Monday, November 13, 2006
The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
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NEWS FROM THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN MISSION CENTER (OCMC)
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November 6, 2006. St. Augustine, FL – Staff members of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center were blessed with a visit from Fr. Nicholas Bayego of Kampala, Uganda, who joined them in morning prayers at the site of the new Missionary Training and Administrative Support Center in St. Augustine, FL. That Sunday he also delivered a powerful sermon to the nearby community of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, sharing with them his incredible journey in the faith.
As a recipient of a Mission Center Theological Training Scholarship, Fr. Nicholas graduated from Holy Cross Seminary in 1986. Simultaneously, he also earned his MBA from Suffolk University, also in Boston, MA. He would later go on to receive his PhD from the University of Thessalonica in Greece.
After decades of civil strife, the Orthodox Church in Uganda was decimated. With the education that was, in part, made possible by OCMC donors, Fr. Nicholas became an integral figure in organizing the administrative aspects of the Church as it began to emerge from the ashes of war. Though his first years back in Uganda were dedicated to this reconstruction, his true calling was to serve in Holy Orders. In 1990 he answered God’s call and was ordained by His Beatitude ANASTASIOS and is currently serving under His Eminence JONAH Metropolitan of Kampala and All Uganda.
During the early years of his priesthood, the Mission Center’s Support a Mission Priest Program (SAMP) allowed Fr. Nicholas to dedicate the entirety of his efforts to his ministry. Realizing the desperate need for more priests in his country, Fr. Nicholas helped restart St. Paul’s seminary, currently located in Kampala, where he serves as dean to this day. The seminary continues to graduate a growing number of priests to service the faithful of Uganda.
The breadth of his efforts needed to extend far beyond the walls of the seminary, however, as diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS began to increasingly ravage the Ugandan people. In response, Fr. Nicholas facilitated an OCMC Medical Mission Team this year and with their assistance, nearly 2,000 patients were treated for a variety of afflictions.
Equipped with the education that the Theological Training Scholarship made possible and through the early support of SAMP funds, Fr. Nicholas and his wife, Papadea Helen, have been able to care for over 100 children orphaned by the ongoing health crisis in Uganda. He is attempting to meet this great challenge by being pastorally proactive, encouraging the Ugandan people to accept a more sacramental view of marriage. Additionally, Papadea Helen conducts regular seminars for local women concerning issues of health, hygiene, and religious education.
Please keep Fr. Nicholas Bayego, Papadea Helen, their children, and the people of Uganda in your prayers. If you would like to support and encourage the Mission Center’s many initiatives including SAMP or Theological Training, please send donations to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, PO Box 4319, St. Augustine, FL 32085. You may also make a donation online by clicking here or by calling 1 (877) 463-6784. To find out more about SAMP, Theological Training and our upcoming Mission Teams, please visit www.ocmc.org .