Missionary Cooperative Plan Spotlight: LETI RESOURCE CENTER

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)

Maria Tukahirwa, a widow, appreciates what Leti has done for her.  She now can read and write because of lessons offered in the Women’s Group. Last year, she received a male piglet from the Leti Foundation.  She raised it, sold it, and was able to buy a solar system for her house (seen on the roof in this picture).  She has also opened an account with the Insingiro Business Community SACCO [savings and loan].  She is ever grateful to all friends of the Leti Resource Center and its sister-organization, the Leti Foundation for Africa-Uganda.

The Leti Resource Center, a nonprofit founded by Father Leo Tinikatumire in 2014, seeks to promote education, training, and public health in Isingiro, Uganda. The Leti Resource Center is a registered 501(c)(3) in the State of Illinois. All donations are deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Father Leo was born and raised in Isingiro, a rural community in southwestern Uganda, close to the border with Tanzania. He was blessed with the opportunity to attend primary school and then the seminary, after which he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Mbarara, Uganda. Later, his bishop sent him to the United States for advanced study at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he earned an MA, and at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, where he completed a PhD in practical theology.

The community where he was born and raised has few natural resources, although its people are energetic and generous. Their situation was made worse by war against the dictator Idi Amin, who for nearly ten years made the Isingiro area a battlefield. After Amin was defeated, political instability led to ongoing violence, again focused in Isingiro, which was used as a recruiting and training ground.

Father Leo, one of the area’s most educated citizens, seeks to help his people, especially the young, fulfill their promise. Those who live in Isingiro make a living through subsistence farming, much of the work done by hand. They must travel away from their region, usually on foot, for health care and education. So when the elders of the community asked Father Leo to start a school for the local children, he answered their call.  

In recent years, under Father Leo’s guidance, the Leti Resource Center has accomplished the following:

  • EDUCATION: School enrollment is now at 230 (up from 56 in 2017); 75% are boarders.
  • HEALTHCARE: The clinic now has two nurses and one volunteer; cisterns provide fresh water resulting in improved hygiene.
  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The Adult Women’s Groups began with seven piglets, each given to one family. They were raised and bred, and now there are twenty. Using materials supplied by Leti, the groups produce clothing, and handicrafts.
  • COMMUNITY: The Multipurpose Building first floor is completed; the building will provide a chapel and an activity hall for students’ exams.

The Leti Resource Center remains committed to BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS.  “Leti seeks to make a positive difference by promoting bonds of unity and care among people of goodwill who have bee- diversely endowed.” Our goal is SELF-SUFFICIENCY in an interconnected global economy.  The school, the women’s groups, the bank, the clinic, and safe water projects all aim to allow people to maintain their dignity and identity while engaging in wider and wider cultural and economic contact with the world beyond Isingiro. Contributions from generous donors serve as SEED MONEY.  Once projects are launched (buildings constructed, school and clinic, women’s groups, bank, and cisterns are established), they are essentially self-sustaining. Leti has DEEP ROOTS IN FUNDAMENTALLY SPIRITUAL TRUTHS—that every person is made in the image and likeness of a Creator who creates out of love. Since its founding, LETI HAS GROWN SUBSTANTIALLY: the projects have become fleshed out and serve ever-growing numbers of people; the necessary infrastructure is being built up; the amount of money donated has increased as the shape and scope of what Leti aims to accomplish has become clearer and more developed.

The Leti Resource Center relies solely on contributions from the private sector—individuals and foundations; the Center receives no government funding. For the past several years, Father Leo has been blessed with the opportunity to make appeals in person to selective parishes throughout the United States. Sadly, this year will be an exception, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless the Leti Resource Center depends on the generosity of caring Catholics within and beyond the Diocese of Joliet. 

Now we invite your thoughts. Please share in the comments section below. And while you’re here, continue on a virtual mission by reading more of our stories and reflections as we discover together how “We are Mission”.

What is the Missionary Cooperative Plan? Each year over 200 groups request to be considered for a mission appeal in the Joliet Diocese: priests, sisters and laypeople that need our help so that they can continue doing their work for God’s poor. Our present reality with COVID 19 has been challenging for everyone in the world. Obviously, with the precaution of social distancing, the missioners who participate in our MCP do not have a physical audience, nor can they travel even if they did. Most of them count on the MCP to sustain their much needed mission works.

So, we are inviting you to be in solidarity with them by giving whatever you can to the MCP appeal in support the groups who have been approved for 2020. You may donate online or by sending a check made payable to “Diocese of Joliet Pontifical Mission Societies” and mailing to the Joliet Diocese Mission Office at 16555 Weber Road, Crest Hill, Illinois 60403. (Put “MCP” on the memo line.) 100% of your giving will go to these organizations.

Each week we will be highlighting one of our missionary groups so that you will know a more about the work they do for God’s people. We know that times are and will continue to be financially challenging for many. Please do what you can and remember that your prayers for the missioners and their good works are always appreciated. God does not call everyone to work directly among God’s poor and needy here and in other countries. But you are part of the Church’s mission. Your support with prayers and financial aid makes mission work possible. Bless you all! Let us keep in mind what Pope Francis has said: We are mission!

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