope, and to give them a brighter future through education. In line with his mission, Odong was instrumental in starting the Archbishop Flynn Secondary School in Northern Uganda, a school where boys and girls can get an education, while growing in their faith as well. Father Odong said that it was Providence Academy which inspired him to start this school and to provide quality education.

Monsignor Odong’s visit was packed with lots of exciting and fun events. New this year, Providence hosted a dinner in the Great Room for the PA community and neighboring Catholic parishes, where Monsignor Odong talked about the organization’s accomplishments this past year and outlined their needs for the future. It was a great turnout, with attendees from parishes all over the Twin Cities. 

Elise Sheehan, a Providence Academy science teacher, said, “I have loved Monsignor Matthew and his mission since the first time I met him. You can see how much he cares for everyone. I believe we are our brothers’ keepers, and that is why it is important to help our brothers and sisters in Uganda.”

Middle School Co-Student Council Presidents Alexis Larson, ’28 and Taryn Naidyhorski, ‘28 presented Monsignor Odong with a check for Hope for Uganda. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley

Father Odong is known by many as the “Ice Cream Priest,” because of his love for ice cream. As a result of this, the middle school thought it would be appropriate to raise funds for Hope for Uganda by selling ice cream sandwiches to the middle school students. The middle school raised $179 this year, and presented the check to Odong during their lunch period. During middle school lunch, Monsignor took some time to introduce himself to the students. He gave thanks for their support and played his “ice cream song” on the Adungu, a traditional musical instrument in Uganda. 

When asked why it is important to raise money, Middle School Student Council President, Taryn Naidyhorski, ‘28, commented, “I think we need to help everyone, but some countries need help more than others, and this is a great way to show our support.”

Monsignor Odong at Upper School Mass. PAW Photo Credit: Liam Riley

Monsignor ended his visit at Providence Academy by celebrating Mass with the freshman and sophomore classes. He reflected, “You are all so blessed here in America. America is a land of opportunity and it is because you are ‘one nation under God,’ and ‘in God we trust.’ That makes America strong.”

There are so many ways to become involved in Hope for Uganda. The simplest way is to pray for our brothers and sisters in Uganda. For more information, or to make a financial contribution, please visit: https://www.hopeforuganda.org/