August 2020 will see the dedication of a well in Uganda to the Diocese of Clogher. This will come about through the worldwide work of Wells of Life, an international organisation which strives to bring life-saving water to the people of that African country. The dedication of the well will create a further bond between the people of the Diocese of Clogher, a place well-known for its commitment to the people of Africa, and the people there. It also stimulates further awareness of the very real need for people locally to help others less fortunate than ourselves. Therefore, members of the public across all the parishes of Clogher diocese are invited to consider participating in the trip to Uganda from 9 to 15 August 2020, during which the dedication of the Clogher well will take place, thus adding to the others that are dedicated to other Irish dioceses there.

Wells of Life, a Christian organization made up of individuals, families, schools, churches and  businesses in America and worldwide, is a nonprofit body that fights to provide access to clean, sustainable drinking water for the communities of Uganda. Wells of Life brings clean water to rural Uganda by drilling wells and teaching the local community about sustainable hygiene and water supply. Their focus stems from the desire to improve the quality of life of the people there, one well at a time. They are committed to using all available resources to help the people of Uganda access this basic human need. Their mission is to tackle the world-wide crisis of the shortage of clean drinking water in the spirit of Matthew 17:20: If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains so that people everywhere may joyfully draw water from life-saving wells (cf Isaiah 12:3).

Among the supporters of Wells of Life is Pope Francis, who has had Well No. 133 dedicated to him. At a Vatican conference last November, Pope Francis advocated for global access to clean drinking water when he spoke of the reality that in many parts of the world ‘our brothers and sisters cannot have a dignified life because of the lack of access to clean water.’[1] According to the World Health Organization statistics for 2015, some 2.1bn people across the world do not have access to clean drinking water. The resultant deaths from bacterial contamination is, according to Pope Francis, ‘a huge shame for the humanity of the 21st century’.

The inclusion of the Diocese of Clogher in this project adds to the positive track record the diocese has with regard to Africa and to environmental and justice issues. A number of parishes have ongoing fundraising initiatives for various projects in Kitui in Kenya and in Uganda, among other places. The Clogher Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Group is working hard to increase the awareness of climate change and related justice questions.

A parishioner from Magheracloone in south-Monaghan, Lou Metzger, is an ambassador for Wells of Life. A lecturer in photography in DKIT, Dundalk and a former President of the Carrickmacross Lions Club, Lou is a survivor of the Hinckley California water contamination catastrophe that formed the basis of the movie Erin Brockovich. He is, therefore, well acquainted with the havoc contaminated water can wreck on a community. He is organizing and promoting the trip to Uganda for the dedication of the well to the Diocese of Clogher in August 2020 and he can be contacted on 00 353 42 966 1394 or by email at loumetzger@mac.com. Mr Metzger is encouraging people from across the diocese to travel to Uganda for the opening, adding that ‘bringing supplies to the schools and orphanages would be a life changing experience, in addition to being at the opening of this wonderful well that will change the life of a village forever and save many children’s lives’.

Speaking this week, Bishop Larry Duffy added his support to the initiative and welcomed the fact that the diocese was being included among the wells. ‘The people of this diocese have a long history of generosity and solidarity with the people of Africa and several of our parishes fund various projects in Uganda already. Having worked in Africa myself, I know the immense value placed by people and communities on clean drinking water and its impact on their lives. I am happy that the Diocese of Clogher is being included in the work and mission of Wells of Life in Uganda and I wish Lou and all of the team every blessing in their life-giving work’, he said.

For further information on Wells of Life, visit https://wellsoflife.org/


[1] https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-advocates-for-global-access-to-clean-drinking-water-58350 [Accessed: 26 July 2019].

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